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Analysis: Office Max Has a Viral Hit With ‘Elf Yourself’
/ December 13, 2007 11:41 am

In case you were wondering what you would like as an elf, Office Max has brought back last year’s popular microsite Elf Yourself. The website allows users to upload photos of up to 4 people to generate personalized, dancing elves and record a synchronized message through a special toll-free phone number (to create an elf-like voice). Elf Yourself has become the top-ranked site in the Humor category, holding the position for the last 3 weeks. Traffic has increased 89% for the week ending Dec. 8, 2007 from the prior week.

Elf Chart 1.png

The site’s popularity is being driven by viral activity from the users as they share their elves with friends & family via email – 62% of traffic to Elf Yourself for the week ending Dec. 8 came from the Email Services category. Yahoo Mail was the leading email service to drive traffic to the site at 35%, followed by Windows Live Mail at 19%. The majority of visitors to the site were aged 55 and over, which suggests that this demographic could be ripe for viral marketing programs – assuming they engage the audience.

Although Elf Yourself tends to attract an older user, Social Networking sites (which continue to skew towards a younger audience, only 11% of visitors are 55 and over) were also a popular source of traffic. MySpace and Facebook provided 5% and 2% of visitors, respectively, as users send their elves out into their network of friends.

Elf Chart 2.png

If you aren’t feeling the holiday spirit this year (or have a fear of elves), there is also Scrooge Yourself, Elf Yourself’s less cheery cousin.

Heather Dougherty

Heather Dougherty is Director, Research at Hitwise. This piece originally appeared on Hitwise’s analyst blog here.

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