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App Engagement with Office Depot

Elf Yourself app leverages branded content for e-commerce opportunities

As consumers are increasingly savvier about what apps to download, marketers must be more deliberate in articulating what utility each app provides for the customer. Whether it is an industry service, an e-commerce conduit, or purely for entertainment purposes, the Google Play store has almost 1.5 million apps — making for an increasingly competitive environment to gain user interest and subsequent engagement.

The Office Depot, Inc. app Elf Yourself is an extremely popular app during the holiday season. Merkle worked with Office Depot in Q4 to craft an integrated marketing campaign specifically to drive Elf Yourself app downloads. The team leveraged paid search and YouTube (TrueView) ads to contextually target prospects interested in holiday entertainment. They also remarketed mobile homepage users to offer the app download as another brand experience. This campaign was so successful that Google Chief Business Officer, Omid Kordestani, highlighted the program in Google’s earnings call on January 29, 2015:

"During the holiday season, Office Depot used Google search ads to promote their "Elf Yourself" app that helped shoppers create personalized videos of friends, colleagues, and family reimagined as dancing elves! By using Google search ads, they saw a 65% conversion rate — that means 65% of people who clicked on their ad installed the Elf Yourself app."

Example of an Elf Yourself app video ad
Example of Elf Yourself app display ad

Though the Elf Yourself app does not provide a direct conduit to conversion like other e-commerce initiatives, marketers know that consumers engaging with branded content increases brand awareness and possibly subsequent product engagement. Google highlighting this business success exemplifies the far-reaching capabilities after that first engagement. Through push notifications and other tactics, there are a plethora of opportunities to reengage the prospect, and ultimately convert them from an entertainment-seeker to a direct sale. Beyond just the scope of mobile capabilities, however, these engagements offer future opportunities as insight into how audience behavior converts to data-driven marketing opportunities. By building onsite remarketing lists and understanding how these prospects migrate from opportunities to conversions, the team will continue to understand further implications to lifecycle behavior – something invaluable to marketers.