Case Study

Informing Marketing Plans: A Hair Care Study

By January 14, 2016 No Comments


A major consumer product company was about to launch a new series of hair care products to two specific target audiences: women aged 18–30; and women aged 31-45. Previously, all marketing plans had been focused on TV advertising and traditional print mediums, as previous research based on traditional surveys had suggested this to be the most effective method.

Client Objective

The client had noticed that the return on investment through more traditional marketing channels had begun to drop significantly, and they wanted to explore the validity of other opportunities. The client was keen to understand whether a shift in budget focused on digital marketing should be considered as part of the media planning efforts to support the new hair care launch.

In addition to this, they wanted to improve their understanding of the patterns of behaviours during online visits and, more importantly, to see if digital marketing had an influence on online purchasing behaviours.

The key questions they wanted to answer were:

  • What is the online path to purchase?
  • Are there any key moments of receptivity?
  • What is the role of the mobile device in online purchasing?


With permission, the client deployed RealityMine’s passive metering app across mobile, tablet and desktop devices of 200 consumers in each category. In addition, a number of Event Based Trigger (EBT) surveys were set up to capture the thoughts of consumers at specific moments after visiting various websites the client had identified. Panellists who exhibited certain behaviour were then sent a survey, and tracked over a period of two months.


Interestingly, the digital behaviours of these two subsets of women were drastically different. By analyzing the passive data, we noticed women in the ‘18-30’ category would visit only one or two websites researching a product before making a purchase, with an average session time across apps and websites of only three minutes. Additionally, this category tended to go directly to the product website rather than searching via a search engine. This was also at specific times of the day, normally during the evening commute (between 4-6 pm) providing a clear avenue for advertisers.

Using the EBT surveys, a common reason for this was fitting online shopping into a busy day — and simply not having the time to extensively research the product during the day. As a result, most of the purchasing behaviour was seen to be on a mobile device, with the tablet and desktop devices used more for browsing purposes.

In contrast, women in the ‘31-45’ category would spend almost twice as long researching products before making a purchase, and we saw an equal split across mobile and desktop. Interestingly, searching tended to be higher on the web browser compared to app usage, with 70% of activity seen browsing websites.

When questioned via the EBT surveys, the main reason for this behaviour was a greater familiarity and comfort using the browser for searching. Additionally, search engines were the most popular method used, in contrast with the behaviour of the younger category, which tended to visit websites directly. The time of browsing was also more varied, with peaks between 9-11 am, 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm, providing more varied windows of opportunity for advertisers.

Client Takeaway

These findings contrasted with the client’s previous understanding of their customers’ behaviour. They had expected that the path to purchase of these two customer categories was largely similar.

With the data provided by the study, two new marketing campaigns were launched to specifically target these subsections and gain a better fit for their purchasing behaviour. Early reports indicate that revenues have increased in each category by 45%, with expenditure costing 60% less than previous advertising campaigns.