Cadbury, the U.K.'s most popular chocolate, wanted to connect with a tech-savvy, younger audience. So they turned to Google+, offering exclusive content and one-of-a-kind experiences, like a chance to join Google Hangouts with Olympic athletes. In the end, they beat their original goal of 20,000 followers by a long shot - connecting with 1.2 million people on their page through badges, hangouts, keywords and more. Pretty sweet.
Supplying exclusive content on Google+
Use Hangouts to connect to fans
Use of social extensions in AdWords
Engage with 18 to 25 years old audience
Stand out from other sponsors
Extending reputation for creativity and innovation
17% uplift in click-through rate (CTR) across all their AdWords campaigns
Drove a consistent 10,000 new Google+ followers per day
An increase of 7.5% of traffic from Google URLs
Cadbury is the UK's number one chocolate brand and its flagship Cadbury Dairy Milk bar is the country's best-selling chocolate bar. A cherished British brand with a long heritage, Cadbury was a natural choice as the official treat provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. One of the aims of Cadbury's London 2012 programme is to engage with a younger audience of customers aged 18 to 25 years old. With the goals of interacting with this tech-savvy demographic, standing out from other sponsors and extending its reputation for creativity and innovation, Cadbury embraced Google+.
Create: Google+ Page
Jerry Daykin, Social Media Community Manager at Cadbury, explains how the team got started. "We did searches on Google+ for quite a while before our pages were launched and every day we saw people were talking about Cadbury and chocolate and the Olympics. So there was already a platform where conversations relevant to us were happening; we were just able to step in and be a part of them in a positive way."
Cadbury generates a significant quantity of creative collateral, so Jerry says it was straightforward to populate the brand's Google+ page with inspiring elements already to hand. "With every advert or new creative, early in the process we think, 'How are we going to bring this alive in social media? Is there a way for our fans to become a part of it?'" He found that little extra resource was required. "You've already got content so it's a matter of engaging around that. It's not as if we had to make a whole program from scratch. Part of it is sharing great images and videos that come out naturally from Cadbury, and part of it is just tapping into the conversations people want to have about chocolate. Because we have a lot of things going on, it's easy to have things to say."
Share: Hangouts and Circles
Cadbury's activity on the platform so far has been shaped by the desire to emphasise the brand's commitment to innovation. "We've really tried to do things that are unique to Google+," says Jerry. Cadbury has been careful to give their followers a reason to come to their Google+ page by sharing exclusive content they can't find anywhere else. For example, special edition Google+ chocolate bars were made to feature on the page and they even sculpted a chocolate version of their Google+ page. The team has also developed initiatives around some of the platform's more unusual features, including hangouts and circles.
Hangouts let Jerry set up easy-to-use video conversations connecting Cadbury fans to interesting personalities. He's used this high-quality, one-click video chat functionality to enable consumers to interact in real time with Olympic athletes and chocolate experts, and to participate in creating the replica Google+ page made out of chocolate. "Hangouts are a really great way to quite literally see people eye to eye," he observes. "At the end of the day, humans like communicating face to face don't they? With social media we've kind of been reduced to just writing to one another; it's interesting to see people's faces again." By promoting their hangouts, Cadbury grew their Google+ follower base by 150,000 people.
Different people have different interests, and circles are designed to make it easy to group followers accordingly. In this way Cadbury can tailor content that's relevant to particular segments. For example, join the Cadbury Creme Egg circle if you don't want to miss out on recipes using this product. Or join the Cadbury London 2012 circle to keep up with news around the Olympics. Meanwhile, a tasters' circle of 1,000 of Cadbury's most committed fans can contribute their valuable feedback on products and adverts.
Jerry's focus on delivering content that's "unique and exciting and cool enough that people want to share" has paid off. As the number of Cadbury followers grew, the brand's page landed on "Hot on Google+", a section that highlights selected content thought to be exemplary and interesting. That accelerated growth further, and now Cadbury has over 1.2 million followers - making its page the platform's most popular in the UK. "It's been phenomenally successful," Jerry admits. "We went into it thinking that if we could get a really engaged core of 20,000 people, try out the platform and get learnings that we could apply elsewhere, then that would be great. In fact we have over 1,000,000 people and really high levels of engagement; we've been amazed by the success."
What's different about a Hangout is that it's eye-to-eye, face-to-face contact...We can't directly connect with every person who buys our chocolate, but we can connect with some of them. Then more people see the Hangout, and feel they're part of the experience. It's a new frontier.
Promote: Google+ Badge, Social Extensions, Direct Connect
Cadbury is making a great use of identity management as well through the launch of their new Olympics Parade game, with Google+ being one of the login options. With this visitors can use their G+ profile picture to play the game. The brand also used Google+ to unveil a brand-new product launch, the Dairy Milk Bubbly bar. Cadbury's Bubbly launch through social networks such as Google+ achieved a strong impact; already sales are over £8m. And they have started using social extensions in AdWords too, which links Cadbury's Google+ page to its AdWords campaigns. Now when someone searches for "Cadbury" and sees the relevant ad, recommendations from their friends are displayed directly with it. By clicking on the social extension, users directly land on Cadbury's Google+ page. As a result of this, the company has seen a 17% uplift in click-through rate (CTR) across all their AdWords campaigns.
And since Cadbury installed the Google+ badge on its homepage, it's now easier than ever for fans to follow the brand. "We were looking at an average growth of 7,000 to 9,000 new followers a day prior to the badge, but after we had a jump to a more consistent 10,000 new followers per day," reveals Joshua Ayto, Assistant Digital Brand Manager. "When we have hangouts or really engaging activities we also get follower boosts on those days of an extra thousand or so. The Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly launch, when that went viral, led to our largest day of new followers with over 30,000 new followers on that day alone," he says. "Also, since the addition of the badge and code on www.cadbury.co.uk we've had an increase of 7.5% of traffic from Google URLs - outside of general search and campaigns." Building on their existing success with the badge on their site, Cadbury are looking to include a Google+ social stream that will pull in their most recent updates into a relaunch of their homepage.
Sonia Carter, Head of Digital within Kraft Europe, is paying close attention to how Google+ contributes to Cadbury's search results. "For the nearly million people who are connected to our page, if they go to Google.com and do a search on 'Shanaze Reade', who's one of the athletes we did a hangout with, or 'chocolate recipes' or even something as general as 'London 2012', instead of being fifteenth in the search results, we now appear fourth or fifth, or in some cases first or second." According to Sonia, the capacity for optimising their search in this way is one of the many advantages to early adoption of the platform. "It's still early days," she says, "so you get cut-through, exposure and an opportunity to connect with people in a different way. I think for brands that are willing to try, the opportunity's there to shine. And although there are risks going into new territory, if you do go in early you stand out."
This is clearly the case when trying to find Cadbury's Google+ page in Google search. Thanks to the direct connect functionality, the page is easily findable and visible when typing "+Cadbury" in the search box, allowing users to quickly navigate to it, and add it to their circles.