12.6% of Consumers Connected to Brands via Social Media Actually Use Digital Coupons

The Nikkei Marketing Journal (Nikkei MJ) reported today on the 2nd Nikkei BP "Successful Social Marketers Survey" (title translation by CarpeDiemJapan), whereby Nikkei BJ surveyed the top 200 companies ranked in accordance of the total number of followers or fans they have on Facebook and Twitter. Details of the survey will be published in the March issue of Nikkei BP.

Nikkei Digital Marketing conducted an online survey of 29,003 respondents from 8 January through 22 January 2013 to calculate a "reach score" and a "O2O action score" for each of the companies.  The "reach score" indicates how connected the company is with consumers measured by the number of fans and friends they have on social media, while the "O2O action score" shows how much the company was able to encourage consumers to take the online connection to offline store visits and make purchases.

In the first survey, UNIQLO was ranked No.1, but this time, Lawson moved up one slot to take the top place with a total score of 88.4.

Lawson ran a very successful viral campaign from 16 through 29 October 2012, the "Kara-age kun ? Flavor Challenge" whereby consumers are encourage to purchase a package of fried chicken marked "? Flavor - Can You Guess What It Is?"

image source: http://atsquare.jp/2012/10/lawson-karaagekun/

The package is clearly marked "limited quantities only" and on the back is a QR code to get into the campaign site

image source: http://atsquare.jp/2012/10/lawson-karaagekun/

Once the consumer is ready to tweet what flavor he thinks it is, he must (a) follow Lawson's mascot, Akiko-chan's account on Twitter and (b) use the designated hashtag to tweet the answer.  People who get it right may win some Kara-age kun goods. 

There were more than 6,200 retweets related to the Kara-age kun challenge. 

2nd this time was Starbucks (previously 5th), and 3rd was UNIQLO. MUJI took fourth place and Kentucky Fried Chicken took 5th. 

In the top 20 are seven fast food and F&B related companies, two convenience stores (Family Mart came in 11th), and two cosmetics companies (Orbis and L'Occitane). The fast food and F&B places are:
1. Lawson
2. Starbucks
5. Kentucky Fried Chicken
8. McDonald's
9. Subway
15. Domino Pizza
17. Hot Motto (hot lunch box vendor)
19. Mosburger
20. Coca Cola

Among those new to the top 5 that stood out were cosmetics brand Orbis, who used male models to introduce the cosmetics for women and Hot Motto, who built a reputation for sincerity by responding to each tweet and wall posting based on the business's drive to treat social network engagement as an extension of the face to face exchanges in store. 

Nikkei says it is already seeing a decline in the O2O action rate because 12.6% of the respondents to the survey said they actually made purchases as a result of receiving coupons or information through SNS, down from 16.6% in the survey conducted in 2012. 

With so much "noise" building up already around the SNS marketing platform, and LINE pushing coupons left, right, and center, it is hard for consumers to not become numb to receiving them. 

Here is but one example of LINE coupons from good old Colonel Sanders - it just makes me feel that (a) I would be pretty desperate or dumb to pay full price; and (b) why should I visit them when they are not offering coupons - the interval is about 5 days on average. (I wonder if they actually change their shifts in accordance with the coupon issuance... they could probably do with less staff when they have no active coupons...)

Earlier this year (on 8 January), it was reported in the Nikkei that McDonald's Japan saw a decline in turnover for the first time in nine years on an existing store basis. It may be interesting to note that McDonald's "Social Marketing Success" rank has increased from 8th to 5th in this survey. The Nikkei article noted that the lower prices brought in more foot traffic, but overall revenue in December 2012 fell by 8.6% over the previous year, and while the full year figures are not public, January through September figures were 2.2% lower than the same time the previous year and both October and November saw declines as well, so in overall, McDonald's struggled the whole year. 

As a pesco-veggie, fast food joints are not my favorite hangout, but they do help feed my cravings for coffee and with young children, the lure of the "Happy Meal" sets with toys has me in McDonald's more often than I would really care to admit. And I must say, when I received a voucher for a free burger, it made me wonder what business McDonald's is in. And they continued with the "60 seconds" campaign, which I did not quite understand the point of. If they failed to fill my order in 60 seconds, I get a free burger next time around... When my mother decided she wanted a shrimp cutlet burger, we automatically got the free burger voucher because we had to wait 3 minutes for it. We had the rest of the food to take to our seat with us and waiting 3 minutes did not inconvenience anyone - even McDonald's as they had us out of the queue just as fast as those who had their orders filled in under 60 seconds. But what seemed even more redundant was the free coffee voucher that came with every order that said, "because we were able to fill your order in under 60 seconds, next time have a free cup of coffee on us." Of course I did not say no to them, but what did that achieve for them???

So, I will admit first hand that I have become more immune to the attraction of coupons and vouchers that I receive through LINE or can retrieve on the official web sites. But at the same time, when there are no effective coupons, I feel cheated for having to pay full price. And that is probably not a healthy attitude for consumers to have towards retailers. But they trained me into thinking in this way, and they certainly seem to be paying for it.