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Social platforms: the secret to gaining market share

Jamie Kenny
Jamie Kenny
Global SVP Creative
7 min read
14 December 2022

Predictions of the world edging towards a growth slowdown, or even the next global recession, have put pressure on businesses to save costs and create new revenue streams. And while clamping down on marketing spending may naturally feel like the right thing to do in times of uncertainty, we’ve learned that hitting pause in times of crisis isn’t a wise move.
Pulling back in times of crisis comes with a steep price to pay. Brands that went dark for six months during the COVID-19 outbreak are now facing a 39% reduction in brand awareness and a delayed recovery in the post-pandemic world. 

This was the case for Coca-Cola, which saw an 11% reduction in net revenues in 2020, giving PepsiCo the significant upper hand with a 5% net revenue growth. Similarly, during the 1991 recession, McDonald’s dropped its advertising budget which Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of to grow sales by 61% and 40% respectively, while McDonald’s sales declined 28%.
History has a way of repeating itself, and brands that amp up marketing in coming months create the opportunity to grow market share as rivals succumb to the changing market. 

So as you’re auditing your advertising strategy, DEPT® recommends reviewing your use of social platforms. Assess the role social media currently plays into your overall marketing mix and whether above the line (ATL) investment would yield better results if diverted into digital channels. The ability to target audiences, measure results in real-time and pivot to optimise performance is an attractive proposition for businesses looking to make the most out of their marketing budget during the next economic turn. 

With a whopping 80% of UK and US consumers increasing their social media usage over the past three years, a social-first marketing strategy provides boundless opportunities for brands to meet audiences where they are and develop brand-engaged consumers.

Grow your customer base

Inflation has increased consumer pessimism and caused people to switch up their spending habits. According to McKinsey, four out of five consumers have changed their shopping behaviour in the third quarter of 2022 and among the 20% that haven’t, almost half plan to make changes by the end of the year. 

The quest for something new is predominantly led by Gen Z and millennials; nearly 90% of these shoppers say they’ve tried something new in the last three months. 

This tells us that younger people are actively looking for alternatives and now is the time for brands to be proactive and grab them, so what’s the best way to attract and hook these digital native shoppers? Reaching them where they are might sound obvious, but social media moves fast and brands must be quick to embrace change. 

With ASOS’s younger audience migrating to TikTok, DEPT® helped the team establish its brand presence on this platform in an authentic and platform-native fashion. 

Following the success of our ‘AySauce’ campaign, we mapped key business moments and turned them into content nuggets that helped build its community of one million TikTokers. From the eight campaigns delivered across six markets, ASOS gained more than 22 million impressions per TopView and an average CTR of more than 15%. 

Being an early adopter of TikTok enabled ASOS to capitalise on the platform’s unprecedented growth. And considering Gen Z makes the most transactions annually and 40% of them say they’re directly influenced by the products they see on TikTok, this strategy is not only designed to grab their attention but also influence their purchasing decisions. 

Understanding purchasing behaviours of millennials and Gen Z is essential for brand longevity, as together these demographics will make up 72% of the world’s workforce by 2029, a step up towards shaping the world of commerce for years to come.

Lean into platform innovation

When you look at consumers’ motivations for switching from their normal way of spending, price is at the top of the list. But consumers are also more experience driven than ever, and want to connect with brands in new ways. 
Economic downturns, when consumers are generally spending less, are the ideal time to prioritise long-term brand building and social platforms provide the scale and flexibility to create the fun and memorable moments that drive brand loyalty. 

But standing out in a crowded space requires an innovative mindset in order to cut through the noise and win (or win back) consumers. 

DEPT® has top-tier relationships across the entire social and commerce spectrum, and a number of them are also our clients. This relationship powers our team with insights and early access to Alphas and Betas, and gives us a gateway to experiment for brands before the mass market can; enabling us to plan creative content that keeps them ahead of the curve.
Embedding platform innovation into branded content is a tactic we use to reel new audiences in and create shareable moments. For example, we utilised Snapchat’s AR lens function to help Just Eat Takeaway convert its high level of awareness into app downloads. 

AR lenses have now become a core part of Just Eat’s social strategy, from helping its audience decide what to order to tapping into events, like the Euros, throughout the year. As a result, incremental app instals amongst 18-24 year old users increased by 2%, and 1% amongst those aged 25-34.

Cut-through creative

Getting on the same wavelength as the community you’re targeting is a critical factor in whether a social campaign goes viral or misses the mark. It’s important to research your demographic, understand what makes them tick, and how to best tap into talent, artists, creators and influencers.

Brands that stand out for having an active and authentic social presence have developed a solid strategy that links business objectives with relevant content pillars. Planning ahead, while still remaining flexible to change, empowers brands to select the right medium, format, tone and timing to excel within niche and mainstream communities. Being efficient with creating campaigns assets at scale will supercharge a brand’s output.  

DEPT® developed and executed a social strategy rooted in culture to solidify a leading music brand’s position. Our efficient producing process allowed us to quickly activate content, without sacrificing production quality, across channels, lengths and types. 

A major advantage of leveraging social platforms is the performance transparency built within. Regular feedback loops enable brands to continuously optimise their content strategy to lean into trends and changing behaviours. When working with the music brand, our team also became its eyes and ears on social media, helping the brand be reactive to trends and culture, and creating quick turn content around zeitgeist moments. All and all, we produced hundreds of pieces of original content per month for the brand’s organic and paid social channels. 

Having access to all platform reporting APIs allows us to create dashboards for our clients to view their data in real time. By measuring brand metrics and engagement metrics, through tracking and uplift studies, it’s easy for business stakeholders to evaluate their use of social platforms against primary KPIs.

Scale up your social strategy

Downward market conditions doesn’t have to mean a bleak outlook for business. Brands that take advantage of this time to innovate and grow their presence on social platforms are making genuine connections and are on the pathway to long-term growth. If you’re looking for support to grow your brand on social platforms, contact us to discuss your goals with one of our experts.


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