How Home Depot Drove In-Store Sales With Mobile Display

Google found that mobile display ads generated 8X in-store ROI. How did Home Depot manage to avert consumers' 'banner blindness?'

The problems of mobile display advertising and its association with limited creativity have been well deconstructed and documented. But that doesn’t mean there are no success stories.

Case in point: Home Depot was able to attract increased store visits. But it was able to do so by working with Google to bridge search and display ads. Ultimately, over the past year, a Think With Google study said that over 1 in 3 people who clicked on a mobile search ad had visited their store and 36 percent of their in-store revenue during peak periods was driven by mobile. That added up to an 8x ROI from the amount Home Depot spent on mobile display ads with Google.

Google Location Extensions were applied to mobile display ads.
Google Location Extensions were applied to mobile display ads.

Evergreen Advertising

Starting last spring, Home Depot wanted to attract DIY gardeners and consumers who were just beginning to shop for patio furniture as the winter chill thawed over their lawns.

The brand had three specific goals it wanted to accomplish: connect with consumers interested in gardening; show them that products they wanted were available at a nearby Home Depot; and help direct them to a nearby store.

To meet the “nearby store” criteria, Google aimed ads at mobile users who had demonstrated an interest in gardening supplies within 15 miles of individual Home Depot stores. The ads ran for four weeks on average.

“We know that our busy consumers are looking for answers quickly,” says Umut Dincer, director of Online Marketing for Home Depot. “We used Google’s most relevant products—in this case location based ads and technologies—to be there for our consumers at just the right time when they were looking for garden products that we sell.”

Building A Location Extension

The ads featured crisp, clear photos, and the Home Depot brand’s recognizable deep orange color.

But aside from looks, Google’s use of “location extensions” for display — interstitial and banner ads that show local store information like address, phone number, and directions, generated dynamically — are what drove the point home for consumers.

“Mobile location extensions for display really proved their worth very quickly,” Dincer said. “We’re able to reach do-it-yourselfers who are close to our stores and make a just-in-time connection that brings them the information they really want in their I-want-to-buy-it moments.”

Home Depot was so pleased with the result, it has expanded the gardening and outdoor goods program to 2,200 stores nationwide — and again saw 8X in-store ROI. Currently, Home Depot is also planning to expand the pilot to other categories, like paint and related merchandise, Google says.


About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.