80% Of Consumers Say Brand Awareness Makes Them More Likely To Buy On Social

Retail social commerce sales in the US are projected to more than double 2020 levels at $56 billion by 2023 and will reach $80 billion by 2025, according to eMarketer

According to Sprout Social’s latest research, 65 percent of shoppers have already made purchases directly through social media. The firm surveyed 1,000 US consumers to understand their motivations for buying on social media, as well as how brands can remain competitive as they start investing in the new frontier of social commerce.

Brand Awareness: Key To Driving More Social Media Purchases 

This year saw 71 percent of consumers spend more time on social media than they did in 2020. Of those Sprout Social surveyed, 34 percent reported using social media to learn about brands, products and services.

Many consumers turn to social channels for a quick and easy resource to learn about a brand and conduct product research, which is one reason why maintaining a consistent and prominent social presence (and reputation) is imperative for brands.

The research also shows that to earn a greater ROI on social, brands should prioritize discoverability by incorporating paid and organic strategies. That’s because 80 percent of consumers state that brand familiarity (i.e., knowledge of the brand) makes them more likely to buy on social. In addition, Sprout Social’s data found a positive correlation between time spent on social media and purchase likelihood based on familiarity with a brand.

It turns out audiences are very receptive to paid media as respondents ranked in-feed ads as the most common method of finding new products to buy, followed by discovery pages and story ads.

Consumers Use Social Commerce To Treat Themselves

Social commerce provides users some respite from reality, according to Sprout Social. Seventy-one percent of consumers are most likely to resort to retail therapy when on social media while 16 percent are more likely to shop for family when buying directly from social media. Only one percent reported shopping for friends via social media.

Many US consumers are now shopping for the lifestyle they envision for themselves post-pandemic. Of the products that consumers are most likely to purchase through social commerce, apparel (45 percent) tops the list followed by media (26 percent). Apps subscriptions, books, food and beverages and jewelry and other accessories are tied at 23 percent followed by cosmetics at 22 percent. Men are less likely to shop for arts and crafts, cosmetics and jewelry, but more likely to shop for app subscriptions and electronics.

Rethink Product Listings

Sprout Social found that user-generated content (UGC) is the most effective method of converting prospects into customers. Viewing a product in action is the second-most effective approach, followed by pricing information, polished photography and coupons and promo codes.

According to the data, Facebook (75 percent) is the platform consumers are most likely to buy from, followed by Instagram (41 percent), YouTube (40 percent), TikTok (21 percent) and Pinterest (21 percent). Of the platforms included in the survey, Twitch (6 percent) was the one that consumers are least likely to use for social commerce. 

Facebook and YouTube’s shoppable live video formats help brands disseminate an engaging home shopping experience for consumers in the modern age. Brands can rethink product listings by repurposing existing social content to make it more shoppable while also producing higher quality complementary resources that can be engaged in the future.

Candy Crush Appoints Fernanda Romano Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, King has hired Fernanda Romano as Candy Crush’s chief marketing officer, Discord’s CMO Tesa Aragones exits, PepsiCo hires Jane Wakely as chief consumer and marketing officer and more.

Candy Crush Names Fernanda Romano Chief Marketing Officer

King has appointed Fernanda Romano chief marketing officer for its mobile game Candy Crush, according to Adweek.

Romano joins Candy Crush from Havaianas’ parent company Alpargatas where she served as vice president of marketing and global innovation.

Discord Chief Marketing Officer Tesa Aragones Exits

Discord’s chief marketing officer Tesa Aragones has stepped down after joining the company in September 2020. According to Forbes, chief executive Jason Citron will serve as interim chief marketing officer until a replacement is found.

PepsiCo Hires Jane Wakely As Chief Consumer And Marketing Officer

PepsiCo has named Mars Petcare veteran Jane Wakely as executive vice president, chief consumer and marketing officer and chief growth officer for their international foods division.

Lead chief marketing officer and chief marketing officer of pet nutrition was the most recent position Wakely held at Mars, where she worked for the past 20 years.

Scholastic Taps Mary Beech As Chief Marketing And Transformation Officer

Scholastic has appointed Mary Beech to the newly created role of chief marketing and transformation officer.

Beech has been an independent director on Scholastic’s Board since 2018, a role from which she’ll resign as she assumes her new position.

Beech most recently served as the chief executive officer of Sarah Flint and previously served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Kate Spade New York.

Candy Digital Appoints Andre Llewellyn Chief Marketing Officer

Candy Digital has named former Instagram global brand marketing manager Andre Llewellyn chief marketing officer.

As one of the first hires on Instagram’s brand marketing team, Llewellyn spearheaded the launches of Instagram Shopping and Instagram Stories.

He also led the development of real-time marketing and social strategy at Procter & Gamble while working on Tide.

Gen Z’s Weekly Usage Of TikTok Surpasses Instagram

Weekly TikTok usage is surging among young Americans while the group’s weekly usage on Instagram declines, according to new Forrester data.

The Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics US Youth Survey 2021 shows that TikTok usage among US Gen Z jumped from 50 percent to 63 percent year-over-year whereas Instagram weekly usage declined from 61 percent last year to 57 percent this year. Snapchat remained stagnant at 54 percent.

Forrester asked parents to find out from their 12 to 17-year-olds what about TikTok they enjoy more than other social media platforms, and it came down to these three factors:

Entertainment Value

Respondents frequently used the word “fun” and “funny” when discussing TikTok, with one saying TikTok “has funnier videos.”

Short-Form Variety

Given the platform’s endless scroll of short clips, US-based Gen Zers view TikTok as a fun way to pass the time.

Positive Self Expression

Several Gen Z respondents cited the “positivity of TikTok” and emphasized their ability to freely express themselves on the app, some of who are aspiring creators.

Still, Forrester’s data show that YouTube is the top social media app among Gen Z in terms of weekly usage, with 72 percent of respondents saying they use the platform at least weekly, marking a three-point increase from 2020.

Twitter Announces New Live Shopping Platform With Walmart

Walmart is celebrating one year of livestreams with its first shoppable livestream on Twitter, making it the first retailer to try the platform’s new ecommerce feature, Live Shopping on Twitter. Walmart has spent the last year investing in live shopping through events across social platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Beginning at 7 p.m. EST on November 28, Walmart’s Cyber Deals live event will begin, allowing users to watch a live broadcast while shopping featured products and engaging in conversation with tweets. Users will not only be able to shop on Twitter, but also on other platforms like Walmart.com, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. 

The event, which Twitter is using as the initial test of its new Live Shopping on Twitter in the US, will be hosted by musician turned creator Jason Derulo, who’s also the 12th most-followed creator on the platform. Derulo will be introducing the audience to deals on electronics, seasonal decor, home goods and apparel during his 30-minute variety show, complete with surprise special guests.

The news comes on the heels of TikTok’s recent launch of TikTok Shopping, a set of advertising tools that will allow brands to engage with customers in a more meaningful way, perhaps as Twitter fights to remain viable in the ever-changing social-meets-ecommerce space. 

While TikTok recently surpassed 1 billion monthly active users (MAU), Twitter is trailing with 211 million global monetizable daily active users (mDAU) and 330 million MAU (before the company discontinued reporting on the metric), according to Statista.

Nevertheless, Walmart is taking full advantage of Twitter’s new livestream shopping platform along with any other shoppable platform available. It hosted its first shoppable livestream in December 2020 via a TikTok partnership on its Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular event. That was after its plans to invest in the video app fell through after courts blocked Trump’s executive order that would have forced a sale of TikTok’s US operations.

Still, the event delivered Walmart 7x more views than it had anticipated and grew the account by 25 percent, marking a huge success for the retailer. Walmart ran a second event a few months later. To date, Walmart has hosted more than 15 livestream events across five major platforms including its own website.

The new Live Shopping on Twitter platform builds upon Twitter’s existing shopping products and livestream capabilities, as well as upon its previous tests of a Shop Module. It will feature a live broadcast that streams atop a Live Event page, a Shoppable Banner and Shop Tab. Users can switch between the “Latest” and the “Shop” tab as they view products during the event. And when set to purchase, users will be directed to the retailer’s website within the in-app browser as the livestream continues uninterrupted. In Twitter remaining loyal to its roots, the new live shopping platform will also feature a textbox so that users can tweet about the livestream with a suggested hashtag.

Twitter’s Shop Module, launched earlier this year, offered brands and retailers the option to showcase products directly on their profiles. This feature tested whether there would be demand for shopping on Twitter with Gamestop and Arden Cove, among others.

Walmart’s Twitter livestream strengthens its continued venture into live shopping through the 2021 holiday season. According to the retailer, it has over 30 shoppable livestream events planned on platforms like BuzzFeed, Facebook, Youtube, IGN and more.

Bringing Learning To Life With Author Kimberly Whitler

Kimberly Whitler is the Frank M. Sands Sr. Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia

In this episode, Kim and I talk about the release of her new book Positioning for Advantage, which has been ranked number one in product management on Amazon. We also discuss what positioning is and what value marketers have to a business. Kim’s opinion is to keep it simple. She says, “I think a lot of marketing is about making the choices that put you in the best position to win. A big part of that is you have to execute effectively, and complication often is the enemy of being able to implement.” 

Later in the episode we also discuss influencers and how they can positively impact a business. Kim also shares her opinion on purpose and whether purpose may or may not be something your brand should be focused on.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring learning to real-life situations
  • Creating a sustainable advantage for your organization
  • How influencers can be a key element to a marketing plan

Key Highlights:

  • [01:34] Kim’s worst job ever
  • [03:05] From marketing practitioner to academia
  • [06:14] Why Kim wrote a book
  • [11:13] What do marketers contribute to firm performance? 
  • [13:12] Creating a sustainable advantage 
  • [15:11] Forcing marketing choices
  • [20:28] How Kim thinks about influencers
  • [25:11] Weaponizing word of mouth
  • [30:50] An experience that defines Kim, makes who she is today
  • [33:40] Kim’s advice to her younger self
  • [35:14] The brands and organizations Kim follows
  • [38:34] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers today

Resources Mentioned: 

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Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

A List Games To Create Live Service Games Within The Ayzenberg Group

A List Games, the game publisher backed by Ayzenberg Group, has announced its plans to start creating evergreen, live service video game franchises and offer developers full-service publishing efforts, funding, mentoring and AAA marketing.

A List’s core team was formed following two decades of experience helping the biggest industry names bring dozens of hit titles to market including Bethesda Softworks, ArenaNet, Blizzard and Electronic Arts. From performance marketing and influencer relations to social media and localization, A List Games offers publishing resources to smaller live service games that are otherwise unobtainable.

“We publish live service games because we love building and inspiring communities. By making sure the community comes first, we can focus when, where and how we use Ayzenberg’s creative might to drive player engagement and retention, strengthening the relationships between players and game developers,” said A List Games senior vice president Steve Fowler.

Fowler, who’s also the founder of AListDaily, has been in the video game industry for over 23 years working on the marketing and publishing side.

Hell is Others and Kingshunt, A List Games’ first two multiplayer games, are tentatively scheduled to launch on PC for Steam in 2022. Hell is Others is a top-down shooter requiring players to survive, harvest and farm in a noirish, Lovecraftian world featuring a blood-fueled economy. Kingshunt is a third-person multiplayer online battle arena where players can summon fierce minions and place powerful towers.

“A List understands gaming audiences, game developers and the need to grow a game in an authentic manner. Their marketing prowess and mentorship give us the confidence that Hell is Others can be a great success,” Strelka chief executive Pietro De Grandi said in a press release.

A List Games’ ultimate goal is to grow communities, raise awareness, create and execute launch campaigns to help partners’ games rise above the crowded market.  The new live service game publisher will leverage Ayzenberg’s 250-person team, which creates for clients such as Amazon Game Studios, Blizzard, CCP, Nexon, Proletariat, Riot and Xbox.

“A List offered us much-needed experience in marketing, community building and using data to improve our game. Their commitment to helping us deliver on our creative vision and help us grow a real community around Kingshunt has been fantastic,” Teemu Jykinen, president and studio head of Vaki Games said.

Interested developers who think their game would benefit from A List Games publishing can learn more on the A List Games website or follow the company on LinkedIn.

Visa Global Chief Marketing Officer Lynne Biggar Resigns

This week in leadership updates, Visa global chief marketing officer Lynne Biggar steps down, CarGurus replaces Sarah Welch with Dafna Sarnoff as chief marketing officer and Paramount elevates Marc Weinstock to run one unified domestic and foreign marketing division.

Visa Global Chief Marketing Officer Lynne Biggar Departs

Lynne Biggar will step down as Visa’s executive vice president and global chief marketing officer in early 2022 after having served in the role for six years.

Biggar previously worked at Time Inc. as executive vice president of consumer marketing and revenue after having spent over 21 years with American Express in various senior executive roles.

CarGurus Hires Dafna Sarnoff As Chief Marketing Officer

Dafna Sarnoff will replace Sarah Welch as CarGurus’ chief marketing officer on December 8, 2021.

Before joining CarGurus, Sarnoff served as chief marketing officer and other senior marketing leadership roles at Aura, Intersection, Web.com and Yodle.

Paramount Restructures Marketing Team With Marc Weinstock At The Helm

Paramount Pictures has tapped Marc Weinstock, worldwide marketing and distribution president, to lead a unified marketing and distribution as the company eliminates 44 positions.

The restructuring has caused the departure of Paramount executive vice president Cameron Saunders, who ran distribution and marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mary Daily, marketing co-president, worldwide marketing and distribution, has also exited.

Trend Set: Nike, Spotify, WeTransfer

A look at the trends shaping culture this week from Ayzenberg Jr. Strategist of Cultural Science Ashley Otah.


Game on. Warner Bros. Games has officially announced “MultiVersus,” a platform fighter game that allows iconic characters and worlds to collide like never before. The free-to-play game follows a similar pattern of collaboration where previously there might have been pushback (i.e., Gucci x Balenciaga). The intertwining of complex stories and brands leaves a promising future for the next generation of collaboration.


Meaningful move into mental health. Nike unveils a new content series, titled “Nike Mind Sets,” that will live within training apps and clubs. The series aims to focus on how you feel—not what you achieve—and follows an uptick in brands foraying into the mental health and wellness space. While much-needed, consumers hope for these efforts to be made authentically and transparently.


All things audio. Spotify announced its plans to acquire audiobook platform Findaway, its partnership with Musixmatch to offer lyrics, and its addition of active listening experiences. The audio streaming service continues to make its platform accessible and all-consuming. The frontrunner with the future of audio in mind is showcasing that democratization across entertainment spaces is top of mind for many.


Taking the top spot. Citing funnier and more positive content young Americans are taking to TikTok more than Instagram, according to Forrester’s survey. While Instagram and other social platforms have begun incorporating TikTok-like features and incentivizing short-form content to rival the billion monthly active users behemoth, it is becoming increasingly clear that TikTok is rewiring user behavior and creating a unique experience.


Thinking critically and creatively. 50% of Gen Z respondents cite mental health as the main creative distraction during the pandemic; 60% are thinking of switching jobs in the next six months; and 75% of Gen Z respondents believe brands should commit to climate, racial, and social justice issues. WeTransfer’s Fourth Annual Report tracks important trends facing the global creative workforce. Among its top finding are those fired up and ready to make a change, although citing mounting pressure. The study showcases a shifting worldwide landscape and gives an insightful forecast for the future.

Vita Coco Teams Up With Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Vita Coco and Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons and new Animal Crossing: New Horizons—Happy Home Paradise DLC have teamed up for an online sweepstakes and limited edition Vita Coco bottle featuring Animal Crossing branding.

The sweepstakes, running from now until January 15th, 2022, gives more than 100 consumers the chance to win one of 15 grand prizes including Nintendo Switch systems and download codes for the digital version of the Animal Crossings: New Horizons game.

In addition, 25 winners will receive the first prize consisting of a Vita Coco x Animal Crossing: New Horizons-themed kit and 50 winners will receive the second prize, a $25 credit for Vita Coco merchandise sold online. 

As part of the collaboration, players will also be able to harvest coconuts in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, giving their characters the strength to perform tasks like breaking rocks and digging up trees. 

Paid DLC for the game allows players to join Lottie’s Paradise Planning team and travel to a resort island with a diverse set of landscapes. There, players will be in charge of inviting characters as clients and helping them build their dream vacation homes with different terrain and climate options. The open-ended social simulation was first released in 2020, with its most recent iteration marking the fifth main entry of the series.

To promote the collaboration, Vita Coco has created its first-ever limited edition bottle for the holiday season. The new bottle—on which coconuts will be replaced with Animal Crossing’s coconut trees – will be sold at retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Ralph’s, Kroger, CVS and more, from now through December 31.

Vita Coco, which reported Q3 net sales of $292.9 million, made its public debut on Nasdaq on October 21, trading under the ticker COCO with 11.5 million shares sold at $15.00 per share.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which was released exclusively on Nintendo Switch in March 2020, currently boasts lifetime sales of 34.85 million units, according to Statista.

82% Of Consumers Make Purchase Decisions With Purpose In Mind

Eighty-two percent of consumers make purchase decisions with purpose in mind. That’s according to a new report from Razorfish and Vice Media Group. “The Truth, Myths and Nuances Behind Purpose” aims to understand how consumers of varying generations and demographics relate to purpose when making purchase decisions and in determining brand loyalty.

Razorfish and Vice Media Group conducted three phases of research in the US between May and June 2021, including in-depth phone interviews, an online survey of 900 individuals and testing and analysis of a subset of 150 participants across demographics. Gen Z, millennials and Gen X were evenly represented across respondents.

According to the research, Gen Z is a driving force behind the call for change. They prioritize purpose when making purchase decisions, as 76 percent state that the brands they support stand for a greater mission or have a higher purpose. Additionally, Gen Z is twice and three times as likely to cite brands – rather than media companies and institutions – as having the power to make the world a better place, as compared to millennials and Gen X, respectively.

This report also shows that millennials and Gen X are sufficiently similar in this context such that brands shouldn’t focus their purpose efforts exclusively on Gen Z. Among the respondents, 62 percent report that a brand’s values are important or very important in helping them make purchase decisions, regardless of age. 

Of those respondents, 40 percent actively research a brand’s values and practices. And of the elements these consumers take into consideration when choosing which brand to buy from, brand purpose (41 percent) outweighs both innovation (32 percent) and discounts (26 percent).

Purpose-driven buying isn’t necessarily new but the pandemic has caused a stark shift in consumers’ priorities when shopping and the number of consumers that care. Yet despite the fact that greater importance is placed on purpose and by more consumers, brands’ efforts in this regard seem to be falling flat, according to the report.

“We’re at the peak of purpose washing, and it’s imperative that brands not only clearly communicate their purpose but authentically put it into practice in everything they do. Brands are beyond the ‘why’ and are struggling with the ‘how’ to follow through and tie purpose to performance,” said Nicolas Chidiac, brand strategy lead at Razorfish.

The study shares three key takeaways:

  • Consumers are paying attention to mission and purpose as 82 percent of respondents stated that the brands they support stand for a greater mission or purpose.
  • Consumers care about societal and personal benefits as 76 percent of respondents stated that the brands they buy make the world a better place while 67 percent reported that the brands they buy make them a better person.
  • Purpose is amplified by proximity as 40 percent of respondents stated that buying local food or drinks became more important to them during the pandemic, while 70 percent agreed that it’s important or extremely important for brands to give back to their local community.

Brands in the post-COVID era have the opportunity, and in a sense, an obligation, to match their words with positive action. Razorfish recommends brands act on the following three priorities to keep pace with changing consumer sentiment toward purpose and purchasing:

  • Be authentic and determine where you stand in regard to personal and societal issues so that you may serve your consumer and limit “purpose appropriation” (which will lead to an erosion of consumer trust).
  • Take small steps before big leaps by focusing on what you can do to have an immediate impact on your local community while also recognizing the power of your voice.
  • Reduce the time it takes for consumers to discover your purpose by displaying it across all touchpoints.