Monday, June 30th, 2014 | 4 min read
Gender equality in advertising has been trending on social media over the past few weeks. Hashtags like #yesallwomen and #nomakeupselfie have sparked debates on why these stereotypes exist, and why they persist in advertising.
Social data shows us that there are distinct behavioral differences between the sexes, and consequently, differences between social platforms depending on the demographic of users. But while these gender differences exist, the use of gender stereotypes is lazy and often offensive to the intended target audience.
There is a better way…
New figures show that social media is still a female-dominated space; women are more likely to use it for entertainment and keeping in touch with family and friends. Visual platforms in particular, like Pinterest and Instagram, are heavily female biased. More than 80% of Pinterest users are women.
Brands should bare this in mind when creating content. It is essential that images and videos are striking enough to catch a user’s attention and inspiring enough to make them want to share. Nike Running and Nike Training Club show some great examples of engaging Pins aimed at women.
With Pinterest now generating over 400% more revenue per click than Twitter, the recent launch of Promoted Pins is a welcome addition for brands. We recommend allocating some budget to target your Pins to the right audiences.
Facebook also has a higher percentage of female users, with 54% of women likely to show support for a brand on social media. Women are often the budgetary decision-makers of the household, so it’s important to target them with day-to-day items and products for kids.
The most effective way of doing this is to amplify posts with paid media, especially now, since organic reach has hit an all-time low.
It’s interesting that most major ad campaigns aimed at women are centered on breaking gender stereotypes, whereas successful campaigns for men often celebrate them or make fun of traditional ideas of “manliness,” like the famous Old Spice campaigns or Dollar Shave Club’s viral video.
Turning preconceptions about women on their head can appeal to a female audience, such as Pantene’s campaign, or this GoldiBlox example that targets mums with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) inspired toys for girls:
A recent study suggests that men are more concerned about using social media for business purposes than women. LinkedIn is one of the few platforms that have a higher percentage of male users.
Twitter is fairly evenly split — 17% of US males online compared to 18% females. If your product is gender specific, it’s more important to promote Tweets to make sure they cut through the noise and reach your target audience.
YouTube is more popular among men, who spend an average of one hour a week on this social channel as opposed to 35 minutes for women, so video campaigns aimed at men can be really effective.
Old Spice’s 2010 re-launch with ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,’ is interesting as it was originally targeted at women as the grocery shoppers of the family. However, it became so popular among male fans that Old Spice continued the same macho humor in their following ads, aimed squarely at men.
Monitoring gender behavior on social media is not about reinforcing gender stereotypes. It’s about using data to find out what really makes your audience tick and optimizing your content, whether it be a ridiculously funny video or an empowering image to make people stop and think.
About the Author: Bianca Ohannessian is the Senior Content Manager at Sprinklr London. With a passion for fashion and an appetite for adventure, when she’s not writing copy, she’s out exploring the globe.
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