January 4, 2017

6 companies that successfully used social media for their 2016 campaigns

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Published: 4 January 2017 

As we come into the new year, let’s recap on how digital and social media worked for us in 2016, with some shoutouts to businesses we think did it right.

For this article we will be giving out some honourable mentions to international examples, as well a few domestic examples.


1.) Booking.com “Who won booking summer?”

Summer months are the peak mobile booking seasons in the UK and US, particularly for spontaneous and last minute trips. Booking.com sought to take advantage of this travel excitement, delivering the message to consumers to “Wing Everything, Except Your Accommodation”.

Source: Shorty Awards

The organisation sought to capture this spontaneous travel enthusiasm with the use of Booking.com mobile apps and fostering a like-minded community of travellers. The rate of success was measured through rates of positive engagement with the brand, signifying a relationship continuing on beyond the transaction. Booking.com aimed to have travellers willingly and enthusiastically using their brand name in social media, which indicated that they were happy to be associated with the brand as a travel partner for spontaneous stays.

“Who Won Booking Summer?”  was launched at the end of summer after all the spontaneous adventures had ended. The campaign called on people to share their best summer photo through social media and promoted posts coupled with #wingityeah. The campaign drew on the concept that spontaneous travel had the ability to enrich lives.

Collaborating with several digital artists, Booking.com immortalised the travellers’ summer experiences as a series of pesonalised GIFs which were then shared with the original owner’s social channels.

The results:

The campaign resulted in the perfect example of the importance and effectiveness of social media engagement. Within a seven-day period, the #wingityeah social media engagement drove over 2,500 photo entries. Ninety-one ‘summer winning’ photos were turned into personalised GIFs and shared back with the owner’s social media. #wingityeah observed 25,000 fan engagements, recruited 40,000 new, reached 6.4 million unique people on Facebook and drove over half a million people to the summer campaign hub. The GIFs received 16.4 million views collectively.

2.) PwC “Ballot Briefcase”

PwC’s "Ballot Briefcase" aimed to increase visibility around their efforts and activities linked to the Oscars, reposition the brand to appeal to a younger demographic and to generate excitement and buzz through activating the existing employee population. With over 80% of PwC staff being millennials, the organisation sought out to create a modern campaign to tap into the millennial population through the use of Snapchat to generate internal buzz, and increasing external visibility concerning the firm’s involvement with the Oscars.

Source: Shorty Awards

PwC utilised the ‘Briefcase’ as the campaign centrepiece with its own unique personality which embarked on a journey across the US, acting as somewhat of a celebrity, even signing autographs and posing for photos. The Ballot Briefcase Snapchat handle was cross-promoted across PwC branded properties to build followers.  

The results:

Compared to previous campaigns around the Oscars without the Briefcase, PwC’s potential impressions increased by 136 times. The first three weeks of the campaign saw 1,062 mentions (12.3 million impressions) on Twitter, 406 mentions on Instagram (126 000 impressions) and an increase in organic pickup from external influencers mentioning the campaign.

Disclaimer: As the campaign is ongoing, the results of the campaign are subject to change.

3.) Burberry “Mr. Burberry”

In the past, it was a known fact that most luxury brands refused or were hesitant to jump into the world of e-commerce and digital marketing. Burberry is one of the luxury brands who knows how to hone digital marketing strategies to their advantage. 2016 saw Burberry as the first luxury brand to utilise Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ feature to launch Mr. Burberry, its men’s fragrance and grooming collection.

Source: The Fashionisto

A short film for the collection was launched exclusively on Snapchat and was made available on Discovery for 24 hours.

This also served as a successful content marketing strategy, complete with interviews, styling tips, and anything concerning men’s fashion. In a unique twist, Snapchat included codes on Mr. Burberry bottles to allow people to scan for more Snapchat content.

The results:

The brand expanded to a young audience and created content which was full of buzz and excitement, due to its temporary nature. Burberry also sets the standard for other luxury brands which are yet to to expand to millennials through the use of social media.

Australian examples

Now that we’ve seen some global examples, let’s sit back and recap a few a little bit closer to home:

4.) Symbio Wildlife Park “Meet our family”

The Symbio Wildlife Park proved that small people can indeed do big things. The family run wildlife park aimed to set itself apart from other zoos using effective social media content strategy as part of its “Meet our family” campaign.

As part of the campaign, Symbio produced over 20 viral videos and three viral series’ which were posted on Facebook, featuring the endearing and beautiful animals in their care.

Source: Symbio Wildlife Park

The results:

The wildlife park was awarded the National Content Marketing Award for its campaign, with total views globally estimated to be in the billions. From their viral videos, there has been a 30% increase in visitation over the past 12 months. The zoo has been described by the Illawarra Mercury as “providing most organic publicity by a tourism entity in Australia and achieving globally significant engagement”.

5.) BCM & Citysmart “Reduce your juice”

Brisbane City Council’s (BCC) City Smart and Advertising agency teamed up to launch “Reduce Your Juice”, aiming to trial different approaches to promoting energy efficiency in low income households.

Source: BCM

Low income households were identified as an audience generally reliant on mobile phones for internet connection, due to its cost-effectiveness when compared to home internet connection. BCC also found that this demographic spends quite a bit of time on apps and casual games.

The Reduce Your Juice app came as a result of a strategy aimed at changing energy use behaviour through “meaningful gamification”, promoting desired behaviours and reducing the undesired.

User interaction with the players were carefully tracked, with data fed back to a central CRm system, providing real-time reporting and analytics enabling the management of each participant’s experience.

The results:

The energy initiative has received extremely positive local and national coverage in the mainstream press. Participants were spending over 5.6 times longer than the required amount of game time, email engagement was well above the normal, starting at 45% open rate and peaking at 90%. Queensland University of Technology researchers also indicates a significant shift in attitudes, habits and intentions in the audience.

6.) OPSM  “Penny the Pirate”

The goal was to address that one in four Australian kids suffer from vision problems, however half go undetected as vision checks for children are not considered to be a priority.

Source: OPSM

Developed by Saatchi & Saatchi and OMD, “Penny the Pirate” was a combination of traditional and digital media, producing a printed book and a mobile app which screened a child’s sight unknowingly. As children interact, the story records their screening results.

OMD used key influencers to spur excitement, conversation and comprehension among Aussie parents. Social, SEM, display and performance ads contributed to media spend aimed at extending the reach to drive more online traffic towards app downloads and OPSM online.

The results:

Over 126,000 parents bought the book and there was an increase of 22.6% year-on-year of eye test conducted by OPSM. Overall sales also increased by 22.4%. In its first two weeks, there was close to 50,000 engagements on social media. There was a 188% increase in kid’s eyewear packages, an 89% increase in consultation bookings and the app was rated number one during its launch.

Looking to the new year:

We look back at 2016 as a year in which social media, apps and other digital media have been utilised to the advantage of extremely successful campaigns.

Coming into the new year, we will certainly find new ways in which businesses will take these examples into consideration for their own 2017 strategies.    

Ben Maden

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