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Jonathan S. PaulOperating Vice President, Social Media and Paid MediaBloomingdale's
Bloomingdale’s encouraged Snapchat’s millennial-saturated user base to explore its brick-and-mortar locations by hosting an in-store scavenger hunt using the platform’s sponsored geofilters. eMarketer’s Tricia Carr spoke with Jonathan S. Paul, operating vice president of social media and paid media at Bloomingdale’s, about what the high-end retailer achieved through its Snapchat “Swipestakes” and the unprecedented benefits that sponsored geofilters can offer retailers.
eMarketer: Tell us about Bloomingdale’s recent in-store scavenger hunt.
Jonathan S. Paul: Our Snapchat Swipestakes was a brief execution over Labor Day weekend to build awareness for the fall 100% Bloomingdale’s merchandise program, when we launch 100 capsule collections [essential clothing items that don’t go out of fashion] from designers across women’s, men’s and home.
Instead of looking for physical clues, shoppers looked for Snapchat geofilters. When they snapped a filter that they found at one of our stores back to us, we entered them into a sweepstakes [which we called a swipestakes] to win prizes such as merchandise from the collections, gift cards and tickets to a New York Fashion Week show. We built awareness for the Swipestakes via organic and paid social—primarily Instagram and Snapchat. We had Snap Ads that ran between Snapchat users’ stories.
eMarketer: How did you execute the scavenger hunt using sponsored Snapchat geofilters?
Paul: We divided the immediate perimeter of each store into different sections and placed different filters in each section. It was the same notion as Pokémon Go—try to collect as many filters as you can. The motivation was that each time you snapped a new filter, you were entered to win. You could enter several times if you were clever enough to find all of the filters within a store.
eMarketer: Has the popularity of Pokémon Go inspired you to change your approach to in-store marketing?
Paul: It began as a customer behavior insight. We saw this trend come to life inside our stores and realized that there was an opportunity to digitally gamify the in-store experience. Bloomingdale’s stores are not museums—they’re full of activity. There is an opportunity in Pokémon Go to amplify what we call the animation of our stores.
eMarketer: In addition to raising awareness of the 100% Bloomingdale’s merchandise, what else did you hope to achieve through the in-store scavenger hunt?
Paul: This was primarily an awareness-building campaign. We wanted to reach the next generation of Bloomingdale’s shoppers and not only convey the energy, creativity and collaboration of our fall campaign to this target audience, but also bring them to the store to discover the experience.
One way we did this was through our frozen yogurt restaurant Forty Carrots. We don’t have a Forty Carrots in every store, but the existing locations have a strong and loyal following. People who were in a store with a Forty Carrots could win a digital coupon to get frozen yogurt during the Swipestakes, and we snapped people back with the coupon almost in real time. We wanted them to have that instant gratification.
eMarketer: Why are sponsored Snapchat geofilters an effective marketing tool, not only in this instance, but as part of your overall strategy?
Paul: We are obsessed with geofilters because they’re a hybrid media product—they blend paid and earned media. There are also the digital and brick-and-mortar activation elements. These elements usually stand on their own, but they’re swirled together in this particular advertising execution.
eMarketer: What have you learned about Snapchat geofilters along the way?
Paul: The key is using them correctly. They’re so compelling because they’re not only an ad, they’re also a piece of content. If a geofilter isn’t shareable and engaging, the ROI [return on investment] on that media will reflect that. If you execute geofilters carefully and strategically and look at the historical performance of your geofilters, you can get a lot of efficiency from them.
On a higher level, you can realize this opportunity to transform stores into media engines for brand advocacy. Snapchat geofilters are a digital extension of the in-store experience. If we can create digital or physical experiences within our stores that people want to share, that’s an important part of a localized digital marketing strategy.
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