The Five Best Social Campaigns of the Year

To celebrate the end of a most momentous year in social media, we’ve gone back and selected five of the year's most significant examples of groundbreaking social marketing campaigns.

The Five Best Social Campaigns of the Year

In 2015, we found the data that shows how awesome these social media marketing campaigns were by using Socialbakers Analytics.

Marvel’s Avengers: Changing social marketing forever

In March, anticipation was building for Marvel’s follow-up to their 2012 hit, The Avengers.

Marvel knew that Fans will watch spinoffs, sequels, copycats, etc. – but that they savor real content, significant to the meat of the matter, no matter how bite-sized it may be. By making film footage releases into controlled events, they commodified small portions of their film without reducing its worth. These ‘countdowns to content’ become the smartest way to give the Fans a taste while retaining the ability to keep releasing content from a small amount of source material.

This all came together in a big way with Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer releases. On Twitter, they told Followers that as soon as a certain critical mass of people tweeted #AvengersAssemble, the trailer would unlock. Of course, the “Marvelites” answered the call.

Marvel received more than 12,000 Interactions in 5 hours, and set the stage for numerous imitators, including other great campaigns from 2015 that ranged from designer fashion collection releases to video game marketing.

Tesco: Learning from BuzzFeed’s Tasty

Media organizations have become the ultimate testing ground for content today. Socialbakers studies of the Facebook Timeline have repeatedly found that Media Pages get the best organic engagement, making them ripe sources of inspiration for brands. And, more than any other media Page, BuzzFeed has often been at the forefront of major changes to content marketing.

BuzzFeed has now been pioneering content forms and distribution for nearly a decade, and brands seem to be picking up on trends faster than ever. Take their newest smash success, Tasty. By pivoting to capitalize on the success of native Facebook videos, BuzzFeed has found a consistent form of unbelievable engagement. In just over four months since the Page’s creation, it has gained 15.2 million Fans.

Those Fans also engage at incredible rates – for videos, Tasty sees about 325 Interactions per 1000 Fans.

That huge gap between Photo and Video engagement has driven Tasty’s strategy, and now it has influenced food retailers like Tesco as well. Their Tasty-style, sped-up cooking instructionals have become their most-consistently shared content.

However, some imitation videos won’t make the cut. Tesco’s works because it hews to the same creative rules that make Tasty videos so successful and reliable.

Adidas: Going all in

In addition to signing some of the world’s premier athletes, Adidas perfectly executed cross-platform strategies multiple times in 2015. Having some of the best spokespeople on your roster still doesn’t equal smash hit content – you need to be able to create excellent, engaging, shareable videos, and then promote them successfully on each network, and post them in a way that encourages cross-platform distribution.

That means benchmarking for “engagement minimums” on Facebook, below which you slow or stop promoting your posts, keeping content to the right lengths, and creating shorter versions appropriate for Facebook and Instagram.

Adidas had 4 of the year’s top 10 YouTube videos, which is a huge success in itself – but the larger win was how they migrated those posts to every network where they have a presence and multiplied their ad efficacy.

Last Week Tonight: Becoming the news you want to see online

As with most comedic news shows, the most popular Facebook posts on John Oliver’s excellent Last Week Tonight are often entire segments from episodes. Think of it as a slider plate for those who can’t handle the monotony of a single hamburger – rather than have to watch a whole episode, Fans can share the payoff alone. On top of the obvious benefit of attracting new Fans, uploading these Facebook-native clips also makes it easier to get “embedded airtime” in news channels. Essentially, it turned John Oliver’s coverage of the news into the news – very Network.

And again, though this seems to rely on a singular talent and position, it’s really not quite that way. Just like McDonald’s made their brand refresh into news fodder beyond the normal industry publications, other brands and media outlets can replicate this model in several ways.

Build an “anticipation” campaign

Last Week Tonight and shows like it publish content with single quotes and images from the show, in addition to original content inspired by each episode, in order to build anticipation for the longer clips… which of course eventually raise viewership for the show itself.

Bonus tip: Getting onto the Trending section on Facebook is an extremely solid goal. Think of how your content would sound when packaged, as news, into that little Trending box (about 50–80 characters).

Be topical

That means NOT posting a graphic about how your brand is ready for beach season, too. Instead, take an honest stance on one or several of the day’s issues that matter most to your brand, and then stand tall about it. Don’t do things like this half-heartedly – think of Oreo’s “rainbow-stuffed cookie” and the resolve they had to show in the face of inevitable backlash.

Use video

News sites often dedicate whole articles to a video with a brief write-up. By cross-publishing videos on both Facebook native and YouTube, you make it easier for them to make a story about your campaign.

Apple Watch: Does More. Costs Less. It’s That Simple.

15-second videos, that is. You thought I meant an old-school Macintosh computer?

In a series of six beautiful short videos released to YouTube on October 6th, Apple reached the pinnacle of decades of brand building. In 90 seconds of play time, everything Apple is present, condensed, and evolved so synergistically it would make a literature professor cry for joy.

But let’s not get overwrought. Watch one (and then them all) yourself.

As the product has gotten smaller, packing what once took up lots of space into a wristwatch, Apple’s famed sense of design has also been, again, condensed, but not minimized. In each case, the user discovers just one of the Apple Watch’s features, and how frictionlessly it serves their moment. So how have people responded so far?

Good, but not great. In reality, these ads function better as a perfect encapsulation of coalesced product and marketing design, but not as primers in using advertising to sell a product. Purely for inspiring excellent content, though, they are as strong a model as any you’ll find to remind you to match product to method – show it how you sell it, and how you want it to be seen.

These five ad campaigns took advantage of social media marketing in a year where the rules changed completely. By benchmarking your data and competitively monitoring your brand’s KPIs, you can stay ahead of the changes still to come.

Social Media Analyst

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