When it comes to cookies, there's only one choice--at least on Facebook. (Off Facebook, I'll take whatever cookie I can get.) Nabisco's Oreo brand has won Facebook. It's creamed the opposition, dunked them until they crumble, and, well, you get the picture. Pepperidge Farms' Milano, which according to one poll is America's second-favorite store-bought cookie, had a Facebook following of just over 470,000 at the end of 2015. Oreo, the country's number-one cookie choice, had amassed a Facebook audience of nearly 42 million.

That's a tremendous difference and it's not as though Milano isn't trying. Pepperidge Farms typically posts between 12 and 14 pieces of content every month in a bid to win views and boost engagement, so the company's social media team isn't sitting in the canteen munching cookies all day. And yet their rivals at Nabisco are clearly doing better--nearly a hundred times better, in fact. So what are they doing that the Milano makers aren't?

Oreo's success on Facebook dates back to 2012, the year the brand celebrated its centenary with a 100-day campaign it called Daily Twist. Each day of the campaign, the company posted a picture that illustrated current news and events with a cookie and a glass of milk. Every morning the brand's marketing team would look at trending topics, choose a subject that was right for the brand, and spend six to seven hours preparing the post. Images marked shark week, Elvis week, and the landing of the Mars Rover. The most popular image celebrated the birth of a baby panda and won a reach of 4,409,344. Overall, the campaign was said to have accumulated 433 million Facebook views, 231 million media impressions, and more than 2,600 media stories. It showed other Facebook marketers that they needed to be using creative and topical visual content, instead of just linking to their blogs.

It also won a closet-full of awards and won it top cookie spot on Facebook.

Look at Oreo's Facebook page now and you'll see a slightly different strategy. The style and palette remain the same. The brand image that worked in 2012 is still working now. But a few differences stand out.

1. Oreo has moved to video.

In 2012, Oreo's images were static. They were like funny doodles--easy to share and capable of spreading a message with a quick look. Some of those images are still in use but many of the posts placed on the Facebook page now are video.

That puts Oreo in line with Facebook's own preference. The company has been rewarding pages that place native videos on the site, giving it bigger Edgerank scores and wider reach. Between 2014 and 2015, native video views on the site rose from three billion a day to four billion a day. Marketers get to show their videos to more people and also get a bunch of metrics that YouTube doesn't provide.

Oreo got images right. Now it's getting video right. I can't wait to see what it offers when virtual reality kicks in!

2. From look and share to click and play.

Hashtags haven't been terribly intuitive on Facebook but in February 2015 Oreo rolled out a #playwithoreo promotion that added a new level to its Facebook campaign. The promotion encouraged people to click to an app where they could upload a picture or video of their favorite way to enjoy Oreo.

Plenty of companies have run photo promotions on Facebook but for Oreo the combination of creative videos,  new "Wonderfilled" clips made with French electropop artist Yelle, and audience participation has been very powerful. It's taken the Facebook page from "look and share" to "click and play." That's much more engaging.

3. How do you say "Oreo" abroad?

One strategy that few people have noticed about Oreo's Facebook campaign is how much it's localized. Everyone sees the same Milano Facebook content, but on the Oreo's page, the content changes depending on the location of the viewer. Oreo munchers in Mumbai will see images and videos that match Indian events. Fans in Israel see posts in Hebrew. We're all marketing to an international audience on social media but Oreo understands that different markets in different places react to different messages. That gives them a huge advantage.

4. The quality of the content is still tremendous.

But the biggest reason that Oreo has won Facebook is that its content is just so good. Pepperidge Farm's Facebook page is happy to make do with blurry images and unclear photos, especially when it links to web pages. You won't find anything like that on the Oreo page. Every one of its images has been designed to raise a smile.

The biggest reasons Oreo has won Facebook? It creates special content for social media, and it doesn't compromise on quality. It does good stuff, and that's always the best choice.

Published on: Jan 8, 2016
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