Instagram Marketing at Adidas: Summative Assessment Answer
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: INSTAGRAM MARKETING AT ADIDAS
1. Introduction to the Organisation
ADIDAS is a multinational corporation that was founded in 1924 as Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory which later changed its name to Adidas in 1949. The organisation is well-known throughout the world for designing and manufacturing high-quality shoes, clothing and accessories. The corporation is limited by share ownership. The organisation operates in over 100 countries with more than 59,000 employees (About Us, 2020). In FY 2019, the corporation generated sales worth of €23.64 billion which indicates that the operations of Adidas are quite large, as well as, multifaceted.
Adidas is known throughout the world for its expertise in designing and manufacturing sports shoes. The organisation sells a wide range of clothing items for both men and women including jackets, leggings, pants, t-shirts and hoodies. It also manufactures watches, eyewear, socks, bags and deodorants for both men and women. In current times, the company has also invested significantly in R&D to launch smart wristbands (Adidas India, 2020). The main consumer segment targeted by Adidas are children, young adults and adults that are passionate toward sports and fitness. The average consumer of Adidas fall in the age group of 13-40 who either belong to the upper-middle-class or luxury class of customers (Adidas, 2020). The major competitors of Adidas also belong to the luxury segment of the apparel and accessories industry. Adidas competes mainly with Nike Inc., PUMA Se, Converse, New Balance and Air Jordan.
Adidas managers 28 Instagram pages to connect with a wider group of audience (especially millennials), telling the visual stories of the brand along with staking out a strong presence on visual media. The main Instagram page of the organisation, Adidas, has 25.8 million followers. According to an interview given by Kasper Rorsted, the current CEO of Adidas, the company was able to experience a 40% year-over-year increment in online sales in the first quarter of 2019 most of which is attributed to Instagram.
2. Analysing the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Current Tool
A five-year wide strategy that Adidas issued in 2015 was termed as “Creating the New”. Through the adoption of this strategy, Adidas wanted to become a digital company by becoming the best sporting apparel brand in the world. To achieve this goal, Adidas uses subsequent digitalisation as the best means of connecting with a large audience, creating engagement and interest, spread brand and product awareness and create an online funnel of sales (Kaseva, 2018). The group spends almost 90% of its entire marketing budget on running digital campaigns through different social media platforms the most of which can be attributed to Instagram. In this context, it may be stated that Instagram enables the company to reach a massive audience (Yadav et al. 2015). Being one of the most popular social networks throughout the world, Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users and over 100 million users that are active on the platform daily. Instagram is one of the most appealing platforms in terms of creating consumer engagement. Adidas exploits this fact strategically and competitively to engage a massive range of audience in its contents and the brand. One particular example of Adidas's use of Instagram to create consumer engagement is reflected through the digital campaign termed as #MyNeoShoot that Adidas hosted over Instagram. This campaign was reinvigorated by Adidas for the launch of Adidas Neo which was targeted at the trend-loving young generation. Through this campaign, Adidas invited both ordinary users, as well as, micro-influencers to create Instagram posts that would be Adidas-inspired and selected the best content creators to model for a professional photo shoot at the expense of the company. This campaign allowed the company to share branded content in a unique manner creating thousands of social media audiences (MediaKix, 2020). As per a spokesperson for the company, this campaign generated over 50,000 new followers within a week and achieved thousands of post views per day.
Through Instagram marketing, the company primarily aims to increase the social media following of Adidas to increase and create brand awareness. Brand awareness is referred to as the extent to which the audiences, consumers and potential consumers are aware of the image or qualities of a specific brand that offers specific services and goods (Huang and Sarigöllü, 2014). Creating brand awareness is also essential in maintaining a relationship with the consumers which is one of the topmost strategic priorities of the organisation. As per the official Adidas website, Adidas tries to interact with their consumers frequently to create personalised, connected, as well as, premium experiences (Adidas, 2020). With the use of Instagram posts that reflect the visual stories of the brand through video graphics and imagery content, the brand creates excitement and enthusiasm that connects users on a personal level. In this context, it could be stated that a company must be able to develop a unique value proposition for the clientele to ensure that best conversion rates from followers to actual consumers (Sadek et al. 2018). The visual storytelling by Adidas on its Instagram pages allows the brand in terms of establishing unique and personalised relations with the clientele which translates into better consumer retention rates along with heightened consumer satisfaction. Another strategic priority of Adidas in terms of achieving its “Creating the New” objective is open-source innovations, as well as, collaborations. One prime example of the company involving collaboration and partnerships with the consumers is the #DaretoCreate campaign hosted by Adidas on Instagram. The campaign was an integrated part of the Global Exhibit Pack campaign of Adidas which aimed to connect with the social media fans to create a competition based on content generated and created by the users through collaborating with Crowd. Featuring famous and well-liked football players such as Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala and Mo Salah, the brand encouraged its fans to share the video graphics content on different social media channels with the hashtag #DaretoCare and rate the football stars based on their skills which generated over a million new users following the Instagram page of Adidas (Yahoo, 2019).
Along with creating personalised and collaborative experiences of the audience, the brand also promotes its products and initiatives through well-known celebrities and influencer marketers on Instagram. Influencer marketing is a key marketing technique used by organisations to use endorsements and product mentions from influencers that are referred to as individuals who are typically perceived to be experts within their specific fields by the dedicated social media following they have (Lou and Yuan, 2019). Adidas considers women to be one of the key groups to be reached in the next few years to improve the sales performance of the company. One prime example of its women-oriented strategies is the #EnergyRunning campaign that Adidas hosted over Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Through the Energy Running campaign, Adidas assembled several influential female runners from several well-known cities throughout the world who were perceived as socially relevant peers that could inspire thousands of followers in terms of easily relating to the company and aspiring to be like the influencers. This campaign played a significant role in improving the sales performance of the company of women apparels, shoes and accessories.
While the aforementioned points signify the strength of Instagram as a key digital marketing tool for Adidas including enhanced consumer reach and engagement, better value proposition and enhanced personalised experiences of the consumers, there are a few weaknesses as well that can be associated with digital marketing through Instagram. One of the weaknesses that can be specific to the use case of Adidas is the lack of APIs that can be used by brands for mass sharing. Several digital analytic platforms such as Social Suite, Hootsuite and similar cannot be used by brands on Instagram to create and schedule posts in advance. Furthermore, compared to other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, understanding the reach and conversion ratio from Instagram pages to the official website is complicated since there are no direct ways of adding URLs or website links to the Instagram posts and stories (Fuciu, 2019). Another weakness of Instagram as a digital marketing platform is the lack of options for consumers to review products/service/initiatives and provide their feedback to express opinions. Consumer reviews are extremely important for businesses as they enable brands to better comprehend the likes, dislikes, choices and preferences of consumers and improve customer service (Filieri et al. 2018). Instagram, despite being a great site for visual storytelling and sharing, is not an ideal platform for the assessment of consumer reviews and feedback due to the lack of dedicated posts or features through which consumers can express their opinions.
3. Use of Digital Analytics to Measure Success
Digital Analytics can be defined as the process adopted by companies and/or users to analyse digital data that is generated through several platforms such as mobile applications and websites. Digital analytics is a key technology that is utilised by modern businesses to obtain a crystal-clear vision of the user and consumer behavioural patterns and intentions. With the use of digital analytics, brands can obtain critical and informative insight regarding areas in which they might need enhancement or modifications.
As stated before, several digital analytic applications are not compatible with Instagram as a marketing tool. With the selection of an appropriate analytics tool, brands can identify and target the appropriate audience, identify the appropriate frequency for sharing the posts i.e. when the most number of users are online and posts at which time generate the majority of the engagement, drive appropriate audiences to the webpages of the brand, exploit facilitated opportunities to capture new consumers and ensure maximum consumer engagement.
For measuring the digital success of the brand, Adidas must focus on several analytic measures. The first one is follower analytics which signifies the growth rate of followers over a specific period i.e. before and after a campaign is launched. The second one is profile analytics which can allow the brand in terms of using the results and automated reports generated by the analytic tools to compare their performance with that of the competitors and gain a clear vision of how to use effective publishing timings, captions and hashtags to capture the attention of the most number of users. The third one is individual posts analytics which allows brands to measure the reach and engagement levels of individual posts along with the conversion rates. The fourth is stories analytics which serves the same functionalities as individual posts analytics for Instagram stories.
The digital analytics tool that can be used by Adidas is Owlmetrics which is one of the most well-known tools suggested by digital marketers for Instagram. The fundamental functionalities of Ownmetrics include enabling users to track the growth of brands in terms of engagements and followers. Furthermore, Owlmetrics also supports generating automated reports on the activities and performance of specific hashtags used by users. With the premium features of the tool, users can also track unfollows on the Instagram profile. Furthermore, the tool also has included features allowing users to track follower gender data and geo-distribution of followers. With an affordable pricing level, this tool can be extremely effective for the brand to measure and track digital growth and performance. Finally, with the automated reports generated by Owlmetrics, Adidas can also compare their performance with the competitors to assess how well they are growing.
The metrics to be measured include likes and comments. As a digital brand, one of the goals of Adidas is to achieve the maximum number of likes and comments to ensure the best level of consumer engagement. Comments, in this context, serve a better purpose for brands since compared to likes, comments signify a heightened engagement level of consumers and also create a plethora of windows for the brand to interact with the consumers (Borel and Christodoulides, 2016). The second important metric is the hashtag activity. This metric serves significance since it would allow Adidas to assess which type of hashtags to use to ensure maximum discoverability and engagement both of which are extremely important for measuring the performance of digital campaigns. The final important metrics that can be used by Adidas is the number of new followers that have been generated within a specific period. It would assist the brand in terms of comprehending and making informed decisions regarding what types of campaigns and posts are serving the company with optimal functionality.
Some recommendations may be made to Adidas for the optimal use of Instagram as a marketing platform to generate better performance, digital growth and reach. It may be stated in this context that Adidas is a well-known brand throughout the world that already has established measurable goals and cohesive brand narratives. Therefore, the digital efforts of the company must be focused on enhancing the marketing techniques and strategies that are already used by the organisation rather than focusing on new strategies.
Adidas may amplify brand messages with the use of Instagram ads. With the use of Instagram, brands are presented with a wide range of highly advanced digital marketing and advertising tools. One of such tools is Facebook Ads Manager which can be used by the company to amplify the reach of the posts and content created by the company. With the use of such tools, the company can share their ads with the already existing followers along with ensuring that the posts can reach the target audiences outside of Instagram. This would allow the company to create a funnel of followers that may allow the company to generate business leads more efficiently (Fonseca, 2019). In this context, it might be stated that whether Instagram is a well-designed tool to generate top-of-funnel leads, with the use of specific marketing methods to nurture the generated leads can allow the company to generate enhanced Return-on-Investment. To achieve this strategy, the company can make use of email marketing workflows. The brand, through the use of the digital analytics tool, must identify potential leads and use email marketing workflows to make such leads aware of the products and services of the brand along with the benefits the offerings provide to the consumers (Carah and Shaul, 2016). The brand must also focus on improving its use of influencer marketing. However, instead of hiring or contracting with well-known influencers, the brand may adopt a strategy similar to the MyNeoShoot campaign that would allow ordinary consumers and users to share their creativity with the brand and generate self-created content. This would allow the brand in terms of ensuring that the users can relate and connect with the brand on personal levels. This would further make consumer experiences enhanced and unique allowing the brand to receive more positive interaction and response for consumers.
In addition to these recommendations, the brand must fully optimise digital analytics tools such as Owlmetrics. There are specific periods within a day when the most number of people are online when they tend to check Instagram stories and posts and selecting this period as the post publish time allows brands to ensure that their advertisements can reach the most number of users. With the use of Owlmetrics, the brand would be able to assess when the posts are getting the most number of likes and comments or, in other words, when the audiences and consumers are engaging with the posts the most. Additionally, based on the previous experience that the brand has gathered with the use of hashtags, for a new campaign, the brand must develop a hashtag that is highly discoverable and receives highly positive response from the audiences to ensure that the results of the campaigns are far-fetched. The brand may also use the geo-distribution and follower-gender analytics to assess from which regions of the world the most engagement is coming from along with which genders are better able to connect with the posts and messages of the brand. With the identification of these factors, the brand can develop personalised messages targeted toward the specific regions from whether the most engagement is created and toward the specific gender of followers which would allow the company to amplify its digital performance for digital campaigns significantly.