How Hershey’s Uses Data to Keep the Treats Flowing

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It’s no understatement to say that Halloween is the biggest time of year for The Hershey Company. And with supply chain issues disrupting nearly every sector of the economy, the company does not want to trick consumers by not providing them with their favorite treats.

It’s no understatement to say that Halloween is the biggest time of year for The Hershey Company. And with supply chain issues disrupting nearly every sector of the economy, the company does not want to trick consumers by not providing them with their favorite treats.  

This year, the company is working with ecommerce analytics company MikMak to provide first-party insights on consumers’ candy preferences by geographic region. “[We’re] leveraging MikMak’s full-service solution to ensure that consumers are directed to retailers that have our priority products in stock,” said Isaac Chernin, senior manager of search and user experience at The Hershey Company. “This is always a priority, but particularly so this year, given the elevated demand.”

So far, Hershey’s has determined the most popular candies in the Northeast are York Thins, while consumers in the South and West prefer Kit Kat, and people in the Midwest like Hershey’s Kisses. In the Northeast and West, consumers prefer to purchase their candy online from Amazon and Target, while those in the South prefer Walmart and Instacart. (Midwestern consumers in the Midwest showed no distinct retailer preference.)

This information helps the company determine which products to advertise, as well as where those products should be distributed, Chernin said. It also helps Hershey’s executives evaluate marketing content, Chernin said. 

“We’ve learned from MikMak’s insights that certain types of products and creative executions do a particularly good job in driving conversion at digital retail,” he said. “We take this into account when planning our campaigns, and it’s been especially useful for benchmarking and identifying where and when to make in-campaign adjustments.” 

In addition, Hershey’s is using MikMak’s info to determine which social networks are performing best when it comes to shoppable content.  “We’ve seen social platforms develop more and more as a major source of e-commerce traffic,” said Rachel Tipoagraph, founder and CEO of MikMak. “Over half of all shoppers on our platform begin their experience from social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. This is an indicator that consumers are comfortable and familiar with seeing their social media channels as a product discovery environment.”

MikMak’s data also includes insights into consumer trends, as well. “Like many advertisers, we’ve noticed an uptick in baking, and engagement with shoppable experiences that feature recipes,” Chernin said. “As a result, we’ve revised our recipe engagement benchmarks, and are giving those shopping experiences added attention to ensure we’re meeting our consumers’ needs.” 

Though Halloween is the company’s most important season, Chernin and Hershey’s executives will continue to use the information throughout the year to ensure their marketing is as efficient as possible. “Between seasons, this information helps us identify what products and messaging are resonating best with consumers, and we apply those learnings to other campaigns,” Chernin said.  

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