Snapfish turned to YouTube's TrueView ads to boost online conversions for last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Learning from prior YouTube ad buys, the team developed new video ads that were eight seconds long and still had a call-to-action at the end. This worked extremely well, with conversions on YouTube outperforming paid search on a cost-per-click basis. It was also cost effective, as CPVs were cut to 30% of the rate obtained in a previous TrueView campaign.


  • Execute campaign for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • Drive sales efficiently


  • Produce two eight second creatives with strong calls-to-action at the end
  • Run TrueView in-stream using the two creatives


  • Cut CPV to 30% of the original rate obtained in a previous TrueView test
  • CPCs on TrueView were 14% cheaper than they were with paid search during the same time period
October 2013

Snapfish by HP leveraged TrueView to efficiently drive response during Black Friday

”It’s imperative to have a YouTube presence now. People forget that YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the planet. They’re missing the boat,” asserts Hugh Burnham, Interactive Web Marketing Manager at Snapfish.

Hugh is responsible for digital advertising tactics at Snapfish. His team’s goal is to drive conversions and sales while keeping cost per acquisition (CPA) down.

The team recognized the value of YouTube, and when they noticed high quality videos from Snapfish being produced but not advertised, they saw an opportunity to leverage YouTube’s TrueView ads to efficiently drive views to their owned assets.

After testing and iterating, the Snapfish team eventually drove ad conversions on YouTube so efficiently that their video campaign outperformed paid search on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The team now complements these seasonal paid ad campaigns with a stream of organic how-to videos uploaded onto their channel.


Test and iterate to discover best practices

Snapfish started with a small TrueView test in February 2012, using a spot titled “Cupcake”. It took just days for the team to see the benefits of YouTube, and gather learnings from its tools.

”The wonderful thing we love about YouTube is that it shows you the drop-off rate in a video. It’s a really interesting tool -- we saw that there was a huge plunge after 12 seconds, with people skipping or moving on. While TrueView in-stream performed really well for us, we got the idea that if we did this again, (the video) should be less than 12 seconds, with a very solid call-to-action,” Hugh notes.

That’s exactly what the team did with their 2012 Black Friday and Cyber Monday ad campaign. To drive response, the team put together two short eight second creatives showing a gift box being unwrapped to holiday music, then a written call-to-action promoting a coupon code. The videos were promoted primarily on TrueView in-stream, where advertisers only have to pay when viewers choose to watch their ad.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday success

Despite the competitive holiday season, Snapfish’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaign saw CPVs drop to 30% of the original CPV in the previous “Cupcake” TrueView test. “I thought there was something wrong with our traffic coming in, and the cost we were seeing,” Hugh describes.

On a CPC basis, YouTube also turned out to be extremely cost-effective. According to Hugh, CPCs on TrueView were 14% cheaper than they were with paid search during the same time period.

Hugh emphasized the importance of learning throughout the process. “The Black Friday campaign well surpassed our expectations. Putting what we learned from our initial campaign into practice was a major factor in our Black Friday campaign success,” he notes.

A visual platform for a visual product

Ultimately, Snapfish values not only the efficacy of YouTube’s ad solutions, but also the value that YouTube offers as a home for all compelling brand-related content. Besides paid ads, Snapfish also hopes to have a full library of organic how-to videos on its YouTube brand channel in the near future.

Moving forward, Hugh is excited to continue including YouTube as a part of Snapfish’s marketing strategy. He is considering other ways of leveraging YouTube, both for seasonal ad campaigns and for more unique cases, such as leveraging Snapfish’s how-to videos directly as advertising assets to drive response effectively.

1comScore qSearch, U.S., December 2012