Industry Analysis – Vacuum Cleaners: Search Trends & Social Media Insights
The trusty vacuum cleaner, a necessity for any home even in this modern age of gadgets, technology and hover boards (well not quite yet with the later). Would you believe it? Walter Griffiths way back in 1905 took the first steps in making them portable, easy to use and easily maneuverable. Nevertheless it wasn’t until after World War Two that vacuum cleaners extended properly out to the masses as they were no longer considered a luxury item. Recent developments have seen vacuum cleaners being produced in a wide variety of formats; upright, bag-less, handheld as well as being created to clean specific surface types. In this new age of vacuum cleaners, the world’s biggest brands battle it out to become the consumers preferred choice.
These days as with many other manufactured goods, to stay ahead of the competition these brands utilise online advertising and social media to promote their goods – this post will show you how some of the industry’s top brands (Kirby, VAX, Dyson and Hoover) use social media to increase sales and brand authority.
To kick things off i’d just like to provide some interesting background stats around how innovations within the vacuum industry translate into how people search for these sorts of products.
This apparent decline in search for more generic/ standard terms can be in part attributed to the product innovations which the manufacturers have created. This makes for a more dynamic environment when it comes to search trends as it gives companies within the sector the opportunity to broaden their horizons in guiding people onto their site through the keywords they use. It’s a rather interesting situation for these manufacturers to be in as they can to some degree start a brand new search trend as soon as their latest product innovation hits the shelves.
Above we can see the rise in popularity of products such as ‘bagless vacuum cleaner’s (+100%) and ‘upright vacuum cleaners’ (+70%). We can also see how the consumers thirst for knowledge and desire for a reliable product is expressed within search – trends for ‘vacuum cleaners reviews’ are at an all time high (+250%) this year. This peaked in November 2009 and has since dropped by 47% in search interest, due to the fact search is now filtered even further by breakout terms for new products such as ‘Bagless vacuum cleaners reviews’ and ‘upright vacuum cleaners reviews’.
And as you can see from the graph above it’s a trend which has only really become prominent since December 2008.
So let’s begin the social profile analysis and research with one of the UK’s and world’s most innovative and recognisable brands, Dyson. They possess the biggest Twitter following of all 4 brands in this analysis with 14,969 followers as well as having the largest Facebook following, 135,000 fans. It’s nice to see the social media buttons present on the homepage – albeit tucked away at the bottom of the page. Many brands use their backgrounds and cover images to promote products – Dyson do this as well, but it’s surprisingly rather tricky to understand which product they’re currently advertising on their Twitter background. Interestingly Dyson like to split up FAQ’s and product queries via their customer service account (@askdyson), leaving the @dyson to deliver the brand building content. In terms of post content they make sure they get involved with suppliers to promote competitions to win their products – increasing their brand reach and which ultimately builds consumer excitement.
Further brand awareness is delivered by encouraging fans to watch and view their products whenever they’re being publicly tested out. This helps to push home the innovation story that lies behind their marketing, reminding the customer how their models outperform their competitors:
Dyson use Facebook to primarily to show off their engineering skills and team. They publish lots of articles and videos highlighting the rigorous tests and the all important science behind their products, which further drive home their quest for higher product performance.
Due to there already being a band and a world famous computer games character, you’ll only find Kirby on social media by searching for the ‘Kirby Company’. This could contribute as an explanation as to the lack of social media followers as they finish bottom of the pile for both Twitter (594 followers) and 5,029 Facebook fans. Kirby’s USP is their retro styling as well as their build quality. In the UK it’s a little trickier to pick up one of these models – we found them on the likes of eBay and overstock.com. Kirby are currently using their Twitter feed to promote their latest competition where followers have the chance to win a $4500 Visa gift card as part of their 100th year anniversary. It’s always good to tie in milestone dates with competitions and here they’re inspiring consumers to create some user-generated content in the form of video.
Kirby tie in the intuitiveness of their products with handy cleaning tips, with the aim of proving to the consumer how their products can cater to the consumers needs:
On Facebook Kirby continue the conversations of cleaning tips as well as encouraging and explaining to their audience the importance of having a clean home:
Vax has the second biggest Twitter following of these 4 brands (4,974) and has a Facebook fan base of 5,355. As opposed to Dyson, Vax use their main Twitter account for customer service, which doesn’t go unnoticed. I’ve always said a brilliant experience of customer service stays in the mind of a consumer for a long time. Here Vax are able to promote great feedback from happy customers:
However, when compared to other brands there’s less of a focus here on cleaning tips and product innovations. On the other hand they do possess a much more inspiring branded cover image and background. Content which helps to make up the consumers mind is the most valuable content a brand can create. Vax decided to help the consumer buying decision by explaining which products are better for specific cleaning situations.
Vax clearly understand the importance of reviews and how customers need to know which products offer the best performance for their money. This is why they’ve incorporated a tab onto Facebook to help consumers in their buying decision – a brilliant tool to help facilitate the buying decision process, something that other brands aren’t taking advantage of.
One of the most iconic and well know vacuum cleaner brands, Hoover has the second biggest Facebook audience of 38,449 fans and the third largest following on Twitter, 2,393.
When we examine their Facebook page, they seem to be the only brand from the 4 which make sure their branding comes through across the majority of their posts. This makes for a much more seamless experience for consumers visiting their page, improving brand trust.
Due to their large US market audience they are the top brand from the 4 making the most out of Black Friday. Hoover also bring knowledge and inspiration to the forefront of their posts – in order to capture the imagination of their audience. The only thing here is that this particular method doesn’t necessarily promote their brand as thought leaders as the quotes don’t come from within the brand, unlike Nike for example who live and breath their slogans and brand identity through their posts.
On Twitter it’s very interesting how their audience is very active in conversing with the brand about cleaning tips:
@tinaharperr It’s still a mess? Even after the cleaning?
— Hoover (@HooverUSA) November 22, 2013
Something which took us by surprise is how little promotional posting there is on Twitter, there doesn’t seem to be a clear content strategy. But there is however a huge focus to get to know their consumers and create conversations with them. It’s certainly a useful angle that many brands forget to pay attention to – actually being social with their customers.
Twitter Audience Analysis
Key: (Yellow=Vax, Green=Dyson, Blue=Hoover)
Here we’re just focusing on the top 3 brands with regards to Social following. From the graph above we can clearly see how Vax have had a much longer presence on Twitter, however Dyson lead the way when it comes to gaining followers averaging at 73, Hoover at 7 and Vax at 2 per day.
Key: (Yellow=Vax, Green=Dyson, Blue=Hoover)
Dyson and Hoover are certainly the more active of the 3 brands posting 250% more than Vax on a weekly basis, partly explaining their follower growth, but not fully as Hoover post almost as much as Dyson but aren’t picking up the same attention in new followers. This could mean that the almost 100% focus to spend their Twitter activity starting conversations with consumers isn’t bringing as much interest in follower growth that promotional and branded lead content could.
Facebook Fan Analysis
Here we can clearly see above how Dyson have steamed ahead of the competition, with a 56% increase in fans over the last 3 months alone. Vax are certainly the brand to keep an eye on as they’ve actually enjoyed the biggest fan growth on Facebook over the last 3 months (57%).
Twitter Follower Analysis
Dyson have done brilliantly well on Twitter over the last 3 months, bringing in a 688% increase on their Twitter following, which means the other 3 brands here really need to incorporate some of Dyson’s tactics and make them their own, as they’re clearly working very well indeed.
Surprisingly in this sector there’s a clear lack of branding up content on Facebook, only Hoover seem to make sure this happens on everything they create. Another surprise is how right now none of these brands are running promoted post campaigns, especially when one of the biggest day’s for retail – Black Friday, is upon us. There’s also a lack of integration across platforms, other industries such as high street fashion and sports brands make sure consumers can carry on conversations from Facebook onto Twitter via the usage of hashtags. We’ve also not seen much Vine or Instagram video action here either.
Nevertheless, it’s great to see brands like Vax and Dyson grabbing airtime to help promote their products through live testing. These brands have the potential to take things further especially with the launch of TV ad campaigns for Twitter. It’s also that time of year when discounts and promotions can help turn Q4 into the most successful quarter of the year – with Vax and Hoover currently leading the way. It’ll also be very curious to see how these brands can take more advantage of testimonials and positive reviews.