Personal Care Brands Don't Focus On Digital, E-Commerce
Despite the success of high-profile campaigns from Old Spice and Dove, personal care brands overall are lagging other industry categories when it comes to digital innovation.
That’s the conclusion of a new study by digital marketing think tank L2 that ranked 75 such brands through its “Digital IQ Index” that assigns scores (from under 70 to 140 or higher) based on performance data across brand Web site, digital marketing, and mobile and social media presence. Based on that analysis, brands are labeled as Genius, Gifted, Average, Challenged or Feeble.
The study also spanned the following product categories: bath and body, deodorant and antiperspirant, diapers, oral care, shaving and hair removal, and tissue and hygiene. With that criteria in mind, the only brands to achieve "Genius" status were Gillette and Dove.
The L2 report cited, for example, Gillette’s “How Does He Shave?” online campaign, which generated 2.5 million video views and 4,000 comments across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Meanwhile, Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” video accumulated 163 million views globally on YouTube this spring, making it one of the most-watched video ads to date.
Other top personal care brands in the L2 rankings included Burt’s Bees, Huggies, Olay, Pampers, Oral-B, Secret and Neutrogena. Old Spice -- which has updated its image in recent years with its goofy “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign aimed at young guys -- came in at No. 11. Over the last three years, the brand has landed 260 million views on its YouTube channel.
But the study suggested such high-publicity campaigns and eye-catching results mask the continued reliance on traditional media by most personal care brands. The broader CPG category as a whole has been slow to shift from their focus on broadcast TV to digital platforms, despite lip service paid to new media by industry executives, according to L2.
The lack of focus on digital strategy is reflected in findings including:
-A third of personal care brand sites have broken links, and almost seven in 10 haven’t updated their home pages in a month.
-Only 4% of beauty and personal care sales come through e-commerce.
-Less than half of brands studied feature a mobile site, and only about a third have Facebook content optimized for mobile
-While 71% offer email sign-up, less than half send a welcome message, and only 16% followed up with an email in four weeks.
Among the lowest-ranked brands were Coast, Ivory, Soft & Dri, Sure and Skintimate. These and other 20 brands deemed “Feeble” were faulted for everything from lacking a Web site or social media presence to having a broken mobile experience to having a high bounce rate. L2 also indicated that digital efforts aren’t just about generating buzz.
Dove, for instance, has increased its share of the bath and beauty category from 13.6% in 2009 to 15.9% in 2012, while competitors like Ivory, Coast and Zest have seen declines of 7%, 33% and 11%, respectively, in the same period, according to the research outfit’s report. Old Spice has also seen share gains since 2009.
With Old Spice one of 13 Procter & Gamble brands appearing in the rankings, the CPG manufacturer had the highest average score (112) among product makers. The company has stated that up to a third of its marketing budget is dedicated to digital media. Kimberly Clark followed P&G closely in “Digital IQ,” with a score of 109, followed by Unilever (93).
Among other study highlights, L2 found that 85% of brands are active on Facebook, and 59% on Twitter, but only 15% on Instagram. When it comes to their own sites, more than half (57%) of personal care brands attract less than 100,000 visitors per month. For e-commerce, the vast majority (73%) rely on third-party retail partners. Only a handful, including Burt’s Bees and Tom’s of Maine, are experimenting with direct online sales.