Volume 8 (2020-21)

Each volume of Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing consists of four 100-page issues in both print and online. Articles scheduled to be published in Volume 8 are available to view on the 'Forthcoming content' page. The articles published in Volume 8 so far are listed below.

Volume 8 Number 3

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher, Journal of Digital Social Media Marketing
  • Papers:
    Increasing in-store sales through creative omni-channel digital and social media marketing strategies: Case study of HobbyTown
    Andrew Smith, President, initiate-it

    Many retailers with brick-and-mortar locations are losing ground or failing due to the rapid rise of e-commerce. In stark contrast, US toys and games retailer HobbyTown saw 5 consecutive quarters of increased in-store sales and customer engagement following 12 consecutive quarters of declining sales. This dramatic reversal resulted from successful, strategic digital and social media marketing campaigns featuring strategies that revitalised the social, web and mobile channels through which HobbyTown connected and interacted with current and potential customers. HobbyTown understood the unique value of the immersive in-store experience offered to customers and capitalised on this knowledge by using highly personalised and localised digital marketing techniques to increase purchases within physical store locations. This paper explores the methodology of these digital and social media marketing strategies, including campaign development, implementation, measurement and results. The insights shared will enable retailers with physical store locations to develop effective digital and social media strategies to deploy when social distancing directives for COVID-19 are fully lifted and business returns to normal.
    Keywords: digital marketing, retailing, CRM, social media, omni-channel, local retail, in-store purchasing, brick-and-mortar stores

  • Social media: The impact of advertising, endorsements and trust among consumers
    Russell Feldman, Head of Digital, Media & Technology and Michael Stacey, Marketing Insights Director, YouGov

    Perception on social media is paramount. For this reason, many regular users have developed a tolerance for inaccuracy or dishonesty. Indeed, there is a basic expectation that a person’s online persona will differ from how they present offline. This also is the case for many brands. Advertising and celebrity endorsements are rife on social media, and most users recall seeing such communications on a regular basis. From Twitter, to Facebook, to Twitch, social media networks are here to stay and have attracted many different demographics, resulting in greater opportunities for brands to communicate their wares to all manner of consumers. Brands have plenty of opportunities to find their voice — but even when they approach authenticity, users may still doubt their motivations. This paper reports on in-depth research conducted by YouGov to ascertain consumer perceptions towards social media networks, advertisements and celebrity endorsements, and the opportunities (and pitfalls) that brands face.
    Keywords: insight, analysis, research, social media, advertising, endorsements, celebrities, influencers

  • Building an effective lead nurturing programme
    Britney Young, Marketing Automation Specialist, McKesson

    Over the past decade, digital marketing has gone through several shifts and exponential growth. To keep customers and prospects engaged throughout the buyer journey, today’s marketers require personalisation along with automation to deliver a unique experience for each person. This paper details how marketers can make lead nurturing more relevant and valuable by using both behavioural and demographic data more strategically to create hyper-personalised campaigns and aligning with the sales team to shorten the sales cycle.
    Keywords: lead nurturing, demand generation, account-based marketing, marketing automation, B2B marketing, hyper-personalisation

  • Performance branding: Borrow from the past to win the future
    Zenia Johnson, Account Lead and Tom Leonard, Director of Video Strategy, 3Q Digital

    This paper discusses how the sophistication of social media advertising channels has democratised the skill set early adopters had to master to achieve low customer acquisition costs. As advertisers flood social platforms in the quest to become the next great company, advertising costs have skyrocketed. Brands (specifically, direct-to-consumer brands) that shift from a pure direct-response advertising strategy to one of building long-term brand value through performance branding will outlast those that do not.
    Keywords: Facebook, Google, performance branding, advertising, marketing, digital marketing

  • The anatomy of an effective e-mail subject line: How to stand out in a crowded inbox
    Ewelina Aiossa, Founder, B.I.G. Marketing Consulting

    E-mail marketing is one of the most pervasive communication tools around and its importance continues to grow with the use of technology. It is also one of the best and most cost-efficient ways to get a message out to a specific audience. However, professional and personal e-mail inboxes are crowded with messages, and brands/companies need to compete to be noticed. For their messages to break through the noise of the crowded inbox, marketers must start with the subject line. Drafting the perfect subject line is an art form with a little bit of science thrown in. It requires an intimate knowledge of one’s target audience and the ability to translate a larger message into a few words to strike the right chord and compel the recipient to take action. This paper explores how to provide the most relevant, personalised e-mail subject line ‘experience’ by discussing the fundamentals of how to draft compelling, effective subject lines.
    Keywords: digital marketing, e-mail marketing, e-mail subject line, best practices, subject line fundamentals

  • Influencer marketing: An essential strategy or just a trend?
    Nikos Schiniotakis, Lecturer, Hellenic Mediterranean University and Katerina Divini, Human Resources Manager, Pancreta Cooperative Bank

    People feel the need to communicate, to exchange ideas, to interact, to learn and to seek ideas, forming beliefs and cultures. Media channels provide a means of communicating and influencing consumers’ perceptions and purchasing decisions. The rise of social media has gained the attention of consumers who are increasingly turning away from traditional media. Within this context, new methods of promoting products, such as influencer marketing, have emerged. Today’s consumers expect more from advertising than traditional promotional methods, and are seeking interaction and engagement. They like to follow the lives of other people, such as friends, celebrities and subject matter experts, and are influenced by their own preferences and suggestions. A successful campaign reaches as many product-related customers as possible and influences them. This can be achieved by influencer marketing through social media, which has become essential to companies’ marketing strategies. This paper takes a deeper look at the strategy of using social media influencers and its contribution to brand awareness. It presents real examples of influencer marketing campaigns and discusses the factors behind their success.
    Keywords: influencer marketing, social media marketing, influencers, word-of-mouth marketing, brand influencers

  • Dark social: The biggest missed opportunity in digital marketing
    Ammarah Marjan, Doctoral Researcher, Charles Graham, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Margaret Bruce, Professor of Digital Strategy, London South Bank University and Andrew Mitchell, Founder, Brandmovers Inc.

    Following the widespread adoption of closed social media apps, marketers can no longer easily track outbound sharing of website links, or inbound traffic resulting from those shares — so-called dark social. This social traffic is misclassified in Google Analytics as ‘direct’, and little is currently known about its volume or relative behaviour, and therefore how to manage it effectively. This study aims to contextualise the typical contribution of the direct channel to total website reach, identify the relative contribution of (true) direct traffic and estimate the volume of dark social traffic. Traffic flows totalling over 3 million hits were observed over two years on five websites. The results suggest that the direct channel can contribute over one-third of total traffic and, according the authors’ estimate, an inbound dark social component of almost one-fifth. This is little understood at present, and the article proposes a future research agenda to develop theory in the area.
    Keywords: dark social, web traffic, Google Analytics, direct traffic, social media, e-WOM

  • Sustainability issue communication and student social media engagement: Recommendations for climate communicators
    Jaigris Hodson, Research Associate and Associate Faculty, Ann Dale, Director of the School of Environment and Sustainability, François Jost, Postdoctoral Researcher and Jaime Clifton-Ross, Research Associate and Associate Faculty, Royal Roads University

    This study explored the digital and social media information habits and preferences of students, particularly as they concern issues-based communication relating to climate change and sustainability. Researchers surveyed 203 undergraduate students studying a wide range of subject areas in a small Canadian liberal arts style university. Results were analysed using basic statistics to determine broad trends in social and digital media use among participants, their assessment of what kinds of content they found engaging online and their preferences relating to searching and sharing information on news and issues. Different environmental messages were also assessed by participants for whether they were engaging. Participants used a wide variety of platforms, in diverse locations, but demonstrated a tendency to use Google and YouTube most often to search for issues about which they cared. Respondents indicated a preference for image or video-based content, and also indicated that images and videos made a website more attractive. They generally reported not sharing news on social media, and tended to rate environmental messages with a problem-solution framework as most engaging. This study suggests that climate-change related issue marketing should favour YouTube and other video content, and should pay close attention to how environmental messages are presented in order to be most engaging to their target audiences.
    Keywords: social media, issue marketing, uses and gratifications, climate change marketing, sustainability marketing

Volume 8 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher, Journal of Digital Social Media Marketing
  • Case studies:
    How understanding audiences can drive organic growth and increased engagement
    Meredith Bausback, Director of Marketing and Audience Development, Golf Digest

    This article describes how analysing audiences effectively can lead to organic growth. It provides an overview of the ever-changing media landscape and offers suggestions as to how brands can combat the uncontrollable algorithm changes in social media and search. The article outlines a five-step process that can be applied to any brand strategy or distribution channel. It will discuss the importance of all users and how audiences are not all created equal. Finally, the article will provide a case study and show how Golf Digest put the five-step process into practice, resulting in double-digit growth online.
    Keywords: audience development, onsite organic growth, engaged audiences

  • The shortest distance between two people is a story: Storytelling best practices in digital and social media marketing
    Jason Carlton, Marketing Manager, Intermountain Healthcare

    A well-told story engages people in experiences that are shared, even if the story is simply being recounted by a third-party. Simply put, stories bring people together. This article draws on the author’s experience of having his heart kick-started to illustrate how, as marketers, the ability to tell meaningful and captivating stories can make the difference between success and failure.
    Keywords: storytelling, marketing, healthcare, people, stories

  • Serena, Inc.: Using Instagram to build brand equity after a crisis
    Frauke Hachtmann, Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Journalism and Mass Communications

    Serena Williams is one of the most successful athletes of all time. In addition to dominating the professional tennis circuit for decades, she has also built a massive business empire while becoming a first-time mother and wife. During this time of transition, Williams experienced a significant crisis moment during the 2018 US Open. Williams did not publicly acknowledge or apologise for the crisis and instead focused on a new sense of direction after living through the experience, much of which is documented and promoted on her Instagram account. This exploratory case study focuses on Serena Williams’s use of Instagram as a crisis communication strategy to repair her reputation and protect the value of her brand. The study centres on reputation repair in post-crisis communication, in particular on the rhetoric of renewal, which concentrates on the positive view of an organisation’s future instead of ongoing discussions about crisis and responsibility. An analysis of 421 of Williams’s Instagram posts over a two-year time span revealed that Williams used Instagram primarily to share private family moments, remind audiences about her legacy, and to build a business empire. The six themes that emerged suggest useful lessons for practitioners looking to use Instagram not only to mitigate a crisis but to build brand equity at the same time.
    Keywords: Instagram, crisis communication, brand equity, reputation management

  • Practice paper:
    An accessibility primer for digital communications
    Jennifer LoCascio Gauvreau, Director Consulting — Delivery, CGI Federal

    As the world becomes increasingly digital, effective digital marketing and communications must consider the needs of people with diverse abilities and communication needs. Individuals and organisations have a responsibility to make mindful decisions when designing and developing new digital content, including instead of excluding others. This article encourages readers to examine their digital communications through the lens of different user perspectives to develop an understanding of (and ideally an interest in) how people with disabilities use technology to gain access to, use of and contribute to online content and services. Using an introductory set of fictional scenarios, the author explores how inaccessible communications can completely exclude some people from full and independent participation. A reader with little to no prior knowledge of digital accessibility will then begin to acquire a working knowledge of some simple best practices. Through repeated practice and knowledge sharing with colleagues, the author hopes digital marketing professionals can begin to design and craft more accessible personal and professional digital communications.
    Keywords: communication, accessibility, a11y, inclusion, inclusive design

  • Research papers:
    Peculiar or puzzling? How curiosity type influences image and text advert responses
    Nathan M. Parkin, Senior Marketing Manager, Amazon and Steven C. Huff, Associate Professor of Marketing, Utah Valley University

    This research demonstrates the effect of sensory (or perceptual) and intellectual (or epistemic) curiosity on consumer attitudes about products, brands and advertisements and their purchase behaviours in response to text and image-based advertisements. It supports two important findings: (1) those with inherent intellectual curiosity are more likely to experience more favourable attitudes towards a brand, advertisement or product when exposed to image-based advertisements; and (2) those with inherent sensory curiosity are more likely to experience higher attitudes and purchase intentions in general, but this effect may weaken or even reverse when exposed to image rather than text-based advertisements. These findings suggest that advertisers could be more effective if they tailored their use of image and text-based communications (eg text vs image ads, posts and text or image-dominant channels) to the type of curiosity that is most prominent in the segments they target.
    Keywords: epistemic curiosity, perceptual curiosity, verbal and visual processing, text and image advertising, digital advertising

  • Influencer marketing: An exploratory study on the motivations of young adults to follow social media influencers
    Flor Morton, Research Professor of Marketing, Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico

    The advent of social media has changed how businesses engage with their audience. Companies today are identifying key opinion leaders (also known as influencers) to promote their products via social media, leveraging the ability of these people to engage target audiences, generate recommendations via electronic word-of-mouth, and influence their followers to purchase the company’s products. However, little is known about what motivates people to follow these influencers. To address this gap in the literature, the present exploratory study aims to understand the reasons why young adults follow influencers. The findings contribute to the growing literature on influencer marketing by exploring the consumption of influencer content by young adults and their motivations for following influencers. The findings can help both companies and influencers improve their social media marketing strategy.
    Keywords: social electronic word of mouth (eWOM), social influencer marketing, uses and gratifications theory

  • The role of user autonomy in branding on social networking sites: A perspective of self-determination theory
    Yujie Wei, Professor of Marketing, Marketing & Real Estate Department, University of West Georgia, Naveen Donthu, Katherine S. Bernhardt Research Professor of Marketing and Distinguished Chairman of the Department of Marketing, Georgia State University and Chunling Yu, Associate Professor of Marketing, Tsinghua University, China

    Current social networking sites (SNSs) use a top-down or controlled system that does not allow users to choose the brand advertisements that appear on their personal pages. This mode of advertising is likely to be the chief contributor to low advertising effectiveness, low consumer–brand interaction, and low consumer engagement. Drawing on self-determination theory, this research investigates the role of consumer autonomy in branding on SNSs, specifically the influence of an autonomy-supportive platform on SNS satisfaction, advertisement evaluation and consumer attitude toward the brand advertised on the SNS. Two studies test the hypotheses regarding the main effect of the autonomy-supportive approach on the dependent variables, the mediation effects of three motives (perceived SNS autonomy, competence and relatedness), and the moderating effect of autonomy personality. The findings suggest that an autonomy-supportive platform meets consumers’ intrinsic needs for self-determination, leading to satisfaction with the SNS, improved advertisement evaluation and more positive attitudes toward the advertised brand. The results also confirm the mediation effects of the three motives and the moderating effect of consumer autonomy personality. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.
    Keywords: autonomy-supportive approach, controlling, autonomy, competence, relatedness, personality, SNS satisfaction, ad effectiveness, brand attitudes

  • Marketing to Hispanic digital natives: Leveraging their online reviews and word of mouth
    Katherine Taken Smith, Assistant Professor of Marketing, College of Business, Texas A&M University

    Consumers are paying less attention to traditional advertising and opting out of digital advertising. Here lies the advantage of online reviews: they are not intrusive, and consumers seek them out as a source of information. Hispanic digital natives are active players in online reviews, as both contributors and receivers. Online reviews are a form of word-of-mouth communication, which is another venue for spreading information. This study found several techniques that marketers can use to prompt Hispanic young adults to post product reviews and also tell friends about a company. For example, a company should showcase its corporate social responsibility efforts. Showing concern for society will generate recommendations from this group. Some differences were found among Hispanic and non-Hispanic digital natives; for example, Hispanics are more receptive to companies they have befriended on social media.
    Keywords: online reviews, Hispanic consumer, digital marketing, consumer behaviour, word-of-mouth

Volume 8 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher, Journal of Digital Social Media Marketing
  • Case study:
    Apollo 50: How one museum celebrated the first Moon landing
    Amy Stamm, Public Affairs Specialist, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

    The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 2019 was an opportunity for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum to position itself not just as an inspiring and exciting institution but also a leading resource for aerospace knowledge. This article describes the museum’s Apollo 50 social media campaign, which saw engagement and follower numbers grow at a rate more ten times the museum’s average. It explores the strategies driving the campaign, how the museum wrangled a vast amount of content, activities and information into a strategic and cohesive campaign, and the role of social media in sharing the museum’s site-specific Apollo 50 activities with a global audience.
    Keywords: museum, social media, content marketing, digital campaign, case study

  • Practice papers:
    Data, analytics and creative intuition: An analysis of how to optimise return on social media investment on Instagram
    Ellie McDonald, Social and Content Manager, Bauer Media, Australia

    Instagram is not just a brand-marketing tool. This in-depth analysis highlights the power of Instagram storytelling tactics in driving conversions and website traffic for content marketers, exemplified by the successes of global media brands such as the Guardian and Vice. This article explains how both the Guardian and Vice reformat their on-site content offering for mobile to appeal to their Instagram audiences, and also publish episodic series to attract new and existing audiences into regularly ‘tuning in’ to their content in a bid to boost on-platform engagement and on-site traffic. From these strategies, the Guardian has grown 79 per cent in Instagram followers in 12 months, while Vice’s Instagram Stories now sit at a 50 per cent retention rate. Additionally, this article emphasises the effectiveness of combining content strategies with social media strategies, and why it is imperative to be able to distinguish the differences between the two. The article also further educates content marketers on how to build-out a lucrative Instagram strategy and boost return on investment via data and analytics platforms, and campaign optimisation.
    Keywords: Instagram, social media, social media strategy, content marketing

  • Five considerations for marketers navigating the changing US beverage alcohol e-commerce landscape
    Heather Bergstein, Head of E-Commerce, Remy Cointreau and Bourcard Nesin, Research Analyst, Rabobank

    E-commerce accounts for a growing percentage of total retail sales. Until recently, the highly complex and heavily regulated beverage alcohol category has been struggling to keep pace relative to other food and beverage categories. Recent developments in technology, combined with a renewed interest among fast-digitising retailers, have led many executives in the beverage alcohol industry to reconsider their e-commerce strategy and invest more in the channel. For beverage alcohol marketers developing their e-commerce strategies, however, there is little information to help navigate the fast-changing e-commerce landscape and the profoundly complex regulatory landscape. This article reviews the aspects of the regulatory landscape that are relevant to alcohol e-commerce and digital marketing, identifying emerging technologies that are enabling the growth of online alcohol sales, and offering key considerations for marketers building go-to-market strategies for their products in alcohol’s unique e-commerce ecosystem.
    Keywords: e-commerce, total retail sales, beverage alcohol industry, e-commerce strategy, regulatory landscape, alcohol e-commerce, digital marketing, emerging technologies

  • A journey of digital marketing transformation: From distributed solo players to embedded digital excellence
    Francesco Federico, Executive Director of EMEA Digital Marketing and Global Head of Capital Markets Digital Marketing, Jones Lang LaSalle

    Change is the only constant in today’s life, and its pace is exponential. Industries and business models are being disrupted and challenged by agile newcomers who leverage shifts in customers’ behaviour and expectations. As a result, marketing departments in large organisations must pivot and reinvent themselves, first by embracing digital practices and then embedding them into their standard operating procedures. This article will show how a phased approach that is mindful of both people and business imperatives helps even articulate organisations to align with the times and achieve resilience, ultimately leading to growth.
    Keywords: digital transformation, digital marketing, change management, organisational development, resources planning and budgeting

  • Research papers:
    Reconsidering bounce rate in web analytics
    David Kamerer, Associate Professor of the School of Communication and Program Director in Global Strategic Communication, Loyola University Chicago

    In web analytics, ‘bounce rate’ refers to the percentage of sessions that have only one pageview. Bounce sessions are widely considered to be failures by marketers and web analysts. This article reconsiders bounces by looking at single pageview sessions using a different tool, Hotjar, to make virtual video recordings of such sessions. The results show that while some bounces are indeed failures, many are meaningful, including long visits that simply happen not to include any additional pageviews. The main reason for misunderstanding bounces as failures is that, in analytics, there is no marker to denote the end of the session. As a result, long single pageview sessions are improperly measured and look the same as short sessions through the analytics dashboard. Additionally, single pageview sessions are on the rise due to the increase in mobile browsing, as well as the ability of search engines to put the right content in front of searchers, lessening the need to request another page. Marketers are encouraged to use tools other than clickstream analytics to better understand bounce sessions, and to make the first pageview count for the visitor.
    Keywords: web analytics, Google Analytics, bounce rate, measurement, engagement, digital marketing

  • Retail chatbots: The challenges and opportunities of conversational commerce
    Chi Hong Leung, Teaching Fellow and Winslet Ting Yan Chan, Teaching Fellow, Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

    Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the ability of machines and/or robots to perform intellectual tasks like humans. AI technologies are widely used to support different activities in retail operations. In particular, retail firms have adopted chatbots to interact with consumers through various communication channels, including social media, live chat, SMS etc. In addition, chatbots have been used to support conversational commerce in which companies automate conversations with consumers about product selection and assist consumers to make informed choices throughout the shopping and decision-making processes. To investigate the state of the art of chatbots in the retail industry, this article qualitatively studies commercial chatbots from 40 retail firms. The study finds that chatbots assist consumers in completing general tasks, such as searching information, purchasing products, making reservations and collecting feedback. Chatbots are good enough to perform such general tasks, although they have limited capability with respect to processing and interpreting natural language. Chatbots also provide menus to address the most predominant issues encountered by consumers while running at a lower operational cost. It is anticipated that chatbots will gain popularity in the retail industry, and consumers would benefit from chatbots with improved features like more accurate predictions and better product recommendations.
    Keywords: artificial intelligence (AI), chatbot, conversational commerce, retailing

  • Measuring the effectiveness of peer-to-peer influencer marketing in an integrated brand campaign
    JoAnn Sciarrino, Isabella Cunningham Endowed Chair in Advertising and Director, The University of Texas at Austin, Gary B. Wilcox, John A. Beck Centennial Professor in Communication, The University of Texas at Austin and Arnold Chung, Data Science Consultant, Accenture Atlanta Innovation Hub

    In response to consumers seeking information from sources other than advertising, brands, particularly those in digital and social media marketing, are increasingly adding both paid and unpaid influencer marketing campaigns into their integrated marketing communications. This paper evaluates both digital advertising and a peer-to-peer influencer strategy within an integrated brand campaign using the social media performance model (SMPM). In a wide range of other settings, the SMPM has identified significant relationships between organic social media variables for both nonprofit and for-profit business-to-consumer and business-to-business brands as well as paid social (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), e-mail spend and Google AdWords spend that have led to a scientific measurement outcome. As new relationships are discovered from the findings here, the SMPM enables data-driven strategies that can be used to influence key performance indicators achieved through a wide range of digital and non-digital marketing efforts.
    Keywords: influencer marketing, return on investment, advertising effectiveness, social media impact