LONDON: FMCG producers Coca-Cola and Unilever have recognised the importance of third-party sites in "breaking" new campaigns. 

This could signal a decline in the popularity of online operations on firms' own official sites, which are used to launch a campaign and are then discarded when the campaign ends.

Instead, the companies will prioritise their Facebook and YouTube streams, thereby encouraging community discussion of the products.

Concern over the cost of launching new dedicated sites, as well as consumers' own web browsing habits, are likely factors in the trend.

Data from has identified Facebook and YouTube as the world's second and third most-visited websites.

Jo Lyall, head of invention and digital at Mindshare, a media network, said: "The challenge is understanding what a campaign site is now and how you get everyone into the mindset of creating a continuous stream of content."

Coca-Cola is thought to be favouring social media over in hosting its upcoming international campaigns for Coke Zero and Fanta.

Cheryl Calverley, senior global manager for Unilever's Axe Skin, said it is "natural" to target online spaces where users are "already consuming media", and that the change would lead to shifting strategies among creative agencies.

"The battle is now to understand how to continue engagement with a consumer outside of a campaign site I've driven them to," Calverly added.

"It's a much more complicated planning challenge."

Data sourced from New Media Age/; additional content by Warc staff