Read our new manifesto

Oct 19 - 23

Discuss, debate and discover the future of agencies

Discounters better than Big Four at emotionally connecting on social, finds Oxford Uni backed study

Discount retailers Iceland and Aldi are better at emotionally connecting with consumers over a long period of time on social media, compared to their struggling ‘Big Four’ rivals, according to a Twitter study based on data science analytics developed at the University of Oxford.

The study, which analysed 22.7 million tweets from 350,000 individ.uals, ranked the ‘big four’ in a list of eight supermarkets that was ranked by their relationship with consumers on the site.

Waitrose proved to be the best performer thanks to socially-led campaigns such as #bakeitforward, #thanksmum activity in the lead up to Mother’s Day, and even the much ridiculed #waitrosereasons push. Its Attraction Score – the metric to show emotional engagement – was 56 out of a possible 100.

However, after Waitrose the discounters dominate. Iceland scored an impressive 55 points while Aldi notched up 53 points to come third. The German-discounter has heavily pushed the social element in recent campaigns, encouraging people to switch over from their usual supermarket and share the savings they make using the #AldiChallenge hashtag. Meanwhile, Lidl’s long running #Lidlsurprises activity has continued to highlight its focus on pleasing the customer.

Asda performed the best of the big four (scoring 47 points). It’s the relationship between Morrisons and their consumers that’s feeling the most strain after the Bradford-based chain finished bottom of the pile on just 16 points.

Peter Laflin, Bloom’s chief data scientist who led the study, said: “We’ve been able to analyse huge amounts of data, and apply a level of science not used before on this scale, to give real value to what we’ve discovered.

“It’s a study that’s not just about the number of tweets, re-tweets and followers a brand has, but more about how individuals talk about brands – and how they influence others to interact with them over a long period of time.”

Bloom suggested the rate at which smaller brands are building affinity through social media activity could see the Big Four lose yet more market share over the coming months.

Leeds-based agency Bloom carried out the research using tools developed by Peter Grindrod, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis