I don’t watch television often (Netflix and HBO Go are my best friends), which means I don’t see many commercials. Usually that’s a good thing, but recently I was disappointed I didn’t see the hilarious new Kmart ads sooner.
The first spot, “Ship My Pants” went live on April 10th. The ad promotes Kmart’s free shipping service, an effort to drive shoppers to Kmart.com which offers more products than the stores.
After the “Ship My Pants” ad generated over 13 million views on YouTube in the first week, Kmart continued the campaign with another funny, and slightly risque, play on words. “Big Gas Savings” was uploaded on May 22nd. Kmart offers 30 cents off every gallon of gas for customers who spend at least $50.
With back-to-back viral ads, I figured Kmart must have seen some boost to its website. Monthly Unique Visitors (UVs) increased 2.9% in April and another 3.6% in May. Given the videos’ popularity, however, the spike in UVs was smaller than expected. YouTube was not even one of the top 10 incoming traffic sources in May. It was #16 and responsible for less than 1% of the visits to Kmart.com.
The ads are not giving Kmart a huge, measurable boost online, but they are bringing attention to the brand. An interesting article from Time.com asked, “Does Kmart’s Hilarious New Ad Acknowledge That Kmart Stores Are Hopeless?” and mentions that Kmart sales only had one year of positive growth in the past seven years. As competitors Walmart, Sears and Target renovated their stores, Kmart’s brick and mortar stores have remained unchanged. The “Ship My Pants” ad almost admits that Kmart customers will not find what they are looking for in-store. If Kmart is investing its time and resources on digital channels, how does it stack up against the competition?
In May, Kmart.com had about 14 million fewer UVs than its closest competitor, Sears.com.
Looking beyond traffic data to engagement metrics, however, Kmart is actually fairing pretty well. The average number of pages viewed per visit to Kmart.com is 7.53, about one page per visit lower than Walmart.com. Visitors to Kmart.com are looking at more pages than visitors to Sears.com and Target.com.
Average stay, or length of time spent on a website, is another indicator of visitor engagement. Generally, the longer a person stays, the more likely they are to convert—unless they are having trouble finding what they are looking for. Looking at Kmart.com and its competitors, Walmart.com is still dominating with an average stay of 8:46 minutes in May (526 seconds). However, Kmart is not doing badly either. Kmart.com and Sears.com are nearly tied with average stays of 7:05 minutes and 7:16 minutes respectively.
Kmart should keep its recent momentum going as long as possible and know it has potential, especially with its existing online customer base. The funny commercial may aid the brand’s visibility for now, but the competition is tough. It’s going to take more than a YouTube sensation to drive numbers for Kmart.
What do you think about Kmart? Do you shop on their site?
Carro is excited to join the Compete team as the Digital Marketing Co-op for Compete.com, with a focus on all things social media. A third-year student at Northeastern University, Carro is pursuing a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science. She has a passion for digital media. Follow her on Twitter @carrohalpin or connect on Google+