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AXE v Old Spice case study: Facebook engagement and content strategy

Socialbakers analytics logo

Here at FreshNetworks we’ve always argued that engagement is a much more interesting metric than popularity, which is why we’re big fans of Socialbaker’s Engagement Analytics tool, as it provides granular information on a variety of  Facebook related engagement statistics.

We used Socialbakers to compare two large rival Facebook pages (both are approaching 2 million fans) for two similar consumer products - Unilever’s AXE and P&G‘s  Old Spice - in order to test the tool and compare the different strategies employed by each brand during September.

1. Content strategies

A comparison of both AXE and Old Spice Facebook walls show the different content strategies that the brands are using:

Axe facebook wallOld Spice Facebook wall

AXE’s landing page is their ‘Premature Perspiration’ tab, which plays a video and links to an app, which certainly diverts fans from their wall.

Clicking through to AXE’s wall displays all posts, meaning that a first time visitor is unlikely to see any of the brand’s posted content; this is bound to be detrimental to engagement levels.

Old Spice, on the other hand, give priority to their own posts. This not only means their latest post is always prominent, but so too are older ones, making them “stickier” in the eyes of a visitor. Old Spice have clearly worked with their recognisable tone of voice of the “Old Spice Guy”, which is reflected in the nature of their updates. AXE’s updates are much more eclectic, designed and intended for a specific young, male audience.

Winner: Old Spice

2. Post frequency and variety

Aside from the different ways of displaying their walls, AXE and Old Spice have a pronounced difference in terms of how often they post, and what types of content they share.

content strategy axe oldspice

Throughout September, Old Spice made 20 posts, while AXE bordered on three times as much activity with 54 posts, often posting twice daily.

In terms of the breakdown of content, Old Spice made 16 text updates, 2 links and 2 videos (Socialbakers analysed all videos for both pages as “links”).

AXE on the other hand, has a much broader approach with 42 photo updates (including albums), followed by 7 videos, 3 links, 1 poll and just 1 text update.

Winner: AXE

3. Engagement

At a first glance, you would imagine the variety of updates posted by AXE to offers deeper engagement, yet this is not reflected in Socialbakers’ calculation as it takes into account the number of posts being made.

By posting less frequently, and drawing more attention to their posts, Old Spice are able to leverage a greater rate of engagement from a lower amount of posts.

axe and old spice facebook engagement overview

Winner: Old Spice

4. Response rates

While Old Spice is able to remain highly engaging, it is significantly weaker than AXE when it comes to responding to fans.  AXE’s two community managers, Dan and Laura, sign off each post personally and even appear in various photos and videos. This gives fans an opportunity for a dialogue with real people, whereas Old Spice posts remain in the tone of voice of the Old Spice Guy and are rarely followed up.

Old Spice are clearly successful with their ongoing use of the Old Spice Guy’s persona, while AXE has two real people acting as the contact point for the fans. It could be argued that Old Spice’s engagement is mostly passive, while AXE has actual interaction between their fans and community managers.

Winner: AXE

Old Spice AXE response rate


Average facebook engagement rateIt’s  not simple to say that one page is superior to the other.  Old Spice is way ahead of Axe in terms of engagement, but according to Socialbakers’ metrics (in the table to the right) they are not doing anything exceptional.

What is clear, though, is that merely looking at the prominent numbers on a Facebook page will not give much information as to its effectiveness.

IBM survey: 68% of global CMOs ‘underprepared’ to manage social media

According to IBM‘s new, inaugral Global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Study, 68% of CMOs are underprepared to manage the impact of key changes in the marketing arena that relate to social media.

The survey, based on face-to-face conversations with more than 1,700 CMOs worldwide, highlighted that CMOs see four challenges as pervasive, universal game-changers in the world of marketing:

1.The explosion of data
2. Social media
3. The proliferation of channels and devices
4. Shifting consumer demographics.

When it comes to social media, CMOs are acutely aware that social media is challenging older, mass-marketing assumptions, skill sets and approaches, and while the most proactive CMOs are mining new digital data sources to discover what individual customers want, relatively few CMOs are exploiting the full power of the digital or social media.  In fact, only three-quarters use customer analytics to mine data, only 26% track blogs, only 42% track third-party reviews and only 48% are tracking consumer reviews. The reasons behind this are attributed to the fact that the tools, processes and metrics that CMOs are using are not designed to capture and evaluate the unstructured data produced by social platforms.

More than half of all CMOs think social media is a key channel for engaging with customers and four-fifths of respondents plan to use customer analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), social media and mobile applications more extensively over the next three to five years.

Of the top 10 priorities for managing the shift to digital technologies, 4 relate directly to social media, with another 3 potentially being impacted by social media. It’s also interesting to note that social media metrics appear as one  of seven important measures for gauging marketing success - two years ago this would never have been the case.

The fact that so many global CMOs are concerned about the impact of social media, and how they are going to resource, manage, analyse and measure it, highlights that social media is finally moving beyond the numbers of views or fans on various channels. CMOs are starting to realise that social media can help achieve strategic objectives and transform their business if they invest in the right resource and planning and set metrics that match their key business goals.

Top 100 engaging brands on Facebook - a new metric

Earlier this week Facebook launched a new page measurement which looks at the number of fans who “are talking about” a branded Facebook page.

The ‘People Talking About’ metric is a rolling average of the last 7 days of user-initiated activity on a specific page, which includes posting to the wall, “liking”, commenting or sharing one of the posts or a piece of content on the page, answering a Facebook Question posed to fans, or mentioning a page in a status update.

Here at FreshNetworks we’re very pleased with this new metric as it indicates a move away from measuring a page’s “success” through the number of likes or fans, and a move towards measuring real engagement  - something which we’ve always advocated.

With this in mind, we thought it would be interesting to use this new metric to assess which are the Top 100 most engaged pages on Facebook*. We think the list below sheds new light on which brands are achieving the most success with social media:

Number Company Engagement
1 Oreo India 9.44%
2 Sony Ericsson India 7.99%
3 Louis Vuitton 7.33%
4 Addidas Basketball 7.25%
5 L’Oreal Paris Brasil 6.49%
6 Halls Brasil 6.13%
7 Volvo Cars US 5.89%
8 Nokia Italia 5.86%
9 Coastal 5.45%
10 Heineken 5.37%
11 Walgreens 5.25%
12 Dove 4.98%
13 Café Coffee Day 4.97%
14 Chupa Chups 4.88%
15 Haribo France 4.77%
16 Nescafe 4.72%
17 Smirnoff Brasil 4.41%
18 Dunkin Donuts 3.98%
19 Volkswagen Turkey 3.75%
20 ASOS 3.73%
21 La Redoute 3.60%
22 NASCAR 3.53%
23 Wendys 3.52%
24 Coca Cola Australia 3.50%
25 Starbucks Mexico 3.46%
26 Pepsi India 3.43%
27 Microsoft 3.39%
28 Smirnoff US 3.37%
29 Nikon 3.25%
30 Dominos 3.21%
31 HP 3.02%
32 Satisfaction guaranteed Japan 2.99%
33 Aircel India 2.84%
34 Burger King 2.83%
35 Samsung Mobile 2.80%
36 Sephora 2.77%
37 Dior 2.76%
38 Bacardi 2.75%
39 Corona 2.61%
40 Nescafe Philippines 2.55%
41 McDonalds 2.48%
42 Allegro 2.41%
43 Chocolatos 2.39%
44 Benetton 2.39%
45 Hanes 2.37%
46 Reebok India 2.35%
47 Jimmy Choo 2.30%
48 Walmart 2.28%
49 Jordan trainers 2.27%
50 HTC 2.16%
51 Google 2.15%
52 Kingfisher 2.13%
53 Dominos pizza India 2.06%
54 Volkswagen 2.04%
55 Burberry 2.03%
56 Mini 2.02%
57 Addidas Cricket 2.02%
58 Lynx 2.01%
59 Starbucks 2.00%
60 Ebay 1.98%
61 Xbox Mexico 1.95%
62 Swarovski 1.94%
63 Turkcell 1.84%
64 Inca Kola 1.80%
65 Guess 1.79%
66 Sony Ericsson India 1.78%
67 Unicef 1.77%
68 Nespresso 1.77%
69 Bath and Bodyworks 1.74%
70 Ugg Australia 1.73%
71 Netaporter 1.72%
72 Cadbury celebrations 1.70%
73 Trendyol 1.70%
74 Intel 1.70%
75 Old Spice 1.69%
76 Fanta 1.69%
77 Turkcell 1.63%
78 Dr Pepper 1.63%
79 Toyota 1.61%
80 Nike Turkey 1.61%
81 Christian Louboutin 1.60%
82 OXXO 1.60%
83 Babies r Us 1.60%
84 Subway 1.58%
85 Vodafone Egypt 1.57%
86 Tiffany 1.56%
87 Aston Martin 1.52%
88 Coca cola Egypt 1.50%
89 Budlight 1.50%
90 Honda 1.50%
91 Hennessy 1.44%
92 Bershka 1.44%
93 Yves Saint Laurent 1.43%
94 Mountain Dew 1.42%
95 Sony 1.42%
96 Tally WEijl 1.41%
97 Nokia 1.40%
98 Buffalo Wild Wings 1.39%
99 PacSun 1.38%
100 Old Navy 1.37%

It’s interesting to note that Starbucks, who would be the number one most ‘successful’ page based on the traditional “like” measurement has now dropped to 58 based on this new engagement metric. Another example of this would be Coca-Cola. Mashable have posted a list noting the most talked about Facebook Fan pages by volume, in which Coca-Cola’s page appears #2. In our list above you don’t see Coca-Cola because, although they have an astonishing 34M fans, only 0.25M are engaging with the page on a weekly basis - i.e. they have a low engagement ratio for their number of fans.

Further, suspect that the extremely high “talking about” figures of Oreo India and Sony Ericsson India are the result of current Facebook advertising campaigns (see Famecount). And we can see from Louis Vuitton’s success in making it to #3, that a big event (their stunning fashion show last Monday at Paris Fashion Week) can have a fantastic impact on page activity.

*This list covers Facebook brand pages with over 500,000 fans, based on data from social analytics company Social Bakers. The calculation was made by dividing the total number “people talking about” a page by the number of page fans.

Social media case study: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Social media campaigns are absolutely everywhere now. Seldom that original, and often poorly executed, the space is becoming so turgid with a mix of good, bad, ugly and downright embarrassing examples of campaigns that it’s becoming harder to stand out from the crowd.

But as with everything, there are a few shining stars in the ether, and one of those in the social media space is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Granted, they are incredibly vocal and they are never not doing something, but there are 3 campaigns in particular that stand out for me from KLM that deserve some recognition.

KLM Surprise

First up is the KLM Surprise campaign. KLM wanted to reach out to KLM passengers in the real world to reward them for flying with KLM. They monitored check-ins on Foursquare at KLM locations and did some social media monitoring to find the people that mentioned KLM in their check-in. When they had a picture of who the person was, their activities, interests and personalities, they hunted them down, bought them a small gift,  and gave it to them as they waited for their flight.

This campaign really punched above its weight for a few reasons. The numbers paint the first picture: 1 million impressions on Twitter alone came from the few weeks of gifting. The shady area of impression analysis aside, that’s a pretty major number and one to shout about (which they do indeed do). The other side, and the real gem here, is their insight in taking the offline conversation back into the real world, albeit briefly, and managing to turn an average day in a few customers lives into a pretty awesome day that they felt the need to share. Brands these days are so hung up on the digital conversation that they often forget the power of the offline element too.

Tile & Inspire

The Tile & Inspire campaign is another great example of KLM both engaging their fans but also re-affirming their Dutch brand identity in one fell swoop. Using a Facebook app, fans could upload a photo of themselves that would be made up in the style of a delft tile and entered with a chance of being painted onto a real Boeing 777-200.

In doing this, KLM sent out a very clear message to their fans: we’re serious about you. We want to have our customers woven into the fabric of our brand, and we’re excited about a future where our customers shape how the world perceives us. It’s an important lesson – if a brand is not sincere in their involvement of their customers then they won’t reap the rewards that they are after.

Live Tweet

The Live Tweet campaign took a bunch of KLM employees (140 to be precise) and used them as a ‘live’ tweeting medium for a single day. Each person had a character, and they were used to spell out tweets as replies to the tweets that KLM were receiving.

Yes there will be those that are screaming that they are just re-hashing the work of W+K on the Old Spice campaign, and yes there is some cross over, but it was executed pretty well. The purpose of this campaign was to highlight their social media services – to let people know that there are people on the other end of Facebook and Twitter 24/7 waiting to help out. It’s just another example of how KLM is telling their customers that they are invested in being as accessible and helpful as they can be, and social media is one of the best ways that this can happen.

You can pretty much sum up KLM’s ideas on how important their social media audience is with this advert; drawing a parallel between football fans and the passion inherent in supporting a team with an airline is an unusual association to create, but with the hyperbole aside, it’s one they seem to believe in none the less.

Is the Facebook Brand Page now dead?

One thing was notably absent from last week’s F8 conference, any discussion of Facebook Pages and how these might change. To date these have looked very similar to individual’s profiles but with the launch of the new Timeline, these now have diverged dramatically. There’s no nice way of saying this - Facebook Pages now look old and behind the times compared with the new Timeline. As a social media agency working with brands, we’re actually disappointed. There is so much scope for creativity with Timelines we’d love Pages to be structured in the same way. And they’re not.

This now stands out as a real weakness within Facebook - Brand Pages should be a place that brands (if relevant to them) can express themselves in a creative way just as Profiles are for members.

A second important change in the role of the Brand Page is Open Graph and what this means for the next generation of Facebook apps. Apps, and especially how they work with the new Timeline, mean that there is significant value for Brands to develop ways to connect people through actions that they do. It is less about developing the definitive destination page for your brand or for a topic, now it is more about facilitating activities, conversations and events through an app. For Brands using Facebook creatively, they may now find that apps are more useful than Pages.

So the Brand Page is dead, right?

Well possibly. But probably not. I find it unlikely that Facebook will leave Pages exactly as they are. The creative power of the Timeline is too much for brands to be denied the chance to use it. Apps are useful, but brands that have spent time, effort and (often) money building their audiences on Facebook will want to continue to work with these people. It is true that the new generation of Facebook apps offer real change and new ways for people to interact with each other and for brands to use Facebook to engage their audience. But I predict new Pages for Brands within the next few months, new ways to engage your audience around content and discussions as well as around apps and activity.

Watch this space.