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Case Study: How a Social-First Content Program Improved Affinity and Awareness for McAfee – Amber Kaplan

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How an Integrated, "Social-First" Approach Improved 
Affinity and Awareness for McAfee Consumer
Strategy + Planning

The content we produced was to be amplified on social channels through a large 'always-on' or via separate 'one-off' campaign budgets. Therefore, all content and strategy had to be 'social-first' -visual, quippy, and timely.

Creative Direction + Production

Content included a mix of video, long form content, infographics and custom creative to drive interest and clicks.

Copy editing

As the editor-in-chief for much of the published social content and some of the blog programs, I ensured copy was on-brand, compelling, and leveraged tools like emojis and polls.

The Problem

As an early market leader in security products, McAfee consumer had high brand awareness, but low brand affinity and a low engagement rate. It had already established a regular cadense of programmatic social and editorial content, but it wanted to optimize and expand its programs. It recently expanded its product offering from mobile (and previously desktop) to IoT, and it had identified thought leaders within the organization, but they had little time or interest in authoring regular content. Lastly it relied heavily on long-form copy to explain its complex products, but it did not think about how to syndiate the content on its social channels. In 2018, our team focused on the following:
  1. Further differentiating the content attributed to its thought leaders.
  2. Establishing the content strategy and upping the regular cadence of SEO-friendly subjects for McAfee’s consumer blogs, ensuring they aligned with wider campaigns.
  3. Making the case for video production and driving several video programs for various business units within the organization.
  4. Ensuring all content was social-first, entertaining, and tied into wider trends on digital channels.
  5. Better optimizing paid programs by leveraging custom creative content, GIFs, and video.

The Solution

To drive the change that McAfee needed, we built a well-oiled team that included writers, content strategists, a paid lead, a video producer, manager, and communications operator as well as two directors for strategic guidence. By leveraging the right support, we were able to deliver favorable results to the client that proved that delivering regular, timely, entertaining and educational content works.
  1. Despite decreases in paid social budget, impressions and engagement rates improved (Twitter in 2017 vs. 2018 was 11.2M and 3.3% vs. 16M and 5.33% respectively; Facebook in 2017 vs 2018 was 15M and 3.4% vs 19M and 6% respectively). 
  2. In Q4 2018, the mobile and IoT blog garnered 135K+ pageviews, an 818% increase over Q4 2017 (14.7K) thanks to a regular drum beat of content, popular topics and paid amplification.
  3. In introducing video into the content mix on social, we garnered a 2.25% view view rate on Twitter and a 2.67% video view rate on Facebook.

Blog Content

Building a following required carving out niches for each of McAfee’s thought leaders. Rahika’s program expanded into IoT security from mobile and was extremely focused. We discovered that the audience was composed of fairly savvy young professionals, so we tailered content to them. We delivered blogs twice a month, so the audience knew it could count on getting tips.  
  1. Focused on educational content and honing in on a format strategy that included tips, snackable sections, and in-line creative when possible.
  2. Aligned content pipeline with holidays and corporate campaigns.
  3. Pulled from and develeoped SEO-friendly blog topic clusters driven by Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner.
  4. Amplified content on organic social channels and when possible, paid campaigns by leveraging social-first content, custom creative, and snappy, clickable content. 

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Introducing Video to the Content Mix

After sharing how impactful video is on social, we sold in multiple video programs across various business units within McAfee, including a how-to video, educational tip videos, and thought leadership videos to accompany blogs. All videos were made with social cuts in mind, to leverage on digital channels.
Following video production, we learned that more than half of web hits came from McAfee’s YouTube channel. We expect to see more video in the future.
 
Delivering a Social-First Content Strategy

Once the robust creative program was enlivened in tandem with the campaign schedule and editorial calendar, delivering impactful social content and amplifying other projects was much easier.

Social is often an after thought in marketing programs, but we impressed upon the client that social should be integrated and brought into all marketing conversations early to build in enough time to produce assets that make it sing when live on digital channels.

Ensuring there was a sizable budget for amplification also helped us be mindful of and to determine which pieces of content or posts should be backed with paid efforts.

Lastly, in leveraging a full team, we had enough resources to create content that was fun, engaging, and could join the cultural moments and conversations that were happening on digital chanels. 

  1. #10YearChallenge
  2. CES
  3. Emojis
  4. Don't Say It
  5. Mobile Tips