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#DCS2016: Asda feels the Force of digital content with sales boost

Asda has felt the Force of digital marketing with improved sales results from campaigns including a tie-in with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Speaking at The Digital Content Summit 2016, Asda’s senior director of digital marketing, media and CRM Chris Chalmers explained the supermarket’s digital strategy.

“It’s a bit cliched but we see content as our king and context as our queen,” he said.

Context can involve external factors like weather, as well as behavioural, situational and social factors that affect how customers find and use content.

When it delivers content, Asda seeks amplification, engagement and positive sentiment – and at the end of the day, as a business, commercial benefits.

With ad blockers shielding many users from banner adverts, other forms of content have become increasingly important to marketers, Chalmers explained.

“It’s all about the immersive content you produce, and video is our route to that,” he said.

Good hashtags are crucial on Twitter, he said, whether they’re a company’s own – like Asda’s #becauseitschristmas campaign – or they’re “newsjacking” other trending topics.

Over the course of 2015, Asda moved from putting one kind of content out across all channels to providing vastly different offerings on desktop and mobile.

It also experimented with other platforms, including music-finding app Shazam, live streaming service Periscope and native content.

When Halloween came, it worked with YouTube on a 360-degree video format.

“Working with a creative agency we were able to create this immersive experience, brought to life with Google Cardboard,” Chalmers explained.

It could then bring it into stores and let customer explore a virtual haunted house, which led to an increase in sales of Asda’s Halloween range.

This experience helped its #becauseitschristmas campaign, which utilised a range of different videos suited to various channels and received more than 10 million views.

“Pets do really well on Facebook, so with an iconic track and a story to tell it worked really well,” Chalmers said.

It also produced a video tie-in with Star Wars: The Force Awakens to advertise its range of toys, which received more than eight million views.

“We were absolutely thrilled with that digital content designed to create a buzz around our offer,” Chalmers said.

It was so successful online that it was edited down and aired on television. Overall, there was a 102 per cent increase in Star Wars merchandise sales.

“Again, we were reassured that digital content can have some merit in driving people to a physical store, as well as websites,” Chalmers said.


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