Report: How Social Marketing Works for Retail Brands [Report]

In late June, I wrote about ComScore’s second report called “The Power of Like2 – How Social Marketing Works” and how it’s not just about getting likes, but rather about creating engagement and interacting with fans. Now, I would like to follow up on that post as ComScore has recently released their third report: “The Power of Like Europe – How Social Marketing Works for Retail Brands”. Like the second report, the third one is also based on collaboration between ComScore and Facebook.

Focus of recent study
As the title of the new report reveals, the focus of this third study is on social marketing for retail brands and how popular consumer brands are making use of Facebook to deliver media impressions at scale and not least drive desired behaviour among key customer segments.

The study presented in the report analyses the social marketing efforts of retail fashion brands across the three largest advertising markets in Europe (UK: ASOS and Topshop. France: La Redoute and Zara. Germany: H&M and Zara.) Furthermore, it states that retail was selected primarily because 86 of the Top 100 e-Retailers ranked by ComScore in Europe have a Facebook presence.

My last blog post also focused on how Facebook pages have become the go-to destination for consumers and fans as well as how good community management thereby can be part of increasing a brand’s sales. In this report, it’s therefore interesting to be presented with even more concrete examples on what investment in social media can actually bring along.

Key findings
The report states that the time spent on social networking in Europe is continuously growing, meaning that we are connecting with people around us and sharing content online as never before. In UK, France and Germany, nearly a third of the time spent on Facebook is viewing the News Feed. This is where the importance of brands creating engaging content comes back into the picture. Obtaining this, fans can contribute to cause a chain reaction of communication appearing in a great number of their friends’ News Feeds when ‘liking’ or commenting on a specific piece of brand content. In the report, this is presented with the following example:

As seen above, friends of fans thereby become a great part of a brand’s potential online audience. Illustrated with Asos in the UK, this brand has the ability to reach around 44 friends of fans for every 1 Asos fan in the UK. Friends of fans for La Redoute in France and H&M in Germany also constitute a large audience, which is 20x to 30x greater than their fan base alone.

This taken into consideration, Facebook can have a significant impact on a brand’s exposure, provided that it understands how to manage a community and create engagement. Additionally, the great potential for reaching friends of fans and converting these into fans, continuously building a larger fan base, obviously increases the level of engagement in the community.

From the above figure, it also becomes evident that impressions on Facebook reach both fans and their wider network. As stated in the report, another thing is in this regard to understand whether the wider network is similar to the preferred target group or if it consists of a broader cross-section of the Internet population. There is value in understanding if Facebook can help brands reach not only their most loyal users but also their lighter buyers who need convincing in order to place a purchase.

Using La Redoute as an example, the study states how the demographics of their audience differ from 1) the overall user base online, 2) users visiting the brand’s website and 3) their Facebook page. This is illustrated in the below figure:

Being aware of this difference in a brand’s demographic user profiles can help the brand adapt its online strategy to affect the behaviour of specific segments as the final aim is of course to increase sales.

This also leads one’s thoughts to the ever recurring question: “What is the actual return on my Facebook investment?”

In the study, ComScore evaluated how much more likely fans and friends of fans were to visit their brands’ websites compared to the average Internet user. The result is that fans and friends of fans in each case are more likely to visit the retailer’s online store compared to the average Internet user. This can also be connected to the last blog post on ComScore’s second report, where Starbucks had experienced greater in-store purchasing from fans compared to non-fans. For the retail brands in this report, the numbers look as follows:

To see further details about the examples presented here and in general gain more insights into the report by ComScore and Facebook, please click here.

Why Oreo’s ‘Daily Twist’ is one of our all-time favorite social media campaigns

Few cookies have reached the same level of iconicity as Kraft Foods’ Oreo. Its round shape, blackish color and white cream stuffing have undeniably added to its success but as a social media agency we wonder: where would the crowd-pleasing, twistable cookie be today without effective social media marketing?

Let’s zoom in on one of their global digital and social media campaigns that reached millions of hearts (and mouths) and delivered proof that even cookies can provide endless food for thought. We are talking about the wildly successful ‘Daily Twist’ campaign that saw a 110% growth in fan interaction per social-media post only a few months after the campaign was launched. Even though the campaign dates back to 2012, in our view, it earned a spot among the best food branding campaigns on social media ever. Here’s why…

It used milestones and pop culture events to create engagement

2012 was the year that America’s favorite cookie turned 100. Needless to say, it was a cause for celebration.

Every day for 100 days, the Oreo was given a different “twist” – styled to look like Elvis, a panda bear or like the surface of Mars after the Mars Rover had driven over it. On the ‘Daily Twist’ site, users could suggest their “twist”. The campaign was driven on Facebook and also featured on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.

The Oreo twists were especially created to spark conversation and sharing, referring to milestones or pop culture events that people could relate to and share their thoughts about.

It had timely and shareable content combined with an element of surprise

While some of the cookie designs were planned ahead like the Olympics or Labor Day, others were more agile, tapping into events like the premiere of ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Rises’, the release of the iPhone5 and the birth of a Chinese panda bear. Monitoring trending topics and utilizing current events ensured the content was always relevant and timely. Couple that with the surprise of what each day would bring, and you’ve got a campaign worth tuning into.

They exercized strong brand values

The campaign kicked-off with the Gay Pride rainbow cookie in recognition of the LGBT community, much to the chagrin of conservative crowds.

The Facebook post set off a heated online debate that even led opponents of gay marriage to call for an Oreo boycott. But while supporters and opponents were fighting their online battle, the rainbow cookie doubled Oreo’s fan growth.

By having a strong stance and sticking to it, Oreo established itself as a courageous brand amongst its more liberal fans.

The campaign had an integrated marketing approach, combining the offline and online worlds

The campaign finale took place at Times Square in New York. They set up a pop up agency there, from which they designed the last ‘Daily Twist’, based on suggestions from fans. Earlier that morning, the brand had asked its Twitter followers and Facebook fans to offer ideas, which were going up live on a billboard. Creatives would select the best ones and three of them were then put to an online vote. The winning cookie, celebrating the anniversary of the first high five, was designed on the spot and was displayed on a big billboard.

A seamless flow between the online and offline worlds, and the mix of social and traditional marketing allowed for a greater experience and showed that Oreo mastered the integrated marketing approach.

It put the product in the center – without being self-centered

Oreo’s ability to put their product at the center of the campaign and still make the content relatable and entertaining for a massive range of users is (in our opinion) the most important factor in the success of the ‘Daily Twist’ campaign. The content was heavily branded, yet still relevant, timely and shareable – without ever begging for likes, comments and shares.

Lessons learned

The ‘Daily Twist’ campaign set an example of how important it is to create content that resonates with your audience. There are many ways to find out what moves your fans. For Lurpak®, we identified what kind of recipes the audience was searching for. As a result, we created content that we already knew people wanted to engage with. Read how we did it here.