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Gap heats up customer acquisition with commerce-enabled promoted tweets

Gap promoted tweets for its Summer Loves campaign are reaching Macy’s fans on Twitter and include an easy way to make a purchase, helping the retailer to attract new customers and close the loop with a transaction.

While the strategy is a clever way to leverage social for new customer acquisition, it misses the mark by not extending the reach into mobile, with the promoted tweets appearing only on Macy’s Twitter page on desktop. Gap’s Summer Loves campaign supports its new summer apparel offerings with the goal of attracting the attention of millennials through the use of mobile and social.

“It’s certainly a smart strategy to use search intent to intercept consumers in the path to purchase with complementary audience targeting in the retail space,” said Doug Chavez, global head of marketing research and content for Kenshoo, San Francisco.

“Whether that search intent comes from traditional search engines like Google or social channels like Twitter, when consumers express interest in a product or brand, savvy marketers can leverage that information to direct that interest to their brands and away from the competition.”

Mr. Chavez is not affiliated with Gap. He spoke based on his expertise on the subject.

Gap did not respond to press inquiries.

Digital signage
Marketers at Gap are extending reach and amplifying its messaging by promoting Tweets to Macy’s followers, who are similar to its own.

Instead of bidding on expensive keywords, Gap is the center of attention on a site that is already highly positioned for the keywords it may want. Also, the traffic from these ads is prequalified and in its niche, which conveniently funnels directly to Gap.

Potential customers who click through the ads on desktop are redirected to a branded Web site that lets them further digest and purchase the featured products online.

However, when accessed on mobile, the targeted ads do not appear, which is surprising, given a growing majority of social users engage on their mobile devices. For many, mobile is the primary device for accessing their favorite social network.

As to why Gap might change up their channel strategy, Mr. Chavez suggests the company may have different targeting goals between mobile and desktop.

“Usually, publishers offer ads native to specific platforms. Twitter offers particular ad types for desktop and other ad types for mobile,” Mr. Chavez said.

“If a marketer set up their campaign to focus on a particular ad type or particular consumer, the ads seen on one many not appear on the other. This method of targeting usually aligns with the marketer’s campaign goals.”

Two-way conversation
If a brand’s audience is conversing on social media about a topic for which there is an opportunity to produce contextually relevant and timely content, the time to publish is during the height of these engagements, which for Gap is the re-acquaintance with summer wardrobes and offers something to share, comment on or support.

Throughout social media, Gap’s latest global movement features summer pieces as styled by popular and budding musical artists known for doing what they love.

Embodying the power of individuality and personal passion, the #summerloves advertising campaign combines mobile and social to drive traffic towards online and in-store sales via visually appealing media which features fresh comfortable looks tailored to warm weather lovin.’

The popular retailer is also targeting consumers with mobile in-app banner advertisements, which are being pushed to users within a certain range of its stores. The notifications inform fans of their proximity to a Gap location and showcase up-and-coming musicians wearing new summer styles (see story).

Social success
The summer loves initiative is smart in it is likely to catch the attention of potential customers with ads served on channels where millennials spend most of their online time.

The previously implemented mobile banner ads run within the AP News mobile site and include animation to show two pieces of creative — one with the hashtag #Summerloves and one that shows how far away the nearest store is.

Clicking on the ad brings up a branded landing page that pulls in the map information for the three closest Gap locations. Each location can be clicked on to view a map of the store and directions.

There is also a call-to-action along the bottom of the page that directs traffic to a #Summerloves microsite.

The microsite lets consumers view and shop Gap look books with the celebrities.

Big buttons along the bottom of the screen show campaign images that let consumers either locate an item in-store or buy it via Gap’s mobile site by clicking through. The price of the item is also displayed in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Mobile advertising continues to appear to be of importance to Gap, especially when it comes to combining these types of social content with commerce.

In March, the brand ran an iPad ad campaign to promote its blogger program to drive sales (see story).

Additionally, an executive laid out Gap’s mobile and social strategy last year at eTail West, emphasizing that consumers respond better to Instagram posts than traditional marketing assets in some campaigns (see story).

Doubling down
The new advertising campaign is part of a bigger marketing move from Gap to revamp its online and in-store experiences.

Gap announced a three-year $300 million investment into digital that will begin with a new responsive site in April (see story).

In addition to simply driving in-store traffic, Gap’s efforts are also an attempt to scout out consumers that can be turned into loyalty members from a young age.

As consumers have adopted mobile social, brands and marketers have followed suit.

“More and more marketers are utilizing targeted native ads because it’s an effective strategy for reaching consumers where they’re at.”

“Again, it’s about leveraging consumer search intent to serve relevant ads they’ll engage with. If consumers are searching on social channels like Twitter, it makes sense that marketers would follow suit and utilize these channels as well.”

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York