Australian Retailers – How Can You Stand Out From The Pack On Social?

Australian Retailers – How Can You Stand Out From The Pack On Social?

At Zavy, we track the movings and shakings of brands across a range of industries on our social scoreboards. We want to see brands use social media as a space for real brand building and connecting with people – after all, that’s what it was created for.

In their ground-breaking advertising report, The Long and Short of It, Peter Field and Les Binet analysed two years’ worth of Australian advertising campaigns, and found that a 60/40 split between brand building activity and performance marketing was the sweet spot for growing a healthy brand.

And research shows healthy brands have a higher chance of withstanding ups and downs, aquire customers more cost-effectively, and are able to get more value from them. They can stand behind their pricing strategy, rather than relying on sales to bring forward purchases.

But it’s been our experience that even though marketers know this ratio to be the secret sauce behind brand building, only a few are able to actually deliver a strategy that hits it. There’s lots of reasons why. There’s safety in numbers. It’s scary to stand out. People want what other people have, and that’s true of marketers as much as anyone else.

At Zavy we see the results in real-time. The brands we track with social media strategies that reflect the 60:40 ratio tend to have high Zavy scores, positive sentiment, and great engagement. They rise above the pack. We also see that brands within the same category can tend to cluster together – there’s safety in numbers.

This is particularly true for Australian retailers.

When we look at Zavy’s top 20 Australian Retailers dashboard for the last year, we see a collection of bubbles. Each bubble represents a social media post on Facebook. Each colour represents a major retailer. The size of the bubble shows the amount of likes, its position represents positive sentiment (the further to the right, the more positive it is), and the bubble’s height shows the level of engagement (the higher, the more engaged it is).

All posts, with the exception of a few outliers, are clustered smack in the middle. In practical terms, this means that people are broadly engaging with these retailers in a similar way. There’s no particular favourite, or clear leader.

Digging deeper, we looked at the kind of content these brands are sharing on Facebook. Zavy’s algorithm classifies social posts into five different categories of content:

  • Brand narrative: Posts that reflect your organisation’s personality, without fitting into any of the other categories.
  • Competition: Posts that require engagement, such as liking, commenting, tagging and/or sharing the post, to go into the draw to win a prize.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility/Sponsorship: If your business directly sponsors an event, group of people and/or individuals, it falls into this category. CSR posts include educational or awareness posts around social issues that may affect the wider community.
  • Cultural: Posts that reference a cultural moment (for example, Mother’s Day and Diwali), or that tap into a cultural trend.
  • Product: Promotional posts advertising your products and services.

How did this map out for Australia’s top 20 retailers? 

Out of 575 posts, well over half (320, or 55 per cent) were about specific products. A further 11 per cent were competitions. So that’s about 76 per cent of posts focused on performance marketing, and 24 per cent on brand, cultural moments, and CSR activity. The ratio is out of balance – healthy brands can’t be built with short term, conversion-based marketing alone.

Obviously, retailers have a clear objective to sell stuff. It makes sense that they would post about products and run competitions to spark interest in them on social media. But there’s a clear opportunity for retailers to try something different. In a space where almost everyone is doing the same sort of thing, a content strategy that focused on brand building could be a competitive advantage. It’s a long game, sure, but one that reaps big rewards. That’s why Zavy’s tools are so helpful – they allow you to zoom out and gain perspective on your category or competitive set.

Key questions for retail marketers:

Reflect on the social media content your brand has shared over the past month or two:

  • Which of the five categories do they fit into?
  • How strong is the connection between your brand codes and messages with what you posted on social media?
  • Where do you see most comments and shares (outside of competitions)
  • How does your social media presence reflect your brand’s personality?

The answers might help you assess where you’re at on the 60/40 ratio. Social media can bolster your brand health and build connections with potential customers – and to stick with you, they’ll need a compelling reason to engage.

If you’d like to see these insights for your brand, visit our Australian Scoreboard page – you can request your custom scoreboard there:



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