2020 wasn’t a good year for most things, but it was a good year for mobile. When lockdowns began in March, brands had to quickly rethink their marketing strategy and how to engage their customers. The answer? Get on mobile marketing platforms, and do it quickly. This isn’t an easy task, but some brands made it look easy by going above and beyond on mobile. So today we are going to crown our mobile champions of 2020.
Chipotle absolutely killed the mobile game this year. They did so well they won the Marketing Dive award for the best mobile marketer of 2020. Back in March, Chipotle quickly shifted its focus from in-person selling to mobile orders, and boy did it pay off. The restaurant made $2.5 Billion in just digital sales this year. How did they do this? CMO, Chris Brandt, said they just started to put everything they had into mobile and digital platforms because that’s where their customers were. They changed their mobile messaging as the world changed around them. Instead of using sports or events to market to their customers, they focused on culturally relevant topics like climate change, race, and COVID-19. They also revamped their mobile app to make it easier for customers to place mobile orders and join the Chipotle Rewards loyalty program. They hosted virtual hangouts on Zoom to reconnect with customers and bring people together. They got on TikTok and started hosting challenges users could participate in. They basically did it all. If there was a “right” way to do mobile in 2020, it was Chipotle.
Chipotle wasn’t the only brand people were talking about on mobile though. E.l.f. Cosmetics took the TikTok world by storm in 2020 and created the most popular campaign on TikTok: The #eyeslipsface challenge. This challenge led to more than five million user generated videos, six billion views, gained attention from celebrities, and even spread to other social platforms, most notably being Spotify where the Eyes. Lips. Face. song reached #4 on the global chart. And their success didn’t stop there. The cosmetics brand has gained recognition from celebrities and makeup influencers led to a short holiday album of original songs and music videos, and the opportunity to expand on to other platforms like Twitch. So if anyone ever tells you that TikTok isn’t a “serious marketing platform”, just point them to E.l.f.
Walmart has impressed us all with its marketing throughout 2020. Their campaigns have been impressive from March all the way into the Holiday season. But one mobile strategy really stood out was the way they used shoppable video. Back in November, Walmart teamed up with Tastemade to create streamable episodes of “struggle meals” aimed at showing the audience what they can make at home for the holidays, even if they have never cooked a big meal before. Throughout the episodes, there was an on-screen number that viewers could text that would add the ingredients shown on the screen to their virtual Walmart shopping cart. This SMS and streaming strategy combined with their efforts to make their stores more digital friendly back in December proved to be very successful for Walmart. In fact, the shoppable TV strategy was so successful that Walmart then moved it to TikTok (Marketers, take note of how all three of these brands used TikTok). They did the first one-hour shoppable live stream on TikTok that features some of the most popular TikTok creators and lets viewers tap directly on the video to make a purchase without even having to leave the app.
It wouldn’t be right to talk about the mobile champions of 2020 and not give a special shout out to QR codes. QR codes were there for us when we couldn’t bear the thought of touching something in public, when restaurants needed alternative menus, and when brands wanted to create easy to access virtual entertainment. So I think we can all agree that we owe QR codes a thank you, we would not have made it through 2020 without you.
While we won’t want to remember most things that happened in 2020, we will for sure want to remember the impact that mobile has had on marketing. There are many more mobile champions out there than just the three mentioned here, and hopefully, we will see even more emerge in 2021.