Surfing social media trends to boost ROI
Lawrence Chia
Chairman, Pico Group

In a survey, nearly 90% of marketing experts indicated that consumers are shifting towards using social media instead of search engines to search for brands. From last November to early this year, over a fifth of Gen Z, millennials and Gen X social media users have shopped directly on social platforms – and sales figures have been on the rise. There is no doubt that social media contributes to enhancing marketing effectiveness; but how can brands combine social media elements and technology for maximum impact?

Short and concise videos are younger consumers’ preferred form for learning about products. Over 80% of marketing experts have indicated that investing in video marketing yields the highest return on investment. Netflix, for example, used a dance video on TikTok featuring the lead actress from Wednesday, which went viral and sparked a trend of user-generated challenges. As a result, Wednesday became the second most-viewed English series on the platform.

Analysis of social media user data with machine learning can also significantly enhance marketing effectiveness. In India, McDonalds used machine learning algorithms to identify the most effective channels for promotion, then collaborated with content creators who aligned with campaign objectives and had the most impact on the target audience. The marketing strategy was continuously adjusted based on conversion rates and sales volumes. In the end, the campaign reached an online audience of over 30 million and converted more than 20,000 new paying customers.

Brands can also tailor social media-driven projects to the characteristics of an event. At the beginning of this year, Pico was commissioned to activate a marketing campaign for State Farm during the 57th Super Bowl. Rather than relying on traditional TV advertising, the campaign sought to expand the brand’s audience reach by collaborating with influencer Khaby on a viral TikTok challenge. The campaign also invited viewers to play games during the Super Bowl. The TikTok posts ultimately garnered over 220 million views, far exceeding the number of actual Super Bowl attendees.

Social media marketing with a tech twist continues to thrive. Snack brand Rob’s Backstage Popcorn, for example, launched an AR Instagram Reels game to promote a new product. Players had to open their mouths to ‘catch’ the popcorn on the screen, and by sharing game photos or videos and tagging the brand, they could win prizes, thereby increasing audience engagement.

The characteristics and audience groups of social media platforms are different. Enterprises should choose platforms according to marketing needs to maximise their return on investment.

The full article was originally published in Headline Finance on 28 August 2023 (in Chinese only).

Source: Headline Finance (webpage version), 28 August 2023