Home care products are hardly the sexiest category when it comes to online marketing. And less than 1% of such products are sold via e-commerce. Even so, a new study suggests that brands in the $24 billion-a-year industry could be doing a lot more to market in the digital realm.
The latest report from digital marketing think tank L2 found that only half of the brands studied are buying against their own brand names on desktop search, and one in five are absent from social media. When it comes to their own sites, more than half have broken content links, and 30% have buggy features like non-functioning video.
Given those shortcomings, half of the 56 brands analyzed were deemed “challenged” or “feeble,” the two lowest of five ranking categories L2 assigns brands based on performance across four main areas: Web site, digital marketing, mobile and social media. Each is given equal weight in L2’s Digital IQ scoring system that ranges from under 70 (“feeble”) to over 140 (“genius).
Clorox and Tide were the only home care brands to earn a genius rating, with scores of 152 and 142, respectively. Clorox was cited for various digital marketing initiatives, including its myStain app, working with social TV service Viggle to capitalize on second-screen activity and racking up 130,000 followers on Google+.
For its part, Tide easily has the largest Twitter community (over 110,000) of any home care brand and uses Promoted Tweets, as well as experimenting with Vine and Buy Now links on YouTube. It’s also more expansive in using standard tactics, like paid search, advertising against a broad set of keywords and search terms.
Tide, of course, also has its own app on stain removal called “Tide Stain Brain,” which gets a respectable three-star rating in the iTunes App Store. Rounding out the top five home care brands were Downy, Charmin and Swiffer. Procter & Gamble claimed half of the top 10 brands, including Clorox and Tide.
At the bottom of the ranking were Suavitel, Fabuloso, Comet, Sun and Sunlight, whose digital deficiencies ranged from skeletal or outdated Web sites to “abysmal” visibility in search.
The L2 analysis found eco-friendly brands, such as Seventh Generation, Green Works and Method, had overall higher-than-average Digital IQ scores. “These niche players use digital to tell their stories and earn higher scores across all four dimensions of the study, with the largest disparities seen in Site and Social Media, both content dependent,” stated the report.
Still, it noted that these brands collectively still only make up 3% of the laundry and cleaning market.