What happens when a medium becomes saturated with advertisers? Companies all around the world are competing for attention and for potential customers on social media. The good news is that social media can be very cost-effective. The bad news is, it is becoming more and more saturated every day.
Facebook users ‘like’ an increased number of brands. The proportion of ‘Likes’ to number of users has increased and thus decreased the value of each ‘Like’. This was inevitable; as companies became accustomed to posting content that ‘Likes’ for the simplest things. ‘Like if you Love Fridays’, ‘Like if you think kittens are cute’, and so forth. A ‘like’ has become so common for these posts that the number of likes almost becomes irrelevant.
In November, Nars took on a unique challenge. They sought to promote a new cosmetics collection using social media, but without giving away free products or even paying for advertising. The company developed a Facebook application for the Andy Warhol-inspired collection that would allow Facebook users to match their profile photos and/or cover photos in the style of Warhol, with prominent Nars branding throughout. (To see it the app in action, check out the video from Nars below.)
Speaking at a WWD conference, Heather Park, the digital media director at Nars, explained the entire philosophy behind this successful new way of engaging customers via social media. The aim was to target the cover photo section of users’ profiles. The team found out that once a Facebook user changes his profile picture, it appears in the friends’ feeds as a unique and not as a group update. The outcome was a quite small number of users: approximately 3,100 BUT a really impressive number of engaged people. All together, the app’s users made over 5,000 images and spent over 7 minutes on using the app. Less than half of the users came from the US, with a surprising number coming from Brazil (approximately 23%).
Earned media impressions totaled 151 million, a figure obtained in majority from press coverage (tech and beauty blogs), Park said. Nars calculated that figure by adding up the monthly unique readers of each site that covered the campaign and, in the case of Twitter, by multiplying each tweet about the campaign by the number of followers that particular Twitter user had.
This example is important, not because of the great impact the campaign had, but because the company generated a high reach without any kind of sweepstakes, giveaways, or paid Facebook advertising. It goes to show that Facebook still has room for innovation. Success is not determined by the number of likes or comments. Sometimes, creating a great, engaging tool is better than curating daily content to promote your brand.