Waitrose wins the social media supermarket war this Christmas

22 Dec 2011  |  Liz Jaques 
Starcom MediaVest Group logo

Waitrose is winning the social media battle this Christmas, converting the most online visitors into paying customers and brand advocates, according to the latest Supermarket UK study from Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG).

The research shows that Waitrose, with its focus on engaging content, is having a far higher impact on consumer behaviour than rivals Sainsbury's and Tesco.

The study also revealed that shoppers taking an action on a supermarket Facebook page are twice as likely to shop there this Christmas, with 87% intending purchase compared to 43% of those that just visit the page.

On YouTube this is even greater, with 89% of those interacting online planning purchase, versus 36%. The insight also shows Twitter activity is a strong sign of brand commitment, with 92% of followers and 93% of those tweeting about a brand intending purchase this Christmas.

The research, undertaken in late November 2011, uses SMG's proprietary research tool to measure the value of a fan on social media. The Social Media Behaviour Index (SMBI) has analysed the strategies of the 'Big 6' supermarkets in the UK - Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's, ASDA, Morrisons and the Co-Operative.

SMBI looks beyond a 'like', investigating the value of social media actions - for example posting a comment, viewing a video, playing a game, tweeting or entering a competition. It provides brands with a benchmark to help improve content to influence brand advocacy and purchase intent. So the higher the SMBI score, the more opportunities have been identified to improve influence and the lower the score, the less opportunity because the brand is already doing well here.

Click here to see the full research presentation.

Supermarket UK - Social Media Behavioural Index of Facebook - Nov 2011

Supermarket SMBI

Jim Kite, strategic development director at Starcom MediaVest Group, said: "In a difficult economic environment every pound spent on media and marketing is scrutinised closely for return on investment. Last Christmas the big six supermarkets spent a combined £69 million on media support for their festive campaigns, and all indications are pointing toward a similar investment in 2011. Yet up until now, no one has been able to measure the impact of social media with any certainty.

"Waitrose will therefore be very pleased to see SMBI independently verifying that its increased investment in social media this Christmas is converting site visitors into paying customers and brand advocates at a higher rate than its competitors. Waitrose's clever mix of cooking videos and recipes from well-known cooks, expert Q&A, and interactive step-by-step Christmas roast planner are clearly resonating strongly with site visitors and adding value to their shopping experience. By comparison, the Tesco and Sainsbury's content is having less impact on consumer behaviour."

To read the full SMG blog, click here.

The SMBI tool measures responses to brand content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Since June 2011, it has measured the responses of 8,000 consumers to 37 brands in seven categories, including 1,500 people across a mix of age and social grades in the retail sector.

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