HP can now reach all kinds of millennial audiences on the same platform: digital video. With over half of its media budget invested in digital, HP connects with engaged YouTube viewers, driving lifts in key brand metrics like ad recall and video completion rate.

May 2016


The Challenge

HP has traditionally used different channels to reach a variety of audiences. Now that its customers are younger and changing their media consumption habits, HP had to figure out how to engage millennial audiences where they spend their time.

The Approach

Google Preferred helps HP reach millennials where they spend their time

As millennials are watching traditional TV less and less and are opting for digital video, HP now dedicates more than 60% of its media spend to digital channels. And YouTube is a big part of that. HP's Head of Global Media Ed McLoughlin shared that HP’s investments in digital video are growing significantly. "Last year, the vast majority of our upfront video investments were for digital video, not linear television."

This media shift is largely driven by the need to reach younger audiences who just aren't exposed to TV ads anymore. "Millennials are watching a ton of TV—it's just not ad-supported TV. So digital formats are where we get the greatest exposure and where we feel more confident that we're actually getting the attention we need," McLoughlin continued.

HP leveraged YouTube's Google Preferred to reach both consumer and commercial audiences for its recent HP Premium and Instant Ink campaigns. By advertising among the top 5% most popular content on YouTube, HP complemented its TV efforts to reach engaged audiences far and wide. Google Preferred's sophisticated real-time reporting also allowed HP to optimize campaigns and investments on the fly.

Relevant content connects with the right target audiences


With over a billion monthly viewers, YouTube’s audience profile these days is basically, well, everyone. So tools like custom targeting are important to enable HP to get its brand messages in front of the right groups at the right moments. For Instant Ink, that meant showing its emotionally moving ad about a mom starting her own business before Google Preferred's Parenting and Family content. HP Premium laptops have a different target audience, so the HP Premium "Star Wars"-inspired ads were placed before the Sports, Technology, and Entertainment Google Preferred lineups.

"Last year, the vast majority of our upfront video investments were for digital video, not linear television."

McLoughlin believes being able to narrowly target who sees HP's content makes the messages more relevant. "We buy against a millennial audience, and then we layer on content targeting that allows us to feel more confident that we're delivering against the right audience in a contextually relevant environment."

Mobile moments are more important than ever; on mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18–49 year-olds in the U.S. than any broadcast or cable TV network.1 For HP, mobile allows it to run ads "in environments where technology and all things digital are top of mind to our consumers," McLoughlin said. "This kind of relevancy lends itself much more to a mobile or tablet environment than it does to linear television."

HP's powerful storytelling connects with consumers


Creating content that connects with YouTube viewers starts with grabbing their attention right away. "You have to establish interest or relevance to a consumer in the first six seconds. It's a different type of storytelling," McLoughlin said.

Taking this approach for its Instant Ink and Premium PC campaigns proved beneficial: The campaigns had strong numbers for key metrics like ad recall and video completion. Telling these emotional and interesting stories on YouTube allows HP to highlight the values its products bring to people's lives in a whole new way.


Google Preferred
Also used: TrueView, YouTube mobile masthead, Search, Display

The Results


1Google/Nielsen study, U.S., December 2015. Audience reach among persons 18–49 for YouTube (mobile only) and 124 individual U.S. cable and broadcast networks (television only).