In marketing circles, social media and the tools available to measure social media are hot topics. As a result, CMOs are making significant investments into strategies designed to reach online audiences and determining the effectiveness of these strategies.
As one indicator of the importance, eMarketer estimated that global social media ad spending will reach $35.98 billion in 2017.
While it’s true that online conversations are growing, and are an important piece of brands overall marketing strategy, marketers might be surprised to learn that offline conversations, those happening face-to-face -- in real life -- actually have a greater influence on consumer purchasing decisions.
Therefore, if a brand’s measurement model is focused only on social media, a huge piece of the marketing opportunity is missed.
Today, consumers are entirely comfortable moving between the online and offline worlds, perhaps more easily than marketers. They talk with each other using the most convenient means at any moment, face-to-face with the person sitting next to them in the living room, working alongside them at the office, on Facebook Messenger, etc.
They also eagerly share with each other all of the content they are hearing and seeing, some of which is traditional advertising and some encountered through digital channels.
Therefore, to make sure dollars are not left on the table, brands must develop a holistic strategy that drives conversations, both online and offline. This means designing integrated marketing and advertising campaigns that get people talking about your brand, both online and offline.
An excellent example of this approach, leveraging both traditional and social media together, is the venerable Old Spice campaign “The man your man could smell like.” It was the most viral online campaign of 2011, but also stimulated conversations in the living room between couples watching TV together.
The campaign launched in 2010 as a commercial on Super Bowl Sunday and was also posted on YouTube which resulted in becoming a viral sensation within hours.
Several months later, ad agency Wieden + Kennedy launched a two-day social media campaign during which star Isiah Mustafa answered questions in real-time from fans on Twitter and YouTube.
The key strength of this campaign was its multichannel strategy – television and print advertisements drove viewers to the social media videos, amplifying its impact and the social media channels drove brand recognition and generated offline conversations.
This interplay is why the Old Spice campaign has had longevity and has been going strong for nearly six years, with a new set of commercials launched last summer on television and YouTube.
Other brands have followed this holistic strategy to similar success. Both Under Armour’s “I will what I want” and Always "#LikeAGirl" campaigns featured commercials with messages designed to get people talking – both online and offline.
These integrated campaigns featured hashtags to spark online conversations, which were designed for today’s multi-screen environment. In the end, they both won numerous awards and landed on many top campaign lists in 2014 and 2015.
Savvy marketers know the power of social influence, but to be successful, they must focus on creating holistic marketing strategies to maximize both online and offline conversations.And for brands, a key factor in understanding how people are talking about your brand is being able to measure those conversations, both online and offline.