Digital Switch Brings Better Value for Meat Marketers

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has welcomed figures which suggest that its smarter, modernised promotion strategy, including a heavy emphasis on digital and social media advertising, is paying dividends in the domestic UK market.

The meat promotion body – which receives its core funding from sheep, beef and pig farmers and processors through the Red Meat Levy – has increasingly switched its focus away from traditional media to online platforms, which enable campaigns to reach a more targeted audience and build consumers’ interest over a long period of time.

Over the past nine months HCC has worked with a large number of important influencers to create engaging online content – from videos and photos to recipes and blogs promoting PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef and pork from Wales. This content has been promoted with paid advertising to reach consumers across Britain who are most likely to be influenced by positive messages on Welsh meat’s quality, taste and provenance.

HCC’s Welsh Lamb platforms alone saw an increase of over 10,000 fans during the second half of 2018; a rise of 40% in Facebook followers, 44% on Instagram, and 13% on Twitter. Over 88,000 consumers headed to the website to find out more.

Social media advertising led to 120,000 people engaging directly with the campaigns, which HCC’s Rhys Llywelyn argues is a much better return on investment for levy payers.

“The media landscape is changing fast,” said Rhys. “The younger consumers we need to target for the future aren’t consuming as much traditional media – but they are on Facebook and Instagram, and we’ve seen only too well how influential social media food fads can be.

“In previous years, we might have invested in a three-week TV campaign in a few selected regions. This would cost a substantial six-figure sum, in addition to the cost of making the advert, and had two major drawbacks. The campaign would have to be concentrated into a short period of time to make an impact, risking losing people’s attention for the rest of the year, and also wasn’t targeted effectively, with the danger of either preaching to the converted or reaching vegetarians who would never buy the product.

“This past twelve months, we’ve gone all-in on digital advertising, working with partners to produce high-quality content and aiming it directly at target groups who we most need to be hearing about Welsh Lamb, Welsh Beef and pork. These include younger parents who enjoy cooking but might need to know more about how lamb can be prepared, fitness enthusiasts who warm to the message of how red meat is full of protein and other nutrients, and professionals working in restaurants and catering.

“We’re delighted with how the campaign has been going, with huge increases in our online audience and website visits. The approach of Brexit means that getting our promotion right in the domestic market is more important than ever, so we’re going to continue our digital push alongside other important activity at consumer shows and trade fairs, and working with retailers large and small.”