For the past decade, brands have been capitalizing on the pervasiveness of social media in consumers’ daily lives and shopping habits. And this past year was no different.
Social media analytics company Unmetric found that brands that promoted messaging with edge, savvy, conviction—and occasionally dogs—won the marketing game.
Of that messaging, video—particularly those with memorable storylines, guest appearances or creative approaches to addressing social issues—reined as the overall best-performing format for branded and original content, a consistent trend in their numbers since at least 2015.
Lux Narayan, CEO of Unmetric (now a Falcon.io/Cision company), observed that the majority of Facebook and Instagram’s top advertising posts this year were videos. However, the majority of brand posts on Twitter with the most engagement in 2019 were posts accompanied by images that involved controversy, humor and one-liners, riffing on trending topics or roasting celebrity personas and political figures.
To determine levels of engagement, Unmetric analyzes brand posts on a month-by-month basis across social platforms and scores them between zero and 1,000 based on variables such as the number of shares. For YouTube, there is no engagement score, but likes, views and comments are important. Unmetric’s own algorithms and human insights also figure into the ranking and paid, not organic, reach is measured.
Narayan pointed out that certain types of campaigns performed better than others in 2019, listing the most popular categories as social responsibility, satire, anything with animals, music industry partnerships and holidays and observances.
Here’s a breakdown by category of some of the social posts that Unmetric designated a perfect score of 1,000:
Gillette’s “The Best a Man Can Be” campaign featured a 90-second spot created by AOR Grey New York this past January. Director Kim Gehrig beckons viewers to redefine masculinity and reconsider the age-old “boys will be boys” excuse. This #MeToo era twist on Gillette’s 30-year-old “The Best a Man Can Get” garnered thousands of retweets and YouTube views, making it one of the most engaging brand posts at the start of 2019.
Another top performer in this category was similar to the Gillette ad. Nike’s “Dream Crazier” spot, also directed by Gehrig, was also created to celebrate a 30-year-old slogan (“Just do it”) while focusing on the subject of gender. Narrated by Serena Williams, the 90-second spot acknowledges the double-standard female athletes are subjected to whenever they show emotion and are labeled as “crazy” instead of ambitious or passionate. Per Unmetric’s research, the ad was one of the most engaging brand posts on Instagram in February.
During the government shutdown in January, Burger King trolled President Trump’s hamburger typo. That quick wit earned Burger King loads of retweets and a high engagement score from Unmetric.
In July, Chipotle’s response to the Area 51 raid with a supposed 2 million attendees was one of the most engaging brand posts of the summer on Twitter.
In September, Chipotle delivered on their promise to deliver burritos to Nevada—kind of. Via a Snapchat filter, they brought a dancing extraterrestrial creature to deliver augmented reality burritos to users of the photo messaging app.
Anything with animals
Whether it was giving shelter dogs a chance at a life with a loving family a la Subaru, Tesla’s introduction of “Dog Mode” or smartdogs via Geico specifically trained to save you from a potential crash caused by distracted driving, dogs ruled in this year’s branded posts.
Music industry partnerships
South Korean boy band BTS has been methodically taking over the world since they formed in Seoul in 2013, appearing in a multitude of commercials and collaborations with other artists. In October and November, BTS’ appearance in two branded posts—one for FILA and another for Hyundai—skyrocketed engagement numbers.
Holidays and other observances
Despite buckets of fried chicken, Sexy Colonel Sanders has abs of steel and an abundance of energy for exotic dancing, and he broke Facebook in April with his “Chickendales” choreography in anticipation of Mother’s Day.