Starwood’s Crazy Facebook ROI and 5 Other Surprising Brand Reveals

Marketers show off tactics and data at I-Com confab

Headshot of Christopher Heine

The mid-morning session of the 5th I-Com Global Summit was a bit of a beauty contest in Seville, Spain, as marketers shared case studies for the event's Data Creativity Awards.

Here were the six biggest brand reveals:

  1. Starwoods Hotels got $2 million in bookings in Asia thanks to targeted Facebook page post ads on a budget of roughly $40,000. Digital shop Brand Karma presented those numbers along with the eyebrow-raising claim that the social ads at times produced as high as a 50X return on investment. The initiative is going global due to the results, per Brand Karma co-founder Mario Jobbe. With brands' organic reach apparently on the downturn, Starwood's results at least provide hope for companies with a big social media budget.
  2. While Johnson & Johnson considers Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to be important platforms, marketers for the packaged goods company said they get the best data about mothers from J&J-owned BabyCenter. From teething issues to infant items, moms simply share more on the brand's in-house social community, providing invaluable intel. "We know that one-third of [mothers] have their second child between months 18 and 24," offered Summer Schiavo, a global insights director for J&J.
  3. Indian bank Axis doubled its digital ads spend last year, while increasing brand awareness by 12 percent and customer considerations by 4 percent. Aarti Bharadwaj, vp of analytics at the brand's media shop, Starcom MediaVest, explained to Adweek that it wasn't easy getting the client on board because marketing in India is even more dominated by TV and print than it is in the United States. She talks about changing the brand's strategy in an Instagram video below.
  4. Aren't branded mobile apps essentially dead in the water? Not if your marketing for Brita, as agency Rapp presented to the audience a case for gamification. "We found that people need to be convinced that their water filter needs to be [regularly] changed," said Loren Grossman, Rapp's global strategy chief. So they award points when Brita customers check their filter, clean it, etc. Though it would have been nice if Grossman revealed the app's actual number of users.
  5. Nova Spivack, CEO of Bottlenose, said that only 10 percent of Twitter users permit location-based targeting, according to his politics-focused data firm's findings.
  6. Overheard in the hall: Mobile banner ads get markedly better engagement on Sunday mornings for automotive brands. It's apparently the time of the week when smartphone-tethered consumers are feeling unusually aspirational.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.