Planned Spontaneity: Real-Time Marketing You Can See Coming

When people think about real-time marketing, the first thing they think about is a “war room.” That is, a room filled with agency staffers during a big event like the Oscars—a room filled with pizza, Macbook Air laptops, and empty Starbucks cups—all in an attempt to Tweet or post the prize-winning content that will grab headlines the following morning. And while war rooms are a thing, and show no signs of going away, it’s just a small slice of the opportunity that real-time offers today’s social brands.

In this RTM Tuesday post, we’re going to talk about Planned Real-Time Marketing, or the RTM quadrant where you can see events coming and build social content before the event happens. Yes—you can do that. Let’s find out how.

So as we’ve discussed in past posts, the power behind RTM isn’t just about quick, snappy responses. Real-time works because, when it’s done correctly, it gives brands the opportunity to join relevant social conversations that are already top of mind with their audience. If brands jump on a trend and participate in conversations without trying to hijack a hashtag, they can see huge bumps in engagement from their followers. Or, said another way, their social audience loves brands that are talking about relevant stuff. Makes sense, right?

Planned RTM is the opportunity to create content around an event that marketers can see coming. Think of big events (the Super Bowl, the Emmys, etc.) and small events (National Pizza Month, St. Patricks Day, etc.) We know that these events are going to happen months in advance, but it doesn’t make the event any less relevant on the day it arrives. When brands create content around that event before it happens, and post it on the day of the event, it combines the ability to 1) pre-plan creative and 2) join a conversation the brand can be fairly confident will become a trending topic.

Flying High With Real-Time Marketing

Some good examples of Planned RTM can be found when brands jump in on trending conversations around lesser-known national holidays. As many of you might not know, August 19th is National Aviation Day. This year, we saw plenty of activity coming from aviation-related brands. I tracked the performance of 12 different brands that chimed in on the social conversation around the #NationalAviationDay hashtag and saw some impressive results.

Brands, on average, saw a bump of +568% in retweet performance as compared to their own historical averages. But averages can skew our understanding of the data—what we really want to look at is the distribution of success across all participating brands. When we look at how each brand performed, we see that 10 out of the 12 brands that jumped in on hashtag saw a bump in performance vs. their other 2014 Twitter content. Nice.

Favorites per Tweet followed the same pattern—10 of of 12 brands saw bumps, with an average 896% bump in favorites vs. historical averages. By jumping on a trending, relevant conversation, brands created and shared content that their audience responded to in huge numbers. And they didn’t need a war room to get there—this content could be planned far in advance of the August 19th post date.

With Planned RTM, You Can Plan Your Success Weeks in Advance

Planned RTM is the best of both worlds—foreseeable trending topics combined with audience engagement. Relevance always wins, and the data tells me that this is a trend that isn’t dying down anytime soon.

Chris Kerns's picture

Chris Kerns

Chris Kerns has spent more than a decade defining digital strategy and is at the forefront of finding insights from digital data. He currently leads Analytics and Research at Spredfast. His research has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today and AdWeek, among other publications.