Pop-Tarts Bites, the snack-sized version of the favored toaster pastry, is striking a finer balance between emotionally led and functional messaging with help from data-driven solutions. The brand, launched in 2018, enlisted the assistance of partner VidMob for an effort that ran on Meta’s Instagram and Facebook earlier this 12 months and sought to uncover what forms of ads resonated best with three different consumer groups — existing buyers, lapsed ones and recent customers — at various stages of the marketing funnel.
Like many legacy CPG marketers, Pop-Tarts Bites is attempting to refine its approach to performance marketing to attract a clearer line between online ads and buying behavior, as brand-building is less of a difficulty for established names within the category. At the identical time, the brand is attempting to unlock its next big audience in Gen Z, eyeing technology as a approach to deliver the needed level of personalization to interact the young cohort.
“We have many brands in our portfolio which have great awareness and unaided awareness,” said Nicole Vinson, vp of world digital, media and omni-shopper experience at Kellanova, the snacking company that was formed when the Kellogg Company formally split into two businesses in October.
“You’ve got to start out to take into consideration … balancing the short and long run of your investments and the way you’re driving that conversion since it’s not all nearly awareness and it’s not all about purchase,” added Vinson. “There is a middle [ground] in there.”
Pop-Tarts Bites’ collaboration with VidMob was less of a comprehensive overhaul of the brand’s strategy than an attempt at conducting a bit of promoting hygiene, assuring its best practices aligned with ever-changing platform mandates to create what Vinson described as an “iterative feedback loop.” Insights gleaned from the VidMob pilot could then be scaled and potentially adopted by other offerings within the Kellanova portfolio. Kellanova’s snack portfolio includes Cheez-It, Eggo, Rice Krispies Treats and Pringles.
“Every program, every campaign, every bit of creative, ideally, would begin to undergo an analogous process,” said Vinson. “It’s not that we’re attempting to get to a paint-by-numbers … It’s to actually understand what pieces of creative are working the toughest to drive that business final result.”
The tweaks to Pop-Tarts Bites’ ads, which appeared in Instagram Feeds and Stories and Facebook In-Feed placements between April and June, were relatively subtle but made a difference results-wise. One ad was tested with an emotional theme, promoting Pop-Tarts Bites as a morning snack with a “grab your bites” call to motion (CTA). The same image with a more functional message centered on flavor and texture, including an emphasis on the pastry product’s “soft-baked” quality and a sharper “Get snackin’ today!” CTA, delivered superior ad recall, engagement rates and in-view impressions. The company declined to share more specific results.
“Once you discover an insight, it’s about then validating that and putting it back into the ecosystem again,” said Vinson. “It definitely met the expectations and it helped to present us more data to support the hypotheses that we had. The whole idea behind data-driven marketing is that you simply’re using the information to remove the subjectivity.”
Eye on AI
Pop-Tarts Bites’ experiment with VidMob aligns with Kellanova’s ongoing bets around data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, areas which have boomed within the wake of ChatGPT and as marketers face down the deprecation of third-party cookies next 12 months. AI and ML helped the businesses higher isolate and assess specific elements of the Pop-Tart Bites’ advertisements, including the CTAs, to supply “optimal treatments,” in line with Vinson.
“All of that is about [getting] to more personalized forms of messaging in order that we will higher connect with our consumers in order that they’ll feel unique, they’re individual — we’re not talking to them as in the event that they’re one homogenous group,” said Vinson. “This is where personalization comes into play. It’s not that we’re attempting to get to one-to-one [marketing].”
Kellanova can be attempting to construct a stronger bridge with Gen Z consumers, a notoriously picky consumer group. That demographic represented a number of the recent customers that Pop-Tarts Bites was vying to achieve a deeper understanding of through the VidMob pilot and refinements to its messaging.
“Gen Z is one other audience group that we will’t ignore. We can’t seek advice from every group the identical,” said Vinson. “You can drive mass reach but then you definately also must mix that with personalization and really understanding your different audience cohorts.”
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