Celebrity endorsements are a popular way for larger brands to increase loyalty and brand awareness. Brands know that consumer buying decisions can be influenced by a star’s approval of a product or service. However, celebrity endorsements are expensive and depending on the celebrity, can cause negative opinions to be projected onto the brand. So, are celebrity endorsements worth the cost? More specifically, do celebrity endorsements help increase online engagement?
To do this, we decided to take a look at the social influence of five celebrity TV endorsements for brands that debuted in March and April of this year. We wanted to see increases in clicking and sharing content, changes in social networks used to share the brand’s content, and changes in Twitter and Facebook followers to determine whether or not the celebrity endorsements are worthwhile.
The five brands we looked at were Garnier, E-Trade, Coco Mademoiselle, Amazon Fire TV, and Activia. Their celebrity endorsers are Tina Fey, Kevin Spacey, Keira Knightley, Gary Busey, and Shakira, respectively.
For the five brands we researched, clicking and sharing content for the brand increased significantly during the week the commercial was released online. Content engagement for each brand increased by the following amounts during the week of the commercial’s online release:
- Activia: 600%
- E-Trade: 200%
- Amazon Fire TV: 165%
- Coco Mademoiselle: 110%
The Tina Fey Garnier Skincare commercial was released on April 17, and we saw a 700% increase in shares for that day. However, we also see strong increases in content engagement in May and July that are related to coupons and new Garnier products. Tina Fey’s endorsement did drive brand engagement, but other brand efforts increased social engagement as well.
Celebrity endorsements can also be used to drive a new target audience to engage with the brand. We looked at the social services users used to share the brand’s content during the commercial release and for the brand overall to see if the campaign altered sharing habits.
For all five brands, the sharing service of choice for the brand did not change as a result of a celebrity endorsement. For example, Activia content is typically most shared to Facebook, and Activia content was most shared to Facebook when the Shakira endorsement commercial was released. In fact, the percentage of shares to Facebook the week of the commercial debut compared to other weeks was almost identical!
Garnier and E-Trade both had active Twitter and Facebook pages early in the year, and both commercials were released in mid-April. If clicking and sharing content increased significantly during the week of the commercial release, did that translate to an increase in Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers? For Garnier, the percentage increase in Twitter and Facebook followers for the months of March and April were within tenths of a percentage of each other, meaning Tina Fey’s endorsement had little effect on brand social followers. E-Trade’s Facebook Likes grew slightly more in April than in March, but the increase in Twitter followers grew by a smaller percentage than it did in March.
So, back to the question: do celebrity endorsements work in getting brands more online engagement? In these cases, a celebrity endorsement impacting specifically online engagement did make a dent in the sharing/clicking scale, but other events (e.g. coupons and promotions) had similar effect. The social service used to share a brand’s content remained the same, and social followers do not strongly spike as a result of a celebrity endorsement.
That’s not to say celebrity endorsement don’t work for other brands. It is possible to achieve great content engagement without a celebrity endorsement, and there are alternatives for reaching new audiences online. But celebrities have been helpful in getting no-name brands on the map––that’d be interesting to look into.
Are you looking to reach a new audience online without the hefty price tag of a celebrity endorsement? Check out our services and how we can help you find the right audience.