Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

A Review: Ecommerce Predictions in Social Media

ecommerce predictions

Let’s see how some eCommerce predictions have been coming along.

A popular infographic by Offerpop made five social media marketing predictions for 2014, and they are as follows:

  1. The consumer becomes the new content marketer
  2. Brands will weave a social layer over traditional advertising
  3. Marketers will connect the dots between email and social
  4. Brands will make new strides in social commerce
  5. Brands will run more frequent social campaigns

Now that a third of the year has gone by, let’s explore how some of the big brands have applied them in their campaigns.

1. The consumer becomes the new content marketer

More brands will aggregate photos, videos and other content from consumers and repurpose them for marketing campaigns.

Brands have been coming up with campaigns that center around audience participation, either in competitions, or to spread awareness for a cause.

OREO’s #Cookiethis vs #Cremethat campaign:

#cookiethis or #cremethat?
#cookiethis or #cremethat?

In February 2013, Oreo organized a ‘cookie vs creme’ campaign to commemorate its 100th anniversary. Fans were invited to tag photos on Instagram with either the #cookiethis or #cremethat hashtags. These pictures would then be immortalized by artists working with Oreo’s cookie and creme materials. It gave fans a tangible, exciting takeaway from participating, which elicited many, many contributions. [learn more]

#Nomakeupselfie for Cancer Research UK:

Selfies + Donations = Cancer Research!

An interesting campaign saw supporters post au naturel photos of themselves and donating £3 to Cancer Research UK. The campaign raised £8 million for clinical trials. [learn more]

Tip: Consumers get to participate and obtain things like public fame, win prizes, be a part of something special. Brands can showcase the passion and enthusiasm of fans to improve public perception, interact with fans, and (sometimes) save on advertising costs. = WIN-WIN

2. Brands will weave a social layer across traditional advertising

Marketing teams will amplify the reach of TV and print campaigns by incentivising viewers to post hashtagged content and running related social ads.

Domino’s #letsdolunch:

Domino's Pizza #letsdolunch Campaign
A discount for a tweet!

For two hours on March 5, 2013, Domino’s Pizza UK gave Twitter fans a chance to get a topping discount. All they had to do was send a tweet with ‘#letsdolunch’. Garnering 85,000 tweets, at a discount of 1 penny per tweet, the price dropped more than 50% from £15.99 to £7.74 for 4 hours.  [learn more]

HBO Game of Thrones Influencer Boxes:

HBO Game of Thrones Influencer Box Exterior
Exclusivity is always alluring.

In 2011 (and again in 2013), boxes containing replicas of artifacts from the TV series were sent to celebrities and critics. These ‘influencer boxes’ introduced the recipients to the fantasy world from Game of Thrones. The influencers would enjoy a sense of exclusivity and then proceed to share the news with their followers. [learn more]

Nike’s #makeitcount:

Nike's #makeitcount
The first Nike ad that literally invited audience participation!

This campaign originally began in 2012 to advertise for Nike’s activity tracker, the Fuel Band. Getting fans to share their stories and participate proved to be such a hit that the campaign extended into 2013, and was incorporated into in-store retail displays as well. Nike featured athletes in their most intense moments, their Twitter handles, personal quotes, and the popular hashtag. [learn more]

Tip: Brands that use social media on top of traditional advertising encourage interaction and engagements with fans, and minimizes the gap between businesses and consumers. Consumers don’t want to just absorb stuff on the screen; they want to be a part of things that they love.

3. Marketers will connect the dots between email and social

Email and social are two powerful channels with a symbiotic relationship. In 2014, brands will use them in combination to build, target and convert audiences.

Although email and social media present two relatively distinct modes of communication, they are not mutually exclusive. Almost every email and email newsletter today have social media widgets that allow customers to share their emails with their social networks. Customers who have patronized brands sometimes receive emails which they can then forward to their friends to spread the love.

Here’s Benchmark Email’s Complete Guide To Shareable Email Marketing.

Tip:  Both email and social media platforms have their own strengths and usefulness, and the results of them working in tandem can be really effective.

4. Brands will make new strides in social commerce

More marketers will drive purchases directly from social media.

Victoria’s Secret Pinterest:

Victoria's Secret on Pinterest
Victoria’s Secret on Pinterest

Victoria’s Secret’s Pinterest posts all link to their online store. What begins as exploration and window-shopping often translate into impulse purchases, or at least more informed purchases later on. [visit site]

Tip: Customers spend a lot more time on social media platforms than online stores… Having the ability to drive purchases directly through social media platforms helps increase reach.

5. Brands will run more frequent social campaigns

Social gives brands the freedom to launch content and campaigns to fly. To stay competitive, you need to run frequent campaigns that engage multiple audience segments.

Healthcare.gov’s #GetCovered:

Obamacare's #Getcovered logo

Back in 2008, US President Barack Obama and his campaign used social/digital marketing to reach out to the masses. It was a bold gamble, and it paid off.

It’s no surprise, then, that President Obama has continued to engage US citizens through social media. A #GetCovered hashtag started circulating social media platforms, and the President himself made an appearance on the comedy website Funny or Die. The video garnered 11 million views, and traffic into Healthcare.gov went up by 40% in two days.

Land Rover’s #Hibernot

Land Rover's #Hibernot campaign website

The Hibernot campaign was launched in January 2014. Users were encouraged to post images or videos of their own outdoor adventures on social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube, with the hashtag #hibernot. The website also featured routes that people could take if they decided not to hibernate (Get it? Hiber–not) and a short film. [learn more]

Tip: People are inherently social. Our consumer habits are also usually guided by social cues, such as social proof and word-of-mouth. Brands that engage us on platforms where they usually gather will have a better reach, and gain more popularity. This popularity will then snowball and attract other people.

Conclusion: So far, so good– but there’s definitely more to come.

If you pay careful attention, you’ll notice that all of the predictions are based on the same fundamental insight– they all point to brands becoming more adept at navigating Social spaces. Individuals and communities have voices of their own now, and they’re eager to be heard. Brands have to understand and accept this in order to achieve their goals.

Some brands have tried too hard to be salesly, and come across as needy, awkward, demanding, or arrogant. Others have benefited from the goodwill and passion of fans working entirely by themselves. All in all, social media continues to be a powerful wave. Who will ride it, and who will go under?

Things are getting exciting, yo.

PS: We know, not all of the examples have been from 2014! 😉 But we think it just further emphasizes how these forces have been gaining traction for a significant amount of time.

Other posts in this sequence:

  1. What IS social media?
  2. Why is it so hard to define social media, and why should we care?
  3. What’s the difference between ‘social networking sites’ and social media?
  4. Why are people so annoying on social media?
  5. Curated Social Media Wisdom From Top Enterprise Experts [Infographic]
Samuel Hum

Samuel Hum

As a finalist in Esquire's Best Dressed Real Man contest, Samuel is ReferralCandy's fashion eCommerce expert and resident sartorialist. He is obsessed with human behavior, social psychology, and handstands. He is also the lead calisthenics trainer at Weightless.

1 comment

  • #1 is huge! We recently saw some client data (can’t share, unfortunately) that indicated that consumer created content was the lowest effort, but the highest converting content. Brands need to create opportunities for their advocates to post, share and engage.

    #2 is not surprising either. We see it with restaurants, retailers and, most prevalently, TV shows. You want to get traffic, you need to have a social integration.

    #3 is a weird spot for me. I, personally, do not engage with emails that much. I use them to promote events and other aspects of our brand, but I find it hard, as a marketer, to engage with email myself. However, that being said, I might get an email, delete it, then go to the site to see what I want to see. So, in some way, that might be effective.

    #4: If brands (especially B2C) aren’t doing this, then there’s a problem. VS, as you noted, has historically done a good job with this.

    #5: Again, they should. Both for B2B and B2C. If they aren’t, then they’re missing out.

    Thanks for a great article!