SYDNEY: Australian dessert café chain San Churro successfully boosted ROI and incremental in-store spending by using AI to segment and target social media audiences – and on a limited budget.

Brendan Sanders head of media at Online Circle Digital, the chain’s agency partner, outlined at the recent IBM Think conference how last year’s ‘1000s of reasons to celebrate’ campaign had used a proprietary data aggregation tool and IBM Watson to develop greater insights into the brand’s younger, female-oriented demographic and better target them.

Watson tapped into the large data sets that San Churro had from an engaged social media following, enabling the agency to devise four personas for San Churro, which had never done any segmentation before CMO reported.

These were young female students, young mothers, young female professionals and the brand’s current loyalty program database; Watson then used sentiment analysis to narrow down 500 pieces of ad copy to the 48 that were used in the actual campaign.

“Usually we’d write ad copy, push to the marketplace then find out what resonates on the fly,” Sanders explained.

“With Watson, we were able to determine which pieces of creative would resonate before campaign started. We still did more A/B testing, but it was far more refined – this gave us a big sprint and acceleration to the start of the campaign.”

Not only did this help drive marketing efficiencies for the client, but because the agency already knew which creative messages would resonate “it cut down our campaign management workload by 50%”.

With a limited $40,000 investment, San Churro reached 2.2 million consumers and generated a 6.6:1 return on investment; it also drove 22,000 new fans to social platforms who contributed to an additional $500,000 in in-store spending, Sanders said.

Sourced from CMO; additional content by WARC staff