How Toys“R”Us scaled its image analysis to enhance its customers experience

Toys“R”Us Customer Story

The world's leading toy retailer tells us how they use Brandwatch Analytics to monitor, measure and optimize its 860+ Instagram accounts

How Toys“R”Us scaled its image analysis to enhance its customers experienceToys“R”Us Customer Story
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About Toys“R”Us

Toys“R”Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer.

Merchandise is sold in (860+) Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam. Headquartered in New Jersey, U.S.A, the business has nearly 65,000 employees worldwide.

Charles Lazarus founded Toys“R”Us in 1957 with a focus on two key areas: customer desire and how to deliver it.

Understanding what Toys“R”Us customers want, need and feel is still paramount to the organization today. Jennilyn Marcus is a manager on the Consumer Insights team based in its New Jersey HQ.

The Consumer Insights team supports the entire organization with the voice of the customer, through primary and secondary research methods. We spoke to Jennilyn about the importance of visual and image monitoring, and the insights that can be uncovered.

The local social program

In 2016, Toys“R”Us launched its local social program, in which every one of its 860+ stores was given permission to launch its own Instagram account. The stores were given guidelines from the Toys”R”Us HQ.

The objective of the program was to drive traffic to its stores, but also to empower each store to own the creation of content and to manage the online community to best suit its own customers.

The ask and the challenge

Although the stores were running its own Instagram accounts, each store looked to Jennilyn and the Consumer Insights team for help with two key questions:

  1. What was the follower growth and activity around each post, over time
  2. What content was performing best

It was fantastic that the stores wanted to understand what was working, and what wasn’t, however these questions posed two key challenges for the Consumer Insights department:

  1. The volume of data to look at, from over 860+ Instagram accounts
  2. Identifying a tool – ideally a current one – that could handle volume and allow the needed analysis.
“The stores came to us for help, but the challenges we faced from the sheer volume of data was a tough obstacle to take on.”
– Jennilyn Marcus, Manager, Consumer Insights - Toys“R”Us

The solution

Toys“R”Us already had Instagram tracking in place with Brandwatch Analytics for its two corporate Instagram accounts.

Instagram Channel analysis from Brandwatch Analytics provides owned media channel tracking, giving real insight into your communities and the impact of your social media activities. With Instagram Channels specifically, it provides in-depth insight into your Instagram community and content. This was exactly what the stores had asked Jennilyn and the team to help them answer.

With this tracking already in place and working well, Jennilyn believed the same method could be used for all 860+ Instagram accounts.

Setting up the tracking of 860+ Instagram accounts in Brandwatch was a hefty administration process, but once it was done Toys“R”Us had every Instagram account tracked in one place, for a single source of truth.

“We took our current measurement model with Brandwatch and scaled the heck out of it.”
– Jennilyn Marcus, Manager, Consumer Insights - Toys“R”Us.

Data with meaning

The next challenge for Jennilyn was to understand how to organize the data around each store. Toys“R”Us had a few options, it could sort stores either nationally,  by region, by district, or simply show all stores.

Rather than trying to do everything at once the team at Toys“R”Us prioritized starting small, so they chose to organize the data by regional level.

With a smaller data set the team were able to qualitatively assess the results to understand and answer the key questions from the stores.

“The fun part for me was really digging into the data understanding what drives performance.”
– Jennilyn Marcus, Manager, Consumer Insights - Toys“R”Us.

The findings

The owned channel analysis provided real-time insight into the activities on the 860+ Instagram accounts.

Initially, the Consumer Insights team identified similar findings across all its regions, with the posts that resonated the most being:

  • Images of real people, whether this was Toys“R”Us or customers
  • Posts that contained hot, trending products e.g Star Wars, Lego
  • In-store event images that showed people having a good time
  • Geoffrey the giraffe
  • Creative posts e.g Boomerangs, staff having fun.

The Consumer Insights team had an intuition that posts of this nature would have featured in the popular content list, but they now had the data to back their beliefs.

The insights were fed back to each of the regional teams, who could then pass on findings to its stores. Each store could now understand which posts perform best and ensure they are producing content in the future that will resonate best with its audiences.

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