Consumer spending spikes as the temperature rises; so while the longer days and warmer nights lull customers into a state of relaxation, summer is no time for advertisers to lose focus. 

With more sunshine and more time on their hands, audiences are more likely to check in on and post on social media platforms.

It’s also no secret that food dominates a large part of the summer festivities. From watermelons and ice-creams to barbeques, summer food traditions hold true. In 2016, UK sales of ice-cream, burgers and sparkling wine all increased in the twelve-week period leading up to the August bank holiday. 

That said, social media advertisers need to take a customised multi-channel approach to strike the right note with the right audience, at the right time. 

Food is, in fact, the largest category on Pinterest and last year saw a 21% increase in food related content on the platform. Brands can inspire consumers with Promoted Video, which feels natural since users don’t have to migrate to another site to watch. If they are interested they can also click on one of the related ‘Pins’ featured below. Search, save, and click patterns on Pinterest act as windows into consumer behaviour, so the platform is great for brands that want a first look at what is doing particularly well. It also enables advertisers to tailor their food content based on patterns and trends, hence becoming a seamless part of users’ meal planning. And with three-quarters of saved content on Pinterest coming from a business, users are particularly receptive to messages from brands. 

Foodies eat with their eyes first so consider using the visual nature of Instagram to inspire. It is wise to take a full-funnel approach using the various ad formats available – from increasing brand awareness with beautiful photos and videos in ‘Stories’, to letting foodies familiarise themselves with new menu items by using multi-product carousel ads. Develop native advertising creative that fits with the overall storylines on the platform. Showcase dinner tables and drool-worthy dishes or share quick and fun videos of food preparation. The foodie community on Instagram is thriving, with over 213 million #food tags on the platform.

In addition, there are more than 1.1 billion food-related interactions on Facebook every month and it has been found that location-based mobile ads on the platform drive a 10.4x lift in restaurant visits. Consider targeting nearby consumers to get them in the door, or segment users who are most likely to order food online, then send them to Facebook Pages where they can order or, alternatively, to online ordering sites, or stores.

Snapchat also offers a great opportunity for advertisers to capture foodies’ attention with visual storytelling through vertical video, ‘Lenses’, and ‘Filters’. Lenses allow Snapchatters to interact with a brand in a playful way; in fact, it has been reported that some 30 million Snaps are decorated using the feature every day. Restaurants can also consider using sponsored geofilters close to their locations and once users apply one of these to their Snaps, it is possible to determine whether their friends who see it visit in the next week thanks to the platform’s measurement product, Snap to Store. 62% of UK Snapchatters are between 18 and 34 years old so this tactic can be particularly effective for brands wanting to connect with a younger demographic. Short, five-to seven-second ads drive optimal performance but remember to incorporate branding upfront so that users know who the ads are from.

Last but certainly not least, Twitter event targeting can help brands join the conversations happening around key summertime holidays and events. It has also been well documented that advertising on TV and Twitter work well in tandem.

We are already seeing a flurry of FMCG brands leveraging the power of social with great success. Supermarket brands are increasingly using these channels to drive footfall, too. For last year’s Valentine’s Day, Tesco connected with customers by running a Facebook campaign inviting users to create their own meal based on its ‘Finest’ range. Supermarkets should also consider targeting local audiences with ads that promote regional offers and updates. 

UK diners are forecasted to spend a whopping £54.7 billion on eating out in 2017 and smartphones are an increasingly important part of this experience –research shows that “food and beverage” is second only to “health” searches on mobile. Ordering apps have also grown in popularity and digital kiosks within restaurants are becoming more commonplace. In the US, mobile orders now make up 6% of Starbucks’ transactions. 

Given that users turn to digital platforms not only to connect with loved ones but also to follow their favourite food brands and discover meal ideas, there are plenty of opportunities for advertisers to connect with foodies and diners on social media, especially during the busy summer months.

Bon appetit!


By Emily Huff, client partner EMEA at Adaptly

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