How to improve the best social media campaigns with personalization (Part 2)


Social media sites like Facebook personalize their visitors’ experience in almost every possible way. They try to understand who their visitors are and what type of content would delight them in order to provide a better experience. Contrary to this, social media campaigns often fail to take advantage of personalization.

Our company helps website owners collect information about the personal and professional interests of their Facebook fans, and create different versions of their sites according to gathered data. In a previous post, we collected some of the best social media campaigns, and showed how they could have been improved using personalization tactics. As that post was quite popular, we decided to write a similar one.

This time we analyzed more recent campaigns, so most of our new examples are from 2015 or 2016. Below you can find five of our favorite social media ads from the recent past, and a short description of how we would make them more personal.


The Last Selfie

social media personalization

Photos sent on Snapchat disappear after 10 seconds, with no chance of being seen again. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) used this mechanism to illustrate what could happen to endangered species around the word. The organization posted pictures of tigers, polar bears and other animals on the photo messaging app, and asked its followers to share the images or donate before they vanished.

The campaign was much more successful than expected. WWF originally intended to reach millennials with the photos, but, in the end the message got to a much wider audience. The pictures, for example, were seen by 120 million Twitter users in one week, which is the half of all active users on the social media site.

How to make it better?

This exceptional campaign could have been more moving if it showed the pictures of those animals to the users that they like. Of course it wouldn’t have been possible in all cases. But, at least on Facebook, where the pictures were also shared many times, the portraits of the animals could have been matched with the activities or countries that the users are attached to. So for example, WWF could have shown tigers to extreme sports lovers, and pandas to tai chi fans.


Band of Brands

social media personalization

Newcastle Brown Ale tried to crowdsource its TV ad for the most important American football event of 2015, the Super Bowl.

“Lacking the $4.5 million needed to buy 30 seconds of Big Game airtime, Newcastle decided to take a cue from the sharing economy that’s made Kickstarter, Uber, Airbnb and Citi Bike so popular. Our plan was simple. We’d essentially sell ad space in our ad, asking 20 to 30 scrappy brands like ours to pitch in for airtime with us, and then cram all 20 to 30 of those brands into one Big Game ad,” the company wrote about the idea.

The plan worked, and soon after, the company started to display ads on Facebook, asking other brands to finance the TV ad. More than 400 companies reached out to them. In the end, 38 brand logos were shown in the co-financed commercial.

The Super Bowl ad and the related videos were watched 2.9 million times on Facebook, and the campaign was covered in over 400 articles including mentions in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

How to make it better?

Many people follow or like brands on Facebook. Based on interests or a friend’s taste, it’s also possible to predict if a brand would appeal to someone who didn’t interact with it before. The participating companies could have created different versions of the ad and shown versions to fans and people who had a higher chance to engage with them.


Whole Foods

social media personalization

Thanks to the recently introduced autoplay function, videos now play a more important role in Facebook marketing than ever before. Maybe this is the reason why Whole Foods Market, an American supermarket chain specialized in organic food, decided to post short how-to videos on its Facebook page a few months ago.

Most of the videos are about preparing healthy dishes, and some also contain practical tips for people who love cooking. The videos became popular among the fans of the supermarket chain quickly, and many of them were played more than 10,000 times since then.

How to make it better?

Many people share information on Facebook about their food preferences. For example, a few years ago, one of the most popular Facebook pages in Hungary was about a chocolate bar, and it still has a million fans.

Whole Foods Market could have increased engagement if it analyzed people’s eating habits, and instead of showing the same videos to every fan, it displayed videos accordingly. What better to greet you on Facebook than your favourite dish?


Bud for Buds

social media personalization

Budweiser created a Facebook promotion that let you buy a beer for a friend even if you couldn’t meet personally. The brand developed an app for its campaign and partnered with several bars and restaurants that accepted the coupons sent through the app.

“Beer is the original social network… Whether you’re toasting your birthday, a job promotion, an engagement, or simply the end of a long workweek, we want to encourage everyone to bridge the physical and digital worlds by allowing you to send your friend a beer over Facebook,” said Lucas Herscovici, Anheuser-Busch vice president of consumer connections, about the initiative in a press release.

It turned out that people like the idea of receiving beers on Facebook. Nearly all coupons sent through the app were redeemed, and three times as many Budweisers were sold in the participating bars than before.

How to make it better?

While it was possible to send a beer for a birthday through the app, Budweiser could have suggested other occasions to the users based on their Facebook information. A 10-year (Facebook) friendship, or the memory of a great trip together could have been an equally great opportunity to celebrate with a beer. The information the brand collected throughout the campaign about the users of the app could also have been used to notify them about new beer types that they would like, or to create ads that take into account their habits, for example, the bar types that they prefer.


Beyond Utility

social media personalization

Lexus created 1,000 unique video ads to promote its new NX model on Facebook. The company intended to reach younger consumers with its short films that compared a useful item with another one that was useful and stylish at once.

The different variants of the ads matched various utilities, and the users saw only those that were relevant to them. So for example someone who likes home decoration could see an ad that compared two chairs.

The personalized and precisely targeted videos were extremely successful; they won several awards and reached more than 10 million Facebook users, and skyrocketed engagement among viewers.

How to make it better?

Unlike the other ads we introduced, this one couldn’t have been more personalized. Facebook was also involved in creating this campaign, so in a way, besides the car, it also promoted the video ads and the targeting capabilities of the social media site.

There’s one thing that we would have changed. The company could have encouraged users to visit its website to sign up or log in with their social media profile. This way, the next time it could have reached them more directly, and used its own database to create relevant and personalized ads for them.

#sharingiscaring 😉

by Péter Szántó
on Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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