How M&S smashed ‘Golden Quarter’ engagement targets with Future Publishing

Iconic UK retailer delivered 185% of the reach KPI for its festive content marketing campaign beating its target by a massive 2.5 million impressions.

Iconic UK retailer Marks & Spencer Group (M&S) and media company Future Publishing increased awareness of the retailer's Home range during the golden quarter of retail, with a content marketing campaign was rolled out across Future’s leading Home and Women’s Lifestyle titles.

The challenge

Primarily known for its food and fashion ranges, M&S wanted to dial up the style credentials of its ‘Home’ range ahead of the Christmas and New Year shopping spree in the UK. 

It planned to run a high brand awareness campaign with a strategic approach to raising the profile of its three core ranges – ‘Fired Earth collaboration’, ‘Cosy’, and ‘Christmas’ as it headed into the golden quarter with rivals competing for a share of consumer spend during the cost of living crisis. To achieve this, it partnered with media company Future Publishing to target its audience across its range of home and living magazine titles, both online and in print.

The solution

The ‘Make a Style Statement’ campaign built on the retailer’s brand awareness with a strategic approach to raising the profile of the ranges and dial up the style credentials of M&S Home overall.

Running from October 2022 to January 2023, the campaign targeted a modern and mainstream home interest audience and has been seen across Future’s leading Home and Women’s Lifestyle titles, including Ideal Home, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Style At Home, Woman & Home and Marie Claire.

Involving an extensive body of carefully curated content, the campaign combined media first editorial shoots and influencer talent, alongside new interactive articles, shoppable ad formats and innovative new print executions – all targeted to a 'stylish homes' audience using Future’s premium first-party data to raise awareness and consideration of M&S Home and drive sales. 

For the first time, Future also shot bespoke magazine covers for Ideal Home and Style At Home featuring M&S Home products within a double-page spread roll fold and cover site “shop the look” promotions.

Heather Young, Editor, Ideal Home and Style At Home at Future comments: “As the number one home interest print publisher and homes network in the UK, with an audience of over 20 million adults, Future is perfectly placed to raise awareness of M&S Home and its style credentials. Future's homes brands, including Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, enjoy unrivalled brand loyalty and recognition with house-proud homeowners, who trust their Editors when it comes to advice on key interior trends and how to achieve them.”

The results

Month on month, the campaign exceeded expectations, with key results including:

  • Delivery of 185% of the reach KPI for its 12 social amplification packages, surpassing its target by 2.5 million impressions.
  • An average engagement rate of 6%, exceeding the 1% benchmark and highlighting the success of moving imagery.
  • On Pinterest, the campaign reaching over one million additional users and delivering 162% of the KPI.
  • The campaign also leveraged ‘Instazines’, which generated an exceptional engagement rate of 5.33%, over 10x higher than the predicted benchmark, and equating to more than 75,000 engagements.
  • An average dwell time of 2:13 minutes for the campaign's digital advertorials, in contrast to a benchmark of 1:30 minutes, and delivery of almost 20,000 additional page views.
  •  Delivery of over two million views collectively across the videos produced for the campaign – 336,000 views over the KPI – and a strong average Video Through Rate of 18.53%, exceeding the 15.98% average.

The results illustrate the value of premium publishers to help brands tap into high intent audiences primed to purchase, through rich first-party data and contextually relevant environments that encourage consideration and conversion.

Vanessa Logan, Head of Brand Marketing at M&S concluded: “Future's publications were the perfect fit to dial up the style credentials of M&S Home. By making use of both Future’s experienced editorial approach and style-seeking interior-loving audience, M&S was able to tap into a multi-channel partnership opportunity focused on inspiring these modern readers to adopt three core home ranges. This partnership stands out from what has been done before with innovative media firsts including a dramatic six-page roll fold cover shoot for the Christmas range.”





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