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Top 10 mobile social initiatives of Q1

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Sephora's new app feature

Brands and retailers including Procter & Gamble, Sephora and Trader Joe’s leveraged mobile and social in unique ways during the first quarter of 2014 for brand-building and driving commerce.

Mobile photo-sharing and video have dominated this year as tactics that marketers are building into social media campaigns. Additionally, many of the noteworthy campaigns this year move away from Facebook and Twitter towards newer platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.

These are the top ten mobile, social campaigns from the first quarter of this year, in alphabetical order. The campaigns were chosen based on creative, tactic and execution. Results for the marketing efforts were not given.

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GrubHub unleashes Snapchat's engagement potential via scavenger hunt
A number of brands have been experimenting with Snapchat’s marketing potential recently. While most are focusing on the platform for branding and engagement, GrubHub chose to go the commerce route by doling out free food with a daily challenge.

Earlier this month, GrubHub ran a week-long campaign asking consumers to participate in time-sensitive tasks for a chance to win $50 worth of food.


Grubhub's Snapchat campaign

One challenge asked consumers to take a screenshot of an image the brand sent and then share it on social media and tag it with a hashtag.

Although the marketing opportunities on Snapchat are still relatively nascent, Grubhub’s campaign indicates that more brands are looking for platforms outside of Facebook and Twitter to connect with mobile users.

Lays bets on Instagram, Twitter to expand year-long campaign
PepsiCo.’s Lays took the second year of its crowdsourcing campaign to a new level in January with new Instagram and Twitter components.

The “Do Us A Flavor” campaign asks Americans to submit their own bizarre or tasty ideas for a new chip flavor via a mobile microsite, SMS or by tagging an Instagram or Twitter post with a hashtag.


Lay's microsite featuring a flavor submission

Similar to last year, the winning ideas will be fully developed into products and consumers will vote for their favorite flavor this summer. The top chip flavor will then go on sale, and the submitter will win either $1 million or one percent of sales from a one-year period, depending on which is worth more.

Lay’s campaign highlights how more marketers are leveraging mobile, user-generated content to fuel crowdsourcing efforts, particularly from social media.

Michelob Ultra drives YouTube views through augmented reality, takeover ads
Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob Ultra’s “New Year’s Evolution” campaign took advantage of the fact that video watching is moving primarily towards smartphones and tablets with an effort to get the word out about branded YouTube content.

The brand bought a takeover ad within the Weather Channel’s iPhone app and loaded a piece of marketing collateral with augmented reality that both linked backed to Michelob Ultra’s YouTube page.


The augmented reality content

The brewer created about 30, 15-second videos for YouTube that encourages consumers to try something new this year, such as trying a new food at a restaurant.

Michelob Ultra’s campaign is noteworthy from the first-quarter of 2014 because it highlights the investments that alcohol marketers are putting into multichannel campaigns.

Mondelēz strengthens ties to mobile users with social, sampling startups
After launching its Mobile Futures program last year that teamed up Mondelēz brands with start-ups, the CPG brand unveiled the first two projects to come out of the initiative earlier this month.

The first project is a mobile and social platform called Prankstr that syncs with a Facebook or Twitter account to post pranks and jokes on friends’ social media accounts. The platform also pulls reactions from the prank into a video.


Mondelēz's Betabox program

The second program is called Betabox, which targets specific groups of consumers to send product samples to. The samples are distributed across Mondelēz’s ecommerce partners, and the experience includes a consumer-facing mobile component.

Mondelēz’s Mobile Futures program made waves in the marketing world last year with the decision to dedicate 10 percent of 2013 marketing spend towards mobile. Now in its second year, a couple of the more location-based campaigns are showing potential to be rolled out nationally (see story). 

Those insights clearly play a role with the launch of Prankstr and Betabox. For Betabox specifically, the program helps brand marketers better segment and target consumers who are increasingly engaging with content and shopping from smartphones and tablets.

Oscars’ Twitter strategy makes fans part of red carpet experience
A campaign from The Academy of Motion Pictures earlier this year shows the growth in photo-based initiatives in the past year.

The Academy asked consumers to post selfies of themselves decked out in red carpet-ready looks before the Oscars for a chance to be featured on digital signage on the red carpet that celebrities posed in front of. The content was also pulled into ABC’s pre-show telecast.


The Academy's Twitter page

The growth in consumers taking and posting photos of themselves on social media has pushed brands including Coca-Cola, KFC and Ted Baker to capitalize on the hefty amount of content that is being created on mobile.

In this case, the Oscars campaign is interesting because it incorporated content directly into a televised event where consumers are most likely watching with multiple devices.

P&G’s Braun churns out sweepstakes from Olympics-themed photo-sharing
Procter & Gamble’s Braun wanted to take its sponsorship of track speed skater J.R. Celski during the 2014 Sochi Olympics digital with a mobile and social campaign.

The brand partnered with the mobile photo-sharing app Snaps. Pictures of the athlete and branded graphics were added to uploaded photos that could then be shared on social media.

In addition to the sports-themed graphics, branded images could also be overlaid on top of images. 


Braun's campaign

P&G is consistently a big sponsor of the Olympics game, but with consumers in the U.S. watching the televised games from afar, P&G leveraged mobile and digital to better connect with fans.

The shaving brand’s campaign is also unique in that it uses a third-party app versus a branded one.

Sephora builds Instagram-like commerce feature to retain loyalty members
Sephora launched a social shopping feature to its iPhone app in March to better engage with beauty connoisseurs who are plugged into their mobile devices and looking for inspiration, tips and product recommendations.

Sephora’s new Beauty Board initiative integrates with the retailer’s loyalty program and pulls beauty looks into a shoppable newsfeed. Consumers can favorite, add products to a shopping cart and checkout straight from the app.


Sephora's mobile app

Beauty Board is a Web and mobile experience, but the emphasis is clearly on mobile with features such as search and sorting. Sephora’s campaign builds on a similar cross-screen launched last year called My Beauty Bag that saves a loyalty member’s preferences and shopping behavior across all shopping touch points.

As opposed to leveraging Instagram or another mobile-based photo platform, it is interesting that Sephora chose to build out its own social experiences within an app that the brand can control and indicates a possible bigger trend towards retail-created social networks.

Trader Joe's bets on Facebook to rev up mobile strategy
Unlike a lot of the grocery chains heavily playing up coupons and offers with mobile, Trader Joe’s took a unique approach to shopping with a Facebook-based app in January.

The app is one of the brand’s first big forays into mobile and is built around helping consumers discover more than 3,000 products as part of the brand’s mission around consistently-low prices.


The log-in page within Trader Joe's app

Each product can be shared, favorited and commented on, and the app also integrates local store information and recipes. As a way to drive in-store traffic, the Trader Joe’s app includes a click-to-call feature so that consumers can check in-store availability of products.

As grocery chains and CPG brands continue to build up their mobile initiatives, the majority of marketers in this vertical play up time-sensitive and aggressive offers. However, Trader Joe’s app highlights the other opportunities that marketers have with using app as part of bigger digital loyalty programs.

Virgin America elevates mobile strategy with in-flight social strategy
Virgin America teamed up with the Here on Biz mobile app in February to better connect business travelers.

A number of airlines have significantly ramped up their in-flight mobile efforts in the past year thanks to a statement late last year from The Federal Aviation Administration letting travelers use their mobile devices below 10,000 feet in the air.


Virgin America's app

Virgin America’s social platform lets professionals network while traveling and pulls together a user’s LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts. It is powered by the Gogo In-flight Wi-Fi network and geo-location.

As airlines look for additional ways to incorporate mobile beyond booking into in-flight experiences, these types of initiatives give marketers a better understanding on how to push marketing opportunities through Wi-Fi and other technology loaded onto planes.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Social networks, mobile, mobile marketing, top 10, Q1 2014

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