31 Best Digital Marketing Campaigns You Can Swipe
This post was updated August 2020.
Digital marketing campaigns are one of the most successful ways to reach potential customers at scale – but producing a campaign is costly and time-consuming, and there’s no guarantee that it will net you a positive ROI.
The best way to improve or learn how to reach, connect with and convert potential customers is by looking at those brands that are already successful and analyze what they’re doing.
We put together this list of 31 of the most dynamic digital marketing campaigns that increased company ROI and added value to their customers – and we explain why they work.
What Is a Marketing Campaign?
A digital marketing campaign is an online strategy with the goal of promoting a business’ product or service by increasing engagement, traffic and conversions.
A marketing campaign is any effort to connect your brand with potential prospects. That could be a billboard informing drivers about a hotel nearby or it could be a YouTube channel with an influencer discussing a product that’s relevant to the audience.
Some marketing campaigns are more focused on conversions (such as a blog post about “best video editing tools”) whereas others are more focused on driving brand awareness (such as a TV commercial).
So that leads us to the next question….
What Is an Effective Digital Marketing Campaign?
We’ll dive into the 31 marketing campaign examples below to show you that each one has a unique structure and purpose.
But in a more general way, what should a digital marketing campaign include?
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re launching your own marketing campaign.
Establish Your Goal
Creating a goal to generate conversions, a blog post, an e-book or a video that focuses on an advanced pain point is an excellent solution.
For example, if your product is an alternative to SurferSEO, consider writing a post like “SurferSEO Alternative,” since people searching for this term are already aware of the problem and solution. They are literally ready to buy your solution.
On the other hand, if your goal is to generate more brand awareness, you might want to go on a podcast tour or start your own YouTube channel.
Once you’ve established your goal and selected a format that aligns with those goals, execute swiftly.
One mistake that a lot of marketers make is spending too much time making it perfect rather than just getting something out. This slows down production significantly and will sacrifice growth.
For instance, if you’re making a video and don’t have any professional equipment, do your first few videos on an iPhone and then upgrade to better equipment when you know that it works.
Ideally, the majority of your marketing campaigns shouldn’t take more than a week to execute.
Track Your Campaign
After executing your campaign, measure your results and look at what worked best.
Some campaigns, like blogging and SEO, are slow at the start, so you’ll have to be patient with them. However, paid ads, influencer marketing and other digital campaigns that provide quick results will give you an excellent idea of the campaigns that you should abandon and the campaigns that you should double down on (tweak and improve).
If you need help executing your marketing campaign, you can always hire a reputable and experienced digital marketing agency.
And now, without further ado, let’s move on to the good stuff!
31 Best Digital Marketing Campaigns You Can Swipe
1) Single Grain
As a successful digital marketing company, Single Grain knows how important it is to set the SEO and brand-building foundation with amazing content marketing. That’s why we make an omnichannel content strategy a huge priority.
Every customer has their platform of choice, whether it’s getting their content from Twitter, Instagram influencers, Facebook groups, Quora, blogs, email newsletter roundups, podcasts… the list goes on.
Single Grain is all about omnipresence:
- We have a well-known blog that educates the reader and attracts some high-profile guest writers like Backlinko’s Brian Dean
- Eric Siu, our fearless leader, has a daily bite-size marketing podcast (co-hosted with Neil Patel) called Marketing School
- He also has a weekly Leveling Up podcast and a YouTube channel. On the Leveling Up podcast, he interviews world-class entrepreneurs and on the YouTube channel, he gives tactical tips and strategies for fellow marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners:
In addition, a lot of our content is repurposed. For example, we posted a video called 7 Fresh SEO Hacks that You Need to Try and then repurposed the audio and posted it to our podcast:
Some pieces will also be repurposed to our blog where we publish about three times per week. Each blog article is about 2,000 words or more and we include actionable information that people can immediately implement in their own marketing strategy.
In addition, we also do Facebook Lives, webinars, Fireside Chats, content collabs with companies like Intercom, ImpactBND, interviews, speaker events….
When it comes to your content, you can often get a better ROI by updating existing assets, like blog posts, as opposed to creating entirely new posts.
Dive Deeper: What Is Content Decay and How It Affects Your SEO
Your potential customers are hanging out online, but they’re not all on the same platform and don’t all respond to the same media. Create a multi-channel, multi-media strategy. The best part is that you don’t have to come up with separate topics for each channel. Take the topics that performed well on one channel and repurpose them into a piece of content for another segment of your audience.
Eric has discussed the importance of product-led growth multiple times and Audible’s latest marketing strategy shows that they have caught on to this trend.
Similar to Netflix, they are paying creators to release Audible originals, which means that this content cannot be found on any other streaming services and is unique to them:
A key point here is that Audible looked as what was working in parallel industries (the video streaming industry) to gain inspiration. They started collaborating with influencers and well-known actors to either read…
…or create their own original titles:
Product-led growth is the future of marketing as brands become increasingly customer centric. Therefore, if you are a media company, how can you create original content? Or if you’re a software company, can you create free features? In addition, pay attention to parallel industries and look at what those leading brands are doing to get ahead.
3) Mr. Beast
Mr. Beast is an American YouTuber who has amassed a startling following of roughly 66 million subscribers.
He is known for doing extreme challenges, such as being buried alive for 50 hours, as well as giving away a million dollars, and giving away houses to pizza delivery men.
While these shocking campaigns may seem rather strange and outrageous, they have earned him a remarkable following and he now has a massive brand as an influencer.
Eric did an interview with Mr. Beast’s manager:
Reed Dushscher mentions that many of these campaigns aren’t immediately profitable, but they still invest in the brand awareness because he understands just how valuable the attention is.
In addition, he has always reinvested everything back into the business. For example, Reed talked about a sponsorship deal they did that earned them $40,000. So for the next video, they did a $40,000 giveaway.
Even if you don’t make an immediate ROI from your marketing campaigns, brand awareness is very powerful. So think about what you can do that no other brand has done and invest in creating content that is both entertaining to watch and attention-grabbing within your industry. While many of Mr. Beast’s experiments required financial investments, a number of them are purely creative. For example, being buried for 50 hours does not require millions of dollars to produce. So even if you don’t have a budget, you can still be creative.
Dive Deeper: 22 Brands with the Best Content Marketing Campaigns
4) Mobile Monkey
MobileMonkey, a Facebook messenger chatbot for businesses, certainly practices what they preach. With rising acquisition costs, they used their own chatbot to decrease customer acquisition costs and increase reach.
At the time, MobileMonkey was paying anywhere from $150-250 per lead. The problem is that you usually pay for a click, but if it doesn’t convert on your website, you’ll (likely) lose it forever.
About 98% of people will leave your website without buying, and about 75% of those people will never come back.
So it’s quite likely that even if you get the clicks, you won’t generate any sales without remarketing.
When MobileMonkey switched to optimizing for messages, they were able to automatically collect a person’s information in the system so that they could then retarget them. Here’s what the exact ad looked like:
To retarget these people, they used Messenger drip campaigns. This reduced their cost per lead acquisition by 97% which also allowed them to reach a wider audience with the product. I opted into the drip campaign myself:
The best part about this is that the chat templates help provide a much more personalized experience than if you just sent people to a general landing page.
If you’re looking to decrease your marketing costs, think about how you can lower the cost of your leads through untapped channels like Messenger. Focus on not just getting more people with your advertising, but getting more qualified leads in your contacts.
Dive Deeper: How Remarketing Can Help Increase Conversions
Lego’s product makes it easy for them to create awe-inspiring campaigns, and they certainly take advantage of it! After 30 years, they released their first global brand campaign with Rebuild the World:
Lego had already proven itself successful in advertising with The Lego Movie:
In this new campaign, they wanted to tackle issues that are bigger than the toy industry. Lego vice president and head of its in-house agency Remi Marcelli says, “We have proven ourselves in the toy industry and now it’s about more than toys.”
The campaign includes references to climate change and a scene with a transgender couple and the hope is that it will inspire our future generation to take a closer look at important social issues.
The video has amassed over 5 million views on YouTube and was successful because they took a potentially controversial stance on social issues. It helped shape their brand’s story and gave people something to remember.
As 89% of customers shop from brands that share their values and 79% of Americans feel a deeper personal connection with brands that share similar values, this is a great way to stand out. Parents who are trying to instill values in their kids will feel more comfortable buying products from a brand that shares what’s important to them.
Establishing yourself as a brand that cares about more than just its products is a great way to stand out from your competition. Think about how you can create a story and values that your target audience will remember. Avoid being a faceless brand that caters to “everybody.” Pick a stance and own it.
Lyft is a rideshare company that has grown so much over the past few years that it is on track to overtake Uber as the leader in the space.
The company’s rapid growth is likely due to the fact that most Americans are more than happy to pay for convenience. In fact, the average American spends about $4,000 on convenience per year and the leading share of it goes towards ridesharing:
Realizing this, the company saw that because people already love their service, Lyft just needed their current customers to spread the word.
Therefore, they implemented a referral program and the company grew almost entirely through word-of-mouth marketing – which is a very high-converting channel. In fact:
83% of people say that they are more likely to purchase a product or service if a friend or family recommends it.
Lyft offers incentives for riders to act as advocates for the business by providing referral codes for their friends in exchange for free or discounted rides:
Combining Lyft’s amazing and convenient product with a powerful referral system is making the startup grow like wildfire.
Start by offering a great service and then build a referral program that brings word-of-mouth business. It’s often more cost effective than buying ads and is much more fruitful since friends love to give each other recommendations. Begin by targeting one particular type of customer (in Lyft’s case it was tech entrepreneurs), and allow them to spread your message.
Dive Deeper: Analysis of 1 Million Backlinks: Lyft
7) State Farm
Last year, State Farm hired creative agency Marketing Arm to revamp its brand and now they’re known for producing some of the best marketing campaigns. Their new USP is infusing humor into a clear and consistent message. Not bad for a car insurance company!
In one of their most popular campaigns, “Drake from State Farm,” rapper Drake appears as Jake’s (State Farm’s spokesperson) stand-in, who doesn’t even realize he has a stand-in. Drake, of course, is not used to being out of the spotlight and tries to edge in on Jake’s lines. Actor Paul Rudd makes a cameo, too.
Humor, particularly from a traditionally “dry” company, is an excellent way to connect with your audience, as well-known public speaking organization, Toastmasters, recommends.
The important part to remember is to keep the story in line with your branding message. If you’re creating a humorous campaign, don’t let the humor overshadow your message.
Humor is known for producing better recall. Think back to college: Which do you remember, the first chapter of your math textbook or the first episode of your favorite TV show? Make your marketing easy for people to consume and don’t be afraid to be silly. State Farm has made something as tedious as insurance entertaining.
Dive Deeper: 10 Inspiring Examples of Promotional Campaign Videos for Startups
Dove produces some of the best marketing campaigns with their touching commercials that go against the grain by changing beauty standards. Dove understands that the solution they are selling (body wash and soap) is only part of the larger picture. Women don’t just want to look better; they want to feel better.
70% of women still feel that they aren’t represented in everyday media images.
They started their Real Beauty campaign with an ad of a forensic artist creating two blind sketches of several women – one from her description of herself (he couldn’t see her) and one from a description of her given by another person. The sketches of the women describing themselves were all much less flattering than when someone else described them:
Dove has continued with their very successful and very touching Real Beauty campaign in this ad, Reverse Selfie | Have #TheSelfieTalk, which illustrates the disturbing statistic that “by age 13, 80% of girls distort the way they look online”:
Since beginning this campaign, the company has nearly doubled its worth to a $4.5 billion valuation, proving the importance of joining a movement and listening to what your customers really want.
Understand the underlying pain of your customers. These women were buying a beauty and self-care product, but they didn’t just want soap; they wanted to feel more beautiful in their own skin. Dove did this in a big way. Consider the bigger solution that your company can provide. Your customers are probably just using your product as a tool to accomplish a larger goal.
Slack is a cloud-based instant messaging tool that is intended to be the center of workplace collaboration so that teams can communicate more efficiently, share files all in one place, integrate other tools (like Google Drive, Zapier or Salesforce) and use the video calling feature.
It’s had an incredible rise to fame from its 15,000 user launch in 2014 and now holds the title as the fastest-growing business app in history:
- Slack has over 12 million active users.
- In the fourth quarter (as of January 31 2020), Slack’s revenue rose to $181.9 million, a gain of 49% compared to the year-ago quarter, and up 37% from the previous year.
- It has an overall conversion rate of about 14.7%.
Rather than launching a big marketing campaign, Slack’s success was built on creating an amazing customer experience: It only takes three clicks to start using the product, and Slack will return any credits to you if you stop using it. In addition, their response time is about an hour even though they receive over 25,000 requests daily.
The product itself also solves a huge problem that teams were facing, like moving away from disorganized, endless email chains for more efficient communication, as illustrated in this hilarious (see #6 above) video:
They also have a “Slack Wall of Love” on which you can find the latest Tweets and re-Tweets from people who love this messaging tool:
From day one, Slack has been about selling a solution, not a product. They’ve focused on customer experience, believing that one positive experience does more than a big marketing budget could ever hope to accomplish. As their tagline says, they’re “on a mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.” So make it all about solving your customers’ pain points.
Airbnb has changed the way we travel and look for accommodations. Launched when its founders couldn’t afford their own rent, the site now boasts over 150 million users, 7 million listings, and a total valuation of $35 billion:
Their digital marketing strategy relies primarily on user-generated images and videos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (highlighting the cities and properties in its stable), how-to videos and posts geared towards owners, and popular city guides.
Their Instagram campaign matches humor with compelling images of different travel locations around the world, making it more than just a service – it’s also a travel forum.
They are known for their social media influencer collaborations. Mariah Carey was the first celebrity to use Airbnb back in 2015, and when the company’s marketing team saw that her post got 45K likes, they jumped on the opportunity to collaborate with her – the first of many influencer campaigns:
Airbnb went on to host Lady Gaga for her Super Bowl performance, as well as Drake, Martin Garrix, Wiz Khalifa and Stefanie Giesinger at their Coachella performances. Garrix’s post produced a 10% engagement rate:
Airbnb’s Instagram account currently boasts over 4.8 million users and continues to grow:
Create demand around your product or service by finding a topic related to your business that’s interesting. For example, Airbnb is ultimately a crowdsourced hotel business, so interesting content for them is related to travel sites around the world. Generate interest with content, and the dollars will follow. Also, consider how you can leverage influencers to do the marketing for you. They often come up with the very best marketing campaign ideas as they know their audience better than anyone.
Dive Deeper: Analysis of 1 Million Backlinks: Airbnb
Consulting.com is a coaching business for people who are getting their consultancy off the ground:
However, it isn’t just a lifestyle business for the founder, Sam Ovens. It’s actually a $30+ million dollar business that was grown off of Facebook ads.
To this day, their ads are wildly successful with engagement and conversion numbers that are through the roof. Just take a look at one of their recent ads which generated nearly 800 comments:
Not only is the engagement practically viral, but people love him! Look at what they have to say in the comments:
So why are they so successful?
First, Ovens runs ads that appeal both emotionally and logically and he tests a lot of different versions. For example, this ad is one of him appealing to people’s emotions by showing a picture of himself and his wife demonstrating a life of freedom that his courses can bring:
On the other hand, he also offers ads that appeal to a more logical reader. This is an example of one of his students talking about his own success through the program:
All his ads drive traffic to a webinar that has aspects of both the emotional and logical appeal:
Even so, the real genius of his Facebook ads is his copy. He’s an incredible storyteller and thoroughly understands the dreams, fears and desires of his audience.
He’s open and honest with his audience and while he certainly is successful, he makes himself appear approachable and always talks to students with the attitude of “I did it and so can you.”
If you’re driving people to a webinar or even just to pick up the phone, invest in amazing copywriting and learn to be a great storyteller. Also understand the nuances or retargeting- if you don’t capture the person with a logical post, capture them with a more emotional post.
Dive Deeper: How Consulting.com Founder Sam Ovens’ Course-Based Services Brought in $34 Million Last Year! (podcast)
It may seem obvious now, but the idea of combining social networking and online reviews helped Yelp founders gain traction when they first launched.
It wasn’t that review sites were unheard of at the time, but this company approached it a little differently with the social angle.
As most customers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations (81% of people between 18-34 trust online reviews as much as those from their friends and family), Yelp capitalized on this by allowing people to share their names, photos and experiences:
They put a lot of effort into building a true community by allowing people to make friends (sort of like Facebook) as well as building out profiles. This helps customers trust reviews more since they can see the full profile of the reviewer:
- 45% of customers are likely to check Yelp reviews before visiting a business
- 35% of people searching on Yelp will make a visit to the site they check within 24 hours
- Businesses can see up to a 9% increase in revenue for every new star earned on Yelp
Focus on building a trustworthy brand and a trustworthy community. Consider how other brands like Facebook grew: they built a community that people enjoyed and trusted. To provide the best recommendations for every kind of business, Yelp needed fantastic reviewers that other users could trust. When they focused their marketing efforts on creating that trust, they were able to blast ahead of other review sites.
Dive Deeper: The Kick-Ass Guide to Increase Customer Reviews for Your Online Store
Tide has long since been a star of many Super Bowl ads. One of their most successful campaigns was “Every Ad Is a Tide Ad” campaign, which trended on Twitter immediately for the hashtag #TideAd and was one of the big winners at the 2018 D&AD Awards.
After struggling to come up with good ideas about clothing stains, the creative team realized that all ads on television feature people in clean clothes. Thus was born their “every ads is a Tide ad” series that hijacked the Super Bowl. The ads were of a man pretending to sell various products, but as each actor features stain-free clothes, he concludes that every ad is actually selling Tide.
And Tide is still doing a great job with its stand-out ads. Here are a few from their “Stains Can Wait for Later” campaign from the 2020 Super Bowl:
The best way to refresh old campaigns may be to go in the opposite direction. Instead of talking about stains, they flipped it around to talk about cleanliness. Consider how you can flip some of your old campaigns to make them strong new campaigns.
Uniqlo is an innovative Japanese apparel company that has a valuation of over $12 billion and is the world’s third-largest retailer, after Zara and H&M.
Their growth and success is due largely to their original marketing approaches. By branding themselves as a tech company rather than a fashion company, Uniqlo proved itself to be a trend adopter from the beginning.
It’s no surprise that their 2019 marketing campaign, #UTPlayYourWorld, made Uniqlo one of the first brands to leverage TikTok:
This marketing campaign was a competition that leveraged user-generated content. Consumers had to make a video on TikTok of them wearing a UT t-shirt, playing the challenge’s theme song and using the #UTPlayYourWorld hashtag.
The company then selected winners from each country and region (for a total of five) and posted their videos on the monitors in Uniqlo stores around the world and on social media.
This is a great way to not only generate content for free, but it also helps build your social following.
Consider how you can use user-generated content and let your customers do the marketing for you. Since 83% of consumers either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family and friends, this is one of the most high-converting forms of advertising. This campaign is also more effective than a traditional “share to win” campaign, as your fans have to make the content themselves.
Close, a CRM for startups and SMBs, is a great example of producing solid content marketing campaigns year after year. The blog generates six figures in traffic value per month and over 40,000 visitors to the site monthly – not bad for a SaaS company’s blog!
So why is their strategy so solid?
For one, the founder, Steli Efti, invests in creating a lot of content himself. For example, he has his own podcast called The Startup Chat with Hiten Shah from which his team repurposes the expert content into blog posts:
In addition, Efti creates a lot of content for the blog itself. For example, when the Coronavirus hit, he made a video of himself talking with a team member about his remote onboarding process:
The episode was then turned into not just a transcript, but a full blog post with comprehensive bullet points, screenshots, GIFs and more:
They also reshare the videos that the founder posts to his personal social accounts:
Finally, the team itself is very capable of creating unique content. They put a lot of time and effort into creating content that isn’t currently available. For example, they often source original ideas from their own fans, like creating a piece about great and terrible Coronavirus emails:
Their guides and lead magnets are also well adjusted to the current state of things. For example, they recently launched a Remote Sales Survival Guide and the CTA is prominently displayed in the middle of the article:
Creating a solid content marketing strategy and sticking to it is the best way to see steady growth. Going omnichannel can give you a 250% lift in engagement, so repurpose your content as well. Finally, produce truly expert content and take the time to collect original data and research before you start writing. This is what really makes a brand’s content marketing stand out.
Dive Deeper: Omnichannel Marketing: Using the Content Sprout Method to Overcome Info Overload
16) Chris Do
A lot of brands struggle to gain traction on Instagram, thinking that it just isn’t a viable platform for sales. However, 62% of people actually become more interested in a product after seeing it on Instagram Stories.
Chris Do does a phenomenal job leveraging Instagram for B2B with a six-figure following and teaches other B2B marketers how to do the same:
For one, he doesn’t just create posts; he creates carousels. A carousel is basically a slide show of several images. Below is an example of a carousel called “The Perfect Sales Call,” where you swipe through the slides:
However, what really helped him grow was guest carousels. Similar to guest posts, if you create a guest carousel, you can pitch it to influencers to post it to their Instagram accounts.
Eric Siu recently did a guest carousel for Chris Do and it helped Eric gain 600 followers just from that one carousel!
Instagram is largely untapped for most B2B companies because they feel that they can’t compete with most of the entertainment content on Instagram. However, because most companies think this way, it’s actually a great opportunity.
Dive Deeper: 9 Tips for Creating Instagram Video Ads that Actually Generate Sales
Tesla’s success is one of the strongest digital marketing campaign examples with an impressive social media presence. Despite being significantly younger in the market than competitors like BMW, Audi and Chevrolet, Tesla is wildly popular with 5.1 million followers on Twitter (which is almost more than all three competitors combined):
They only tweet about 4-6 times per month and each tweet has something interesting to share, even if you aren’t actively looking to buy a car. Obviously, this level of success is a holistic process, but we can identify two key elements.
The first is the popularity and activity of Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, who is extremely active on Twitter and has over 33 million followers. He doesn’t just reserve posts for product announcements and promotions. He has a personality and uses it as a way to become more human and transparent in the eyes of the world:
The second element to their success is their livestream events. These events draw tons of hype and attention, with people sharing the link on social media and live-Tweeting. The unveiling of the cybertruck alone garnered 2.6 million views:
There are two lessons here. First, if you’re a CEO or founder, don’t be afraid of social media. Having an active online presence makes your brand and mission more personal and relatable. Second, livestream events are a great way to get your customer base focused and engaged. It generates conversation between friends and strangers around the world.
Dive Deeper: Live Streaming Videos: The Most Powerful Way to Share Content
18) Google Photos
As a pioneering tech company, Google probably isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think of emotional ad campaigns.
However, their “Loretta” campaign brought tears to the eyes of watchers from around the globe during the 2020 Super Bowl. It was covered by CNN, USA Today, Today.com and many others:
The campaign features a man who is using the Google Photo product to relive past experiences with his late wife. The ad itself is real audio of a Google employee’s grandfather which makes the ad all the more touching.
The video earned over 12 million views around the time of the Super Bowl and now has almost 62 million views.
Even a tech company like Google realizes how important it is to create an emotional connection with its users.
If you are going to invest in a marketing campaign (even if it’s not a Super Bowl commercial slot), consider how you can tap into the emotions of people. How is your product really helping people and impacting their lives? And how can you capture that and spread it to your fans?
19) Twitter’s #BrandBowl
Speaking of the Super Bowl and online engagement, Twitter decided to capitalize on the commercial hype and try to control the dialogue by hosting the #BrandBowl, which looks at the best Super Bowl campaigns on Twitter.
This competition pits major brand’s marketing teams against one another as they compete in a handful of categories relating to online engagement. Here are the winners:
Winners received credits for Twitter ads and consumer reach in addition to a nice custom trophy and industry bragging rights.
The campaign drew the attention of both of Twitter’s main audiences:
- Users – who were encouraged to support their favorite commercials on Twitter
- Brands – who were encouraged to promote their commercial and hashtags even more than usual
It was brilliant because rather than trying to pull people’s attention away from the Super Bowl, Twitter took advantage of the hype and made themselves the center of attention. They became the host of the excitement.
Capitalize on events that already have a lot of attention and exposure. By creating awards or competitions within those events, you’ll gain a lot more attention and even stand to gain exposure from the brands involved in the event.
20) Popeyes Chicken Sandwich
Popeyes came out with a chicken sandwich last year that caused quite a stir and was one of the most clever marketing campaign ideas in the industry. As a way to bring more attention to the new product, they started what they called the “Chicken Sandwich Wars.”
The Chicken Sandwich Wars was a genius marketing campaign/Twitter feud that Popeyes started with Chick-Fil-A by retweeting one of their posts and responding with “y’all good?”
… y’all good? https://t.co/lPaTFXfnyP
— Popeyes Chicken (@PopeyesChicken) August 19, 2019
While Chick-Fil-A did not respond, several other restaurants joined, such as Wendys and Shake Shack.
Within just three days of the initial Chicken Sandwich Battle, Popeyes gained 25,000 new followers on Twitter:
This marketing campaign worked out spectacularly and their sandwiches sold like hotcakes. In fact, as they began to sell out, it drove the demand through the roof.
People turned to eBay paying anywhere from $60 to $10,000 (!!) for the chicken sandwiches and many stood in lines for hours at Popeyes to get their hands on the now infamous chicken sandwich. Gayle King even went to 16 different Popeyes just to taste the sandwich.
In the end, the chicken sandwich sold out in just 16 days during which time Popeyes raked in over $65 million.
While starting a feud with your competition can be a risky move, the best takeaway from this is that they created real scarcity. They brought the chicken sandwich back to the menu as a regular item, though it hasn’t had nearly the sensation that it originally had when launched as a specialty item. Think about how you can create demand and scarcity with your products.
21) Planet Fitness
Planet Fitness, one of the largest gyms in the country, was shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to continue to serve their customers with amazing information, they created Facebook Livestreams every day at 7 p.m.. They also recorded the videos for users to go back to whenever they wanted.
Even though they don’t make any money from the livestreams directly, it keeps them top of mind and might even bring in some new people who are now stuck at home in quarantine and eager to start exercising:
Their engagement metrics were through the roof with over 400 people sharing it, 170K people watching it, and 2.8K people liking it.
This is an excellent marketing campaign example for people who want to generate more awareness and improve brand loyalty.
Livestreams and other digital products can be a great way to engage customers who want to attend your event, but can’t for whatever reason (pandemic or otherwise). If you are delivering an exceptional experience for attendees, then broadcast it. You don’t have to stream the whole event, either; consider streaming your keynote speaker or special segments of your event that provide the most value and pitch it as “just a sample” of the full event.
Dive Deeper: How to Create Digital Products to Grow Your Small Business During a Pandemic (and Beyond!)
While many brick-and-mortar businesses have been struggling, Sephora has managed to maintain strong growth by expertly merging the digital experience with offline retail.
They launched an app that uses augmented reality and artificial intelligence to let users try different makeup products they find online or in the store.
When the Coronavirus hit, people were banned from trying on makeup in the store and eventually were banned from entering the stores altogether. This led to an opportunity for Sephora as they already had a way for people to try on makeup virtually.
The app gives people tips and recommendations along the way and is connected to their e-commerce store so that customers can add items directly to their cart for purchase.
Some brands are struggling today as the economy shifts more and more to “on-demand.” It’s especially challenging for brands that sell products that consumers want to test and experiment with before purchasing. But technology is advancing to keep pace with consumer tastes and even if you don’t have the tech budget of Sephora, there are ways you can use technology to make it easier for your customers to sample and view your different products both online and in-store.
Dive Deeper: How to Newsjack: A Guide for Content Marketers
23) Miller Lite
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most restaurants in the USA have been instructed to shut down or provide take-out only, forcing the industry to nearly collapse overnight. This had an even bigger impact on bars, as most people don’t get their alcoholic beverages to go.
Therefore, Miller Lite stepped up to provide a #VirtualTipJar. They began by donating $1 million dollars to the cause and are encouraging fans to donate as well. Their efforts have been well received by the community:
Miller Lite’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program has been especially welcomed by bartenders:
The original tweet by the beer company got 31.9K views and 256 retweets:
In the event of a recession, if the industry you serve is hit hard, think about how you can partner with a relief program or even start one yourself. You don’t necessarily have to give money, but putting time and effort into it can be great branding exposure and leave you ahead of the competition when the economy turns up.
More Resources: These 75 Tech Companies Are Giving Away Free Tools to Support Businesses During COVID-19
24) Trello #WhereITrello
Trello is another B2B business that is killing it on social media. One of their latest campaigns, #WhereITrello, encouraged users of Trello to share how they use the product.
The challenge is to “Post a pic of Trello on your desk, farm, rug, wherever you work and tell us your Trello story using the hashtag #WhereITrello for a chance to win limited edition swag every week!”
The campaign was successful because it targeted their ideal customers (SMBs and solopreneurs) who are proud to be remote. Therefore, it wasn’t that difficult to encourage them to post about where they work.
71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand’s social media are more likely to recommend it to a friend, which helps brands increase their referral opportunities.
Before running a social media campaign, think about what your customers are proud of and how you can tap into that. If you give customers a reason to share what they are proud of, your campaign will be a success. User-generated content is also one of my favorite types of marketing campaigns as it is not only sharable, but also provides social proof to prospective customers.
Related Content: 8 Ways to Encourage More User-Generated Content (UGC)
Sumo, an email marketing software company, is one of my favorite marketing campaign examples.
They have taken the Coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to help local businesses and customers for free via social media. Their founder, Noah Kagan, goes live at 12 p.m. to help local companies that have been affected get back on their feet. He streams it to his social channels and allows anyone who wants to come on the Zoom call:
They were super popular and filled up fast with people leaving requests for more.
At Single Grain, one of the ways we rate the success of our content is by asking fans how disappointed they would be if they no longer saw our content. This social campaign certainly passed that test! How many other social campaigns left your customers sending you messages asking for more of your content?
To boost morale, he also did lunches where fans could tune in just to connect, have fun and listen to music, creating yet another amazing branding experience.
To take it even one step further, he helped stimulate local businesses by offering to buy tacos for people:
The reason why these social campaigns work so incredibly well is because they genuinely help people and come with no strings attached. People feel that his intentions are authentic and, as a result, his brand will come out on top when the economy turns back up again.
Related Content: 11 Companies That Are Doing Mobile Advertising Right
26) This Is for Men
In 2019, L’Oreal unveiled its campaign “This Is for Men.” A brand known for empowering women, L’Oreal wanted to draw attention to a statistic that their research uncovered: 91.4% of Germany’s management and governing boards are comprised of men.
They also found that although there were less women in management and board roles, those that are significantly outperform their male peers: When women occupy 30% of management positions, profitability was found to increase by 15%.
Their social media campaign addressed this issue boldly by creating “a series of gender stereotype reversal print ads to convey their findings to men in tongue in cheek fashion” with banners featuring lipstick, mascara and other makeup products and the words “This Is for Men” emblazoned across the banner:
The advertisements themselves were created in collaboration with McCann Worldgroup who reported that the advertisements were blowing up on social media: The first post generated over 1,500 shares and even more interactions and likes.
Chipotle is known for its stellar marketing campaign ideas, so it’s no surprise that they were an early adopter of TikTok.
Since jumping on the platform, they now have over 800 million users:
Last year they hired three influencers (Brittany Broski, Zach King and Jiffpom) to kick off their #Boorito challenge in which people dress up in their Halloween costumes and play the soundbite provided by Chipotle:
The reward for being one of the top 5 submissions that received the most likes won free burritos for a year. The campaign was wildly successful with #Boorito earning 3.9 billion views.
They also did a #GuacDance on TikTok for National Guacamole Day:
That campaign earned 250,000 video submissions and over 430 million video views and became TikTok’s highest-performing branded challenge in the United States.
While Facebook challenges still work, they aren’t as easy as they used to be with limitations on competition sharing rules. Therefore, consider how you can engage your audience in a fun video challenge like TikTok and use a soundbite to brand it.
As the master of sports streaming, there are definitely a few things we can learn about from ESPN. They have over 35 million followers on Twitter, 16 million followers on Instagram and 19 million fans on Facebook.
Their success is largely due to the brand’s dedication to providing high-quality content, and lately their live streaming has drastically increased their social media engagement.
In fact, in just this past year, ESPN managed to generate over 10 million interactions across the three platforms and the live strategy has helped them earn a 142% follower growth. ESPN also credits responding to their audience in real time for their increase in engagement:
If you want to generate more engagement with your audience, consider doing more live streaming to social and react in real-time to events. Add chat features and ask their opinion about the events.
Nike has long since been one of the leading athletic brands and has the largest market share in the athletic apparel industry in North America (around 27.4% and, until recently, had a whopping 96% of the market for basketball footwear), and continues to outpace the competition when it comes to sales:
Sure, they make quality shoes, but that isn’t the reason why their loyalty customers spend 3X as much money on athletic footwear as their non-members.
For one thing, they are amazing at tapping into the emotions of their target audience. In a recent campaign, Nike encouraged social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic: “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance. Play inside, play for the world”:
To further amplify the message, they leveraged influencer marketing and had athletes like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Carli Lloyd post it to their accounts:
Now, more than ever, we are one team. #playinside #playfortheworld pic.twitter.com/YPInHKIeaC
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 21, 2020
However, the true genius in Nike’s marketing lies in their deep understanding of their target audience.
In this campaign, they understand that people buying from them have dreams to be like the influencers sharing the post and tapped into that with their messaging of “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance.”
It’s no surprise that their messaging and choice of influencers is so accurate as they actually purchased the consumer data and analytics company, Zodiac, in an effort to keep their messaging on target.
If you’re looking for a better way to stand out from the crowd, think about your customer research strategy and how well you really understand the deeper wants, needs and desires of your target audience.
Dive Deeper: Just Do It: What We Can Learn from Nike’s $39B Marketing Strategy
30) Red Bull
Red Bull has one of the most consistent branding messages. Their slogan “Gives You Wings” is associated with amazing stunts and athletic challenges around the world that are truly inspiring and captivating.
Their digital strategy consists mainly of video content and they have a huge following across YouTube (9+ million subscribers!), Instagram and even TikTok:
So why does their digital marketing strategy work so well?
Their video content is super consistent (awe-inspiring athletic stunts) and few brands would ever be able to replicate the collection of influencers they have gathered. In addition, rather than pushing ads in front of people, they are giving them the kind of content that their target audience would watch sitting at home on a weekend anyway.
Take a look at their TikTok engagement: most of their individual videos get hundreds of thousands of views and some are even well over a million:
Rather than trying to pull your audience’s attention away from what they already enjoy watching, how can you make your content more enjoyable to watch? Even if you sell B2B, how can you create a video that will captivate your audience? Do what you, and no one else (or few others), do best!
31) Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
The brilliance in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals marketing strategy is their service.
They provide life-saving research and treatment which makes it easy to gain social media attention through touching stories and attract leading publications to feature their work.
Here’s an example of Good Morning America covering one of their patients:
One of their latest campaigns called #ChildrensHospitalsWeek Live-athon won the Facebook Live category at the Shorty Awards.
This Facebook live event was structured like The Ellen DeGeneres Show might be: Allison Holker-Boss and Stephen “tWitch” Boss interviewed each child and the child’s story was accompanied by a surprise. Some of those surprises involved celebrities like Lindsey Sterling, Katy Perry, and many others.
The Live-athon became the most viewed streamed event ever and:
- received more than 612,000 views
- earned more than 2.75 million impressions
- raised more than $76,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
While bringing in celebrities may not be possible, think about the value you are actually providing to the world. If you create real value for a good cause, your event will market itself and people will want to promote you.
Marketing Campaign Templates
If you feel overwhelmed by all of the marketing campaigns above, here are some templates that can help you get started:
- Video Content Marketing Template. Jumping in front of the camera without a clear plan is intimidating. Or maybe you have some footage, but how should you put it together? These video marketing templates can help you out.
- Email Marketing Template. Email marketing is still one of the best marketing campaign channels as it can produce a huge ROI at low cost. While there are virtually endless ways to structure your email marketing campaigns, these are a few of our favorite templates.
- Social Media Marketing Template. If you’re working with influencers or focusing heavily on brand awareness, you’ll probably do some social media marketing. Fortunately, Hootsuite has provided a selection of virtually every social media marketing template you could possibly think of.
- Blogging Marketing Template. If you’re looking to build your brand and further explain your product or service (particularly B2B companies), blogging is an excellent way to do so. These blogging templates will get you off to a great start.
Last Word on Online Marketing Campaigns
Almost all the brands discussed in this list are well established and these campaigns were certainly not their first ones, so don’t be discouraged if your first campaign doesn’t immediately trend on Twitter! Start by getting a firm understanding of your audience’s needs, desires and pain points.
Once you have a deep understanding of your audience, A/B test various campaign messages and draw inspiration from the above-mentioned digital marketing campaigns.
If you create an amazing product and offer amazing support, it’s only a matter of time before your campaign will be listed here!