When it came time to promote the 2014 Traverse, Chevrolet implemented a comprehensive cross-channel, cross-device strategy, running campaigns across Google platforms. In particular, Chevrolet used YouTube to show off the new Traverse in an engaging, impactful way: It created an interactive YouTube video that ran as a TrueView ad, a YouTube homepage masthead, a YouTube mobile roadblock, and a Lightbox Ad on Google Display. Affinity Segments helped the brand zero in on the most valuable customers. The Lightbox Ad alone received more than half a million engagements over 14 weeks, with each lasting 19 seconds on average. Collectively, that"s one-third of a year.


  • Increase awareness and drive brand consideration
  • Repurpose high performing YouTube masthead creative
  • Reach targeted audience of families with active lifestyles


  • Used Lightbox Ads, part of Engagement Ads family
  • Used Affinity Segments to reach the right audience


  • 577K engagements in 14 weeks
  • 1.44% engagement rate
  • Average engagement time was 19 seconds
  • Total engagement time equal to 122 days
  • 38.6M impressions at no additional cost
January 2014

For over a century, Chevrolet has built affordable, high-powered vehicles that combine performance, technology and iconic style. Continuing its tradition of fusing functionality with design to best meet drivers’ needs, Chevrolet introduced the 2014 Traverse, which seats up to eight passengers and has top-of-the-line safety features.

Seeking to increase awareness and consideration of its high-quality, ingenious vehicles, Chevrolet implemented a comprehensive cross-channel, cross-device strategy with the help of its media agency Carat. This strategy included running campaigns across Google paid search, Google Display and Google+ for both desktop and mobile devices. In particular, Chevrolet used YouTube to show off the new Traverse in an engaging way: It ran TrueView video ads to capture the attention of qualified users and created a YouTube homepage masthead for high-impact brand exposure.

Reaching roughly 23 million U.S. viewers on average, the YouTube homepage masthead presented an important opportunity for Chevrolet to create scaled awareness of the Traverse. To give consumers a taste of the Traverse and showcase its numerous family-oriented features, Chevrolet’s YouTube homepage masthead used playful video creative that offered a childlike view of the SUV’s cargo, safety, technology and seating options. Chevrolet then extended this creative to users on mobile devices with a one-day mobile roadblock, during which it bought all available ad impressions on m.youtube.com for a full day.

Engaging the right audiences with the Traverse

Chevrolet targeted its campaigns to families with active lifestyles that would most likely be interested in the Traverse’s feature set. To connect with these audiences, Chevrolet used Affinity Segments to achieve broader reach of users who have demonstrated a sustained interest in certain topics. For example, Chevrolet targeted audience segments interested in topics, such as autos, tech and tech news, travel and family, because they would likely be attracted to the Traverse’s features.

After the YouTube homepage takeover for Traverse, we knew we had great creative with great engagement. We loved this creative and had learned best practices with it, so we wanted to find a way to reuse it.

Extending the impact of powerful creative

The results of the YouTube homepage masthead and mobile roadblock were extremely positive for Chevrolet, and the creative featuring the Traverse was especially effective: Users could interact with colorful characters representing the SUV’s key features and even select different music tracks. As the creative proved to be very engaging on YouTube, Chevrolet wanted to make the most of the ad by stretching its impact across the web and chose Google Display for additional reach with the same effective creative. “After the YouTube homepage takeover for Traverse, we knew we had great creative with great engagement,” says Jamie Barbour, digital advertising manager at Chevrolet. “We loved this creative and had learned best practices with it, so we wanted to find a way to reuse it.”

Jamie and her team therefore jumped at the chance to repurpose and extend the value of this high-performing creative using the Lightbox Ads. These are a type of ad format belonging to the Engagement Ad family that let advertisers create and scale beautiful brand messages across the web, while only paying when a user engages with the ad. The Lightbox Ad format begins as a standard IAB-sized unit and expands into the full-sized YouTube Masthead creative once a user hovers his or her mouse over the ad for two seconds. “The hover delay ensures authentic engagement and sound metrics,” says Jamie. And because the Lightbox Ad reuses existing creative assets, Chevrolet had no additional development costs. “We didn’t even have to revise the creative to fit different ad sizes or a different ad experience,” notes Jamie.

Lightbox Ad inspires deep engagement

The Lightbox Ad campaign successfully achieved widespread awareness and consideration of the Traverse: Over 14 weeks, the campaign received more than half a million engagements, with each engagement lasting 19 seconds on average. In total, that translates to about 122 days’ worth of time—or one-third of a year—collectively spent engaging with the campaign!

Additionally, Chevrolet only paid when qualified users engaged with the ads by hovering their mouse to activate the masthead, thanks to Engagement Ads’ cost-per-engagement (CPE) pricing. This offered Chevrolet a valuable opportunity to build awareness and branding—for free—with 38.6 million pre-hover impressions, at no additional cost.

A tool that drives success

The team at Chevrolet is pleased with the engagement and awareness the Lightbox Ads generated for the Traverse. They were especially happy to extend the life of the high-performing and popular Traverse creative, with no new development requirements. Because the format continues to engage audiences time and again, Chevrolet says Lightbox Ads will remain an important part of its marketing strategy.