Despite issues like brand safety and ‘signal loss’ – a term used in the ad industry to refer to attribution difficulties in the wake of new privacy and anti-tracking measures – social media remains a priority for marketers who are eager to reach engaged consumers.

Marketers are also using contextual advertising to do so, creating ads that are informed by the content that the user is consuming.

While budgets were tightened last year, a new report by Mediaocean suggests that investment in social advertising is set to increase in 2023. The top three trends for the year were listed as ‘TikTok and social video’, cited by 63% of respondents, followed by ‘CTV and streaming’ (54%) and ‘ecommerce everywhere’ (47%). Mediaocean notes the intersection of all three, commenting on the “burgeoning trend of connecting shopping with social video.”

Brands are creating ads that feel authentic to users, and that drive both awareness as well as sales. Let’s look at some recent examples in FMCG including TikTok, shoppable video and AR enabled packaging.

Magic Spoon’s influencer partnerships on TikTok

Marketers recognise the importance of adapting campaigns for different platforms. One brand to do this is Magic Spoon – a direct-to-consumer cereal brand that aims to recreate childhood favourites in a healthier way.

The brand, which launched in 2019, consistently uses social media to effectively target different audience demographics. On Facebook, for example, Magic Spoon typically uses product-focused ads to drive sales. It does this by promoting its product to health-conscious users, creating ads that combine eye-catching visuals and engaging copy. It’s ‘Us/Them’ ad was one of the first examples of its kind, with the brand positioning its zero sugar, high protein cereal as alternative to sweeter, higher carb products.

What are FMCG brands doing to make sure online shoppers convert?

On TikTok, Magic Spoon uses social video to tap into more niche communities on the platform, such as young mums, millenials, and fans of nostalgia. Influencers are also crucial to its TikTok strategy, helping the brand to position itself in a more authentic way.

In partnership with influencer agency, Ubiquitous, Magic Spoon ran a 30-day integrated video campaign featuring select mid-size influencers in ‘native’ style ads. This meant that each influencer was able to naturally showcase how they use the product in every day life (such as ‘What I Eat In a Day’ videos), rather than creating an ad purely built around the product itself. Ubiquitous says the influencer campaign resulted in 10.8m impressions, a 38% engagement rate, and a $2.30 CPM.

This success has since informed Magic Spoon’s TikTok strategy, which continues to drive engagement through influencer partnerships, user-generated, and behind-the-scenes content. Crucially, its approach shapes both organic content and paid ads, with both designed to promote relatability rather than polished brand advertising.


what i eat in a day ft.@Magic Spoon ์ ᴗ ์ #whatieatinaday #whatieat #foodtok #magicspoon #magicspoonpartner #whatiate #gifted #magicspooncereal

♬ Monsters, Inc – Gustav Lundgren & Unit


Glossier’s Shoppable Shorts Challenge on YouTube

TikTok is not the only platform to capitalise on the popularity of short-form video, with YouTube also attracting interest from brands with YouTube Shorts. In June 2022, beauty brand Glossier was one of the first to partner with YouTube on Shoppable Shorts – a new feature that enables users to buy products displayed in video ads.

For the launch of its No. 1 eye pencil, Glossier ran the Shoppable Shorts Challenge, which displayed a clickable banner on any video that used the hashtag #WrittenInGlossier. The brand partnered with more than 100 creators who produced their own short videos featuring the product and hashtag, while users who clicked through to the Glossier website were also asked to recreate a look as part of the challenge.

The increasing importance of the digital shelf for FMCG brands

While Glossier has not disclosed how much sales revenue was generated from the ads, the brand’s new CEO, Kyle Leahy, has indicated that Glossier will continue to focus on similar marketing opportunities in future, as the brand shifts away from its former community-driven style content to more high-profile influencers and social commerce.

Despite TikTok’s popularity (and cost-efficient ad offering), we could see more brands look to YouTube on the back of Shorts’ recent growth, and the platform’s wide reach. In a Q4 2022 earnings call, Google’s SVP and CBO, Philipp Schindler, stated that “viewership [of Shorts] is growing rapidly,” with “50 billion-plus daily views up from 30 billion last spring.”

“We are still pleased with our continuing progress in monetization,” he continued, “closing the gap between Shorts and long-form is a big priority for us.”

Pampers turns its boxes into story books with Snap AR

Snapchat has been at the forefront of augmented reality (AR) with its pioneering lenses and filters. This week, Snap Inc announced its new AR Enterprise Services (ARES) division to help businesses build engaging websites and apps.

AR is one tech that allows social media to offer immersive experiences. Rather than merely scrolling through social, users can interact with virtual products or artwork.

This is what Pampers did with its AR Storybook campaign, created as an extension of its 2020 ‘Bright Beginnings’ reading initiative in partnership with Scholastic, which distributed up to 300,000 books and educational resources in local communities.

The initiative launched in response to the fact that, in the US, four million children under the age of three have never been read to. Pampers created an augmented reality tool in 2021 to enable parents to turn their Pampers boxes into storybooks by scanning the Pampers logo or visiting the Pampers profile on Snapchat. In doing so, parents were able to unlock classic books such as ‘Peter Rabbit’ as well as contemporary stories like ‘Flight of Bessie’.

The campaign – which won in two categories at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022 – was promoted via out-of-home, digital, and influencer channels. It reached 35 million people, resulting in 145 million stories read, and the largest sales lift in Pampers history. By creating an immersive and ‘always on’ experience, Pampers was able to offer meaningful value for the consumer that went beyond advertising, helping to build on an existing relationship with the brand.

How FMCG brands are benefiting from second-party data

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