In early 2019, Charli XCX announced work on a new album, and immediately a huge, primarily web-based marketing campaign began. The majority of this campaign took place on Instagram and Twitter, with sponsored posts being shown to people who have engaged with her content before, or who fit the target demographics of her audience (primarily gen-z, Europeans and the LGBT community).
Personalized advertising, using AI-assisted ad targeting is becoming more and more commonplace. Nidhi Dave explains it like this: “AI can analyze consumer behavior and search patterns and use data from social media platforms and blog posts to help businesses understand how customers find their products and services”. She says that by 2020, 60% of businesses will be using artificial intelligence in increase profits. In addition, an Epsilon survey found that 90% of surveyed consumers said they find the idea of personalized ad targeting “appealing” as opposed to generic ad blasts.
Leading up the album, most of Charli XCX’s targeted ads focused on creating excitement for the new album, but following the record’s release in September, the focus of these promotional materials has switched to be about the following tour, new videos or merchandise options. There are now sponsored ads geotagged to specific areas, promoting those specific stops of her tour. Most of these ads (both for the album and the tour) featured video of her performing, or animated versions of the album artwork with clips of her songs playing in the background. A survey conducted by marketing software development company HubSpot found that over two-thirds of consumers preferred to discover new products or services via a short video than through any other source.
In addition to the sponsored content, XCX has been posting an almost nonstop stream of shareable content and live videos to her personal Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Most of the live videos are behind the scenes videos of her working on music videos or at concerts, or even just her in her hotel room talking about how excited she is about the album and tour. According to product designer and digital marketer Alexander Bickov, social media stories are one of the top tools for digital marketers due to their cost-effectiveness, ease of engagement with consumers, and access to a younger audience.
In terms of shareable content marketing, XCX is posting lots of memes about her and the album that fans send her to her own account, as well as funny outtakes from the album art photoshoots etc. According to Julia McCoy at the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing overall and is as much as three times as effective, and Cision PR Newswire reported on a study which claimed user-generated content may influence purchasing decisions for as much as 90% of consumers. Of course, all of these fun posts are fully shoppable, with users being able to click or swipe from the post to purchase pages for concert tickets, album sales, or links to her music on streaming services.
In addition to content marketing, XCX has been using a music-based form of influencer marketing. According to Dave, influencer marketing is a system of social media marketing that uses thought-leaders like celebrities or individuals with large social media followings to bring awareness of a brand to a larger audience. Charli XCX has brought this mentality not just to her marketing, but to her product itself. Her new album features collaborations with many other alt-pop and electronic artists, who then are also promoting the album on their social media pages. She also partnered with visual artist Ines Alpha on the artwork for the album and its associated singles.