The era of entertainment marketing is here: Tracking the right metrics will help you stand out
It’s 2017. TikTok is in its infancy, Instagram’s UI is still tolerable, and YouTube doesn’t have a premium subscription (that no one pays for).
Back then, Facebook and Instagram ruled the online advertising world, and billboards and newspaper ads were the go-to answers for offline marketing. And because TikTok wasn’t huge yet, there was little mention of entertainment marketing.
In 2018, TikTok launched in global markets and quickly grew into a social media powerhouse that now rules the world. To quantify its growth, TikTok has over 1.2 billion active users and is expected to reach 1.8 billion soon. By contrast, Facebook at 1.4 million active users in 2018, and its been around since 2004.
Because TikTok’s growth was so closely associated with the COVID-19 lockdowns, it also quickly became a platform where people spent hours of their time a day, discovering new creators, connecting, and seeking video entertainment.
Seeing how videos performed so well on TikTok, apps like Instagram and Facebook created copycats—IGTV and Facebook Watch. Heck, even LinkedIn launched a creator mode where influencers could upload videos.
All this leads to one conclusion: Today’s audiences want to be entertained by creators and brands. Namely, via short, authentic, and fun videos.
If you want to stay relevant, now is the time to pull the plug on any tired advertising and shift the spotlight to entertainment marketing.
The impact of entertainment marketing
TikTok is the champion of entertainment marketing. This is mainly because TikTok viewers are clinging to short video content as a primary form of entertainment, especially in the face of inflation.
Due to rising costs, customers are ditching paid TV subscriptions and movie theaters to watch free, 30-second to 10-minute videos. Some of these videos even have a continuing storyline and are reality series or movies in themselves (e.g., Retirement House).
Kate Kenner Archibald, the chief marketing officer at Dash Hudson, supports this theory, “We're seeing a few shifts in the marketplace. One shift is in people’s attention spans. Consumers no longer want to watch a 60-minute drama or sit through commercials. Another shift is in budget. Inflation and gas prices are up, and traditional content platforms are seeing a major loss in subscribers.”
“People are cutting costs, and that correlates to the rise in TikTok because of its free content. With 10-minute videos, you're seeing the rise of really great short-form content. It’s not polished, but it’s good content. To counter this, Netflix just announced they will come out with user-generated content. Right now, we're in the golden age of content because there's just so much of it,” said Kenner Archibald.
On a macro-level, TikTok lends itself well to entertainment marketing over traditional forms of advertising. It’s set up so anyone can create and share engaging videos—and growth is dependent on how engaging the audience finds the content.
Brands that understand the power of partnering with creators to produce entertaining content are winning.
Take Pepsi, for example. For Pepsi's Super Bowl Halftime show, it turned directly to TikTok to elicit interest and create entertaining video content.
The result? The campaign surpassed over 5 billion views and 31,000 video submissions. Pepsi and TikTok showed how entertainment marketing can drive consumer and brand engagement.
Another example? Chipotle.
Chipotle is the king of using influencers to create entertaining content on TikTok. It relies often on influencer partnerships to reach its customers.
For example, for its annual Boorito promotional campaign, it partnered with big-name influencers like Zach King, Josh Sadowski, and Avani Gregg to create entertaining content consumers loved.
Another example of Chipotle in action? Chipotle was one of the first brands to capitalize on the darling “It’s corn” boy in its most recent ad, which already has 3.8M likes on TikTok and is spreading like wildfire.
Chipotle’s focus on influencer partnerships to produce entertaining content has turned Chipotle into the most followed food brand on TikTok, with over 1.8M followers.
What are brands doing to perfect their entertainment marketing strategy?
We’ve only seen the true potential of entertainment marketing in the past few years. And considering that social media entertainment marketing is still in its infancy, there’s no saying what highs (or lows) it will cross in the coming years.
However, today, there’s no doubt creators are the ring bearers who are taking entertainment marketing to new heights. Without creators, no entertainment marketing strategy would be complete.
Brands have come to realize the potential that influencers and creators hold, and the kind of impact they can make. This is perhaps the reason why 93% of marketers are now using influencer marketing to their advantage.
“Influencer partnerships have to be authentic. The key is to find partners who tell the story you're looking to tell. Our data suggests that equitable relationships where you're helping each other allow both parties to gain value,” said Kenner Archibald.
Brands have also realized that shooting in the dark with influencer content will lead them nowhere. Measuring and predicting campaign performance requires moving one step further and using solutions to understand how creator videos will perform in the long run.
“We personally use the Entertainment Score to measure the effectiveness of influencer relationships,” said Kenner Archibald.
“The Entertainment Score, exclusive to Dash Hudson, provides the social media industry with its first true benchmark for understanding the entertainment value of TikTok content. For channels such as Instagram and YouTube, Dash Hudson offers other proprietary tools and measuring capabilities to analyze engagement and effectiveness rates of influencer partnerships.”
Big names like Harrods, P&G, Conde Nast, Apple, and Kraft are examples of brands using Dash Hudson's industry-leading suite of social entertainment tools to track and predict the success of their marketing efforts.
Does tracking Entertainment Score boost sales?
While tracking campaign performance provides insight into how well campaigns are performing, Dash Hudson also wanted to know whether or not its entertainment had a direct impact on sales.
So, Dash Hudson partnered with NielsenIQ to gather data. When researchers compared omnichannel sales, brands with an Entertainment Score of 5 and above had a 34% increase in sales.
A concrete example of Dash Husdon using this Entertainment Score to predict content performance is its recent Hulu campaign.
“We helped Hulu with ideation and testing by leveraging our proprietary AI technology, Vision. Through this experience, we also helped them analyze top-performing content so they were able to strategically create content that best entertained their audience. Hulu is a prime example of a brand doing two things at once. For example, if you look at the beauty industry, they not only create lipstick, they also create content to grab eyeballs. So Hulu creates their own content and also their social content,” said Kenner Archibald. “As a result, Hulu saw a 40% increase in engagement, a 20% increase in effectiveness, and $14.5 million in earned media value (EMV). By leveraging Dash Hudson, Hulu was able to proactively determine the best content by continuing to test, learn, and analyze actionable insights.”
How should brands prepare to shift into entertainment marketing?
We asked Kate Kenner Archibald to share advice for small businesses and brands about how to shift to entertainment marketing. Here are her insights:
- Always be authentic, entertaining, and data-driven. The most important thing is authenticity, especially on TikTok. This is largely because people go on the app to look at relatable influencers, not to see aspirational influencers.
- Partner with the right creators. To retain the element of authenticity, only partner with creators who match your product vision and who have the ability to portray the stories you want to tell.
- Focus on equitable partnerships. Equitable partnerships work best for a healthy, sustainable relationship.
- Track metrics that predict performance. Keep an eye on metrics that work for you — for Dash Hudson and its customers, that metric is the Entertainment Score.
- Learn what works on TikTok. When looking to promote content, know that entertainment-driven content that tells a story or sells an emotion works really well. On the flip side, you should bid goodbye to highly stylized content.
- Test your content. If brands really want to succeed, keep testing, retesting, and leveraging insights to improve.
The future of entertainment marketing guarantees success
With the rise of social media—especially TikTok—the era of entertainment marketing is officially here. Brands that are partnering with creators to make raw, entertaining, and trendy content are winning.
Now is the perfect time to put your best marketing foot forward and test out entertainment marketing campaigns.
Consider what the leaders are doing, research the kind of content your audience likes to see, put proven metrics in place, and prepare a strategy that focuses on capturing leads through entertainment.