iPhone 3GS Launch Also Drives Gains in Search Activity and Site Visitation
RESTON, VA, July 17, 2009 – Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released an analysis of recent online trends related to the June debut of the Palm Pre. Launched on June 6, the Pre debuted as the as the flagship device on Sprint, in coordination with Sprint’s innovative “Now Network” marketing campaign. Offering the newly designed WebOS operating system, a touch-screen, and a sliding keyboard, the Pre represents Palm’s effort to remain competitive in the smartphone market.
Sprint’s “Now Network” Campaign Goes Digital
Buzz surrounding the Palm Pre began building up in earnest during late May with the launch of Sprint’s “Now Network” ad campaign. Winning the top award at the 56th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival (IAF), the campaign ran in print and TV, but also delivered its message of connecting customers to information on-demand through an extensive online ad campaign.
One of the more unique aspects of the digital ad campaign was a YouTube.com homepage takeover in late May. The ad, dubbed the “Human Clock,” featured a mash-up of user-submitted videos. For instance, at 11:14, the “Human Clock” ad would display four different videos of people displaying the 1’s and 4’s needed to represent the time, similar to a digital clock. (See the following blog post on Mashable.com for a more detailed description of the campaign: http://mashable.com/2009/05/12/sprint-youtube-campaign/)
The ad reached approximately 13 million people on the day the advertisement debuted, with the gadget-crazed 18-24 year old male demographic representing a significant portion of the exposed population. More than one-third (37 percent) of people exposed to the ad were between the ages of 18-24 and more than 60 percent were male. In conjunction with other online and offline advertising, this renewed interest in Sprint helped to generate early buzz for the Palm Pre.
Palm Pre Search Buzz
Trends in the number of weekly searchers on terms relating to the Palm Pre suggest that the “Now Network” advertising campaign conducted by Sprint during the second half of May helped generate early interest in the device. The number of searchers more than doubled during the week ending May 24, coinciding with the YouTube homepage takeover. Interest declined somewhat during the following week, but rebounded in the two subsequent weeks after the official launch of the device, with 267,000 searchers for the week ending June 7 and 361,000 for the week ending June 14. The final two weeks in June saw the numbers of searchers fall to approximately half the number of the peak week of activity.
Unique Searchers for
Palm Pre (000)
Interestingly, this decline in Palm Pre search activity coincided with the launch of the Apple iPhone OS 3.0 on June 17 and launch of the iPhone 3GS two days later. Throughout May and the first week of June, the number of unique iPhone searchers remained fairly consistent at approximately one million people per week. In the week prior to the launch of the 3GS, however, the number of iPhone searchers more than doubled to 2.3 million people during the week of the launch.
The Palm Pre appeared to resonate with a different audience than those interested in the iPhone. Of the people who searched for Palm Pre-related terms during the eight weeks of the study, just 11 percent also searched on iPhone-related terms, suggesting that the majority of the people interested in the Pre have little interest in the iPhone.
Using Online Campaigns to Drive Offline Sales
While product-related search activity can offer a proxy for consumer interest in the devices, traffic to online store locators where the devices can be purchases likely indicates a higher degree of purchase intent. Comscore examined the impact of the respective device launches on traffic to the online store locator features at ATT.com and Sprint.com to understand how such intent may have been impacted. The week the Palm Pre launched, Sprint.com experienced a 42-percent increase to 137,000 visitors to its online store locator page, followed by a 41-percent jump to 193,000 visitors the subsequent week. Meanwhile, the AT&T find-a-store feature on Wireless.ATT.com, saw traffic jump 90 percent to 295,000 visitors during the week of the iPhone 3GS launch.
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