258% Increase in Revenue - There's Life in the Old Dog Yet!

hmv is one of the UK’s most iconic brands; it is a leading specialist retailer of music, film, games and technology products, with over 120 stores around the UK, offering a wide selection of new release and catalogue titles.


In January 2013, HMV went into administration. They were a mere nostalgic relic of yesterday’s entertainment technology, ousted by newer, digital favourites. Vehemently refusing to admit defeat, they are now back from the dead, and tasked Merkle|Periscopix with the challenge of:

a) letting the world (UK-only) know about it.

b) getting rich, quick.

Like all ecommerce clients, Christmas brings some of the most interesting and important opportunities to re-engage existing customers whilst simultaneously reaching new audiences, and instant results from both a brand awareness and a profit perspective were essential to the success of this campaign.


The key to developing the most effective strategy possible for this campaign was to try to understand the full customer journey, moving through from an early awareness stage, to final purchase. This led us to combine the respective benefits of both Paid Search and Programmatic Display to create a unified campaign that was greater than the sum of its parts.

Using DoubleClick’s attribution tools, we moved beyond the last-click model and better understood the value of prospecting to new customers through Display. Huge numbers of new users were pulled in with branding-oriented creative (e.g. ‘We’re Back Online’), and driven to purchase by product-level Search coverage and audience-focused Display ads.

With a tight timeline in the run up to Christmas, we really needed to hit the ground running and made sure that every preparation was in place to allow the strategy to launch in its complete form from the off. The first stage of this process was to place a large number of on-site pixels to allow us to understand the user’s on site behaviour. We then segmented those users into customised audiences, based on their inferred interest in the products for sale. Finally, we remarketed to those audiences with various levels of assertiveness, in terms of bids and frequency caps, based on how valuable they really were to us. This allowed us to greatly increase cost efficiency by having huge insight into the value of each individual user.

A comprehensive, seven-strong set of Shopping campaigns helped to drive new users to purchase. Split down to item ID, we had product-level control over bids, enhanced by DS bid strategies. This way we could aggressively push new and high-value releases through Shopping, while supporting with more generic Search ads, thus dominating the results page. Using Merchant Feed Rules, we were also able to drive sales of pre-order products, selling most of a title’s inventory before it was even released. Finally, audience pools segmented by funnel position allowed us to retain non-converters and simultaneously encourage repeat purchases and brand loyalty.


Display and Search combined to produce incredible results far beyond the client’s, and our, expectations:

  • 258% increase in revenue;
  • 30% increase in conversion rate in Paid Search, over Organic traffic;
  • Display remarketing ROI of 17.

Launch in November – Christmas 2015:

We comfortably exceeded revenue and ROI targets and contributed to an outstanding set of Christmas results, breaking the £1,000,000 mark in just two months.

Quote from the client

"Having worked with Periscopix before, I knew how good these guys were, however I didn't expect them to exceed the previous levels and deliver such an amazing Christmas performance and be as excited as me with the results. It certainly felt like a team effort."

Steve Partridge, Head of Ecommerce, HMV

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