Cardstore is a part of American Greetings that allows consumers to create perfectly personalized greeting cards online. In an effort to break out of its traditional marketing approach and build awareness during the busy holiday season, Cardstore set up its first YouTube homepage masthead, which led to increased site traffic, brand interest and conversions.


  • Build brand awareness during competitive holiday season


  • Reallocate marketing dollars to fund its first ever YouTube homepage masthead


  • Three times more visitors to the site in Nov 2012 vs. Nov 2011; masthead led to over 80% of the days site traffic
  • 28% increase in brand searches during week of masthead; sustained brand query growth through Dec
  • Saw burst of conversions right after the masthead; continued performance for the rest of the season from those who were exposed to the masthead
October 2013

Cardstore drives 28% increase in brand searches with YouTube homepage masthead

The holiday season is one of the most important and competitive times of the year for the retail industry. Lots of consumers are in the market ready to purchase, and for Cardstore, a part of American Greetings, it’s important to be top of mind with these audiences. The team wanted to break the mold of its traditional approach; it was ready to innovate in order to build awareness and engagement, and turned to Google and YouTube for an effective solution.

Finding its audience

Cardstore knew that its 24-44 year old female target was a regular visitor to YouTube, so for Cyber Monday, Cardstore made a swift decision to reallocate dollars from its typical marketing plan to fund its first ever YouTube homepage masthead. Working with the Google team, Cardstore kicked off the campaign within 48 hours.

Developing compelling content

To develop the appropriate creative for its YouTube homepage masthead, the Cardstore team leveraged previous learnings to develop assets based on its other rich media campaigns. This masthead included two panels that consumers could switch between, one to showcase an online video ad, and another with a carousel showcasing products from Cardstore.




As Tim Walter, Senior Marketing Manager at American Greetings, described, “The card carousel approach was engaging and people were spending time with it. We made our product the hero and were able to deep-link into our site.” Not many other rich media platforms could offer the same combination of functionality, interactivity and visibility.

Driving real participation and response

The YouTube homepage masthead drove a huge amount of impressions for Cardstore. As Tim described, “It was a very high profile placement on a well-known brand property. You can’t replicate the traffic you’re going to get on that day.”

Tim moreover values the brand association with YouTube. “We prize the associated brand equity. It’s great to get our brand—a new brand trying to establish itself—associated with YouTube’s brand name.”

Beyond just impressions, however, a 2013 YouTube Homepage Impact research study conducted by Compete also proved that Cardstore saw significant improvements in site visits, brand searches, and conversions following the masthead. Moreover, as Tim pointed out, “There’s a halo effect as we drive not only visits, but can also retarget audiences with display.”

Moving forward

Tim attributed Cardstore’s success with the YouTube homepage masthead to three factors: “First, YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet1. Second, the date was extremely relevant for what we were targeting. Finally, the creative did a nice job of engaging people.”

According to Tim, moving to paid media on YouTube for the first time helped the team to push its thinking going forward. Since then, the team has considered options that it may not have thought of in the past. “The success we had with this placement gets us even more excited to try new things with YouTube going forward,” Tim asserted. “We believe YouTube can do good things for us and be a big part of our future success.”

Source: comScore qSearch, u.s., December 2012