Why social media analytics tell you very little about effectiveness

October 2018

The recently launched ‘Priceless Eyes’ campaign from Specsavers was a social experiment asking participants to put a monetary value on their eyes. The goal was to shock people into realising how important their eyes are, and subsequently take better care of them (starting with an eye test from Specsavers, of course!).

The campaign, however, was met with a deluge of criticism on social media.

This aroused our curiosity at Cubery HQ, as we often speak to apprehensive clients who have put a new campaign to air, only for it receive a less than optimal response via social media.

Using social media to evaluate the performance of a campaign is problematic, because there is no way of ascertaining whether the commentators represent a vocal minority, or if they accurately reflect the views of the broader population. The only way to meaningfully answer that question is to get feedback from a balanced representation of the target audience.

So, in order to satisfy our curiosity, we tested the full 4min 11sec online-only video to find out the answer. In summary, ‘Priceless Eyes’ is an extremely effective piece of video content, and highlights exactly why relying on social media analytics alone can be fraught with danger.

Central to the video’s success was a powerful story arc, which took viewers on a roller-coaster of high-intensity emotions. These ranged from anxiety, sadness and guilt at being faced with the uncomfortable truth that we take our eyes for granted, through to amazement, inspiration and amusement following the relief felt when revealed it was a social experiment.

“How it got an emotional reaction from me. It made me realise I couldn’t travel, see my family’s faces or even function properly without my sight”
“The mum who said she needed to see her kids play soccer was very touching”

While we often see videos over a minute in length struggle to retain viewer interest and engagement (which is particularly important when being placed in skippable formats), ‘Priceless Eyes’ kept people on the edge of their seats through to the end. To put the video’s level of engagement into perspective, over four-fifths of viewers described it as distinctive, while an even higher number found it interesting.

“It showed real people being set up which I find interesting. It was not knowing how they were going to react to the question. It kept me watching, it was unique and informative”
“It’s a very different approach to encouraging people to look after their eyesight”

Tapping into the powerful insight that we take our eyesight for granted struck a powerful chord with viewers. Not only did the video motivate people to get their eyes checked more regularly, but the jolting narrative also inspired them to talk about and share the content with others.

“I have got glasses from Specsavers and even though they have sent me reminders I need to go for another eye test, I keep putting it off due to being so busy. It was a wakeup call for me. Well done Specsavers”
“…it was a good reminder to how we neglect our pair of (PRICELESS) eyes & that we need to take good care of them before it’s too late – an eye check-up is not a big task to do & as SPECSAVERS are open to a free eye test (with a due appointment)!!!”

When developing content which is a departure from an entrenched theme like ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’, it is critical to leverage whatever brand assets you have available. Even more important is giving the brand a memorable role in the narrative. Specsavers gave every other advertiser a lesson in how to do this, with the ‘Vesper Sacs’ anagram morphing into ‘Specsavers’ at the peak of viewer engagement – when participants were told that it was a setup. The brand-reveal at this emotional climax ensures Specsavers will be caked into people’s long-term memories, with branding further bolstered by the mock logo leveraging the brand’s iconic green cues.

A Cubery Rating of 68 (a prediction of the brand and business impact of the video) placed ‘Priceless Eyes’ in the top 30th percentile of our video content database for effectiveness.

Specsavers Priceless Eyes - Video Content - Advertising Testing

This is a self-funded case study using our Advertising Testing solution.

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