It’s no accident that The Outnet’s first consumer study is called “Visualizing Thrill and Joy on Social Media.” The company aims to provide pleasure to its consumers via fashion shopping, but wanted deeper insights into what motivates their behavior. So it mined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for clues.
The study utilized the key words “thrill” and “joy,” which tie into The Outnet’s recently launched social media campaign, #TheThrillOfTheFind. The fact that the fashion is discounted on the site adds to the excitement and emphasizes the company’s brand message, “Everything Reduced but the Thrill.”
Working with Pulsar, an audience intelligence platform that uses data science methods such as image analysis and recognition and text mining, The Outnet study analyzed more than 33 million social media posts in its top eight markets: the U.K., U.S., Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
In addition to gaining a better understanding of its customers and potential consumers, The Outnet is working with its key social media partners to try to come up with a “buy” option that wouldn’t detract from its branding or compromise its service ethos.
“We’re always trying to find a way to monetize the social media platforms and find a way to get a return on our investment,” said Andres Sosa, executive vice president, adding that despite the fact that purchasing products isn’t facilitated by social media sites, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are what’s motivating The Outnet’s customer.
“We have a successful social media strategy and have great levels of engagement,” Sosa said. “We already know a lot about how our customer approaches style. Trends are important to her, but she’s always happy to go against the grain.”
The insights from the report will allow The Outnet to generate content “that’s really relevant to her in each of the platforms,” Sosa said.
While The Outnet has hard numbers for the traffic and revenue generated through each social media channel, Sosa declined to disclose them.
“Facebook generates most engagement and revenue,” he said. “The customer is open to Instagram. It works for inspiration, but to monetize that is difficult because Instagram is not there yet.
“Pinterest is where customers are looking to get inspiration and do mood boards,” Sosa added. “Our customer shops by occasion, so Pinterest is interesting, but she’s not ready to purchase [when she’s on Pinterest]. Twitter plays a role, but it’s more on the promotional side. We might tweet that we have two days left in a particular sale.”
One of the report’s key findings was the state of harmonious contradiction as the biggest trend in terms of how consumers share moments across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Other themes that emerged from the study of posts, which were analyzed during the month of May, include the fact that customers are seeking a sense of belonging and discovery; striving for personal growth; are elated by individuality, and striving to achieve “every day beauty.”
There were discrepancies between points of view in the different markets. For example, in six of the eight markets – the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore – people talked most about joy on a lazy, quiet Sunday. Only in the U.S. did Monday conversations begin with a post about the joy of “Monday Motivation” and excitement about the week ahead.
“We’re living in an era of global connectivity but we’re proving that we’re more contradictory than ever before,” said Rachel Arthur, digital innovation strategist. “We celebrate uniqueness, but still want to be part of a tribe. We’re balancing the idea of individuality and feeling emotionally connected to others. How we display [our style] is more important than ever before, but we’re not materialistic. We’re disconnecting, but we still want to watch and share.”
Women over the age of 25 led the conversation. Personal growth appeared to be the new status symbol, according to the report. Strength, success and health were the currency in the U.K. and Australia.
“The younger demographic was lower than you’d expect, there was less openness,” said Arthur. “A lot of that had to do with the way they use social media. If you’re 18, Facebook is the channel your parents use, so you’re not going to be as open. We’re seeing a lot of consumers shifting to Snapchat. But Snapchat doesn’t provide any consumer insight.”