2017’s Top Social Advertising Campaigns

As this year winds down, the time for social media listicles and 2018 prediction articles is upon us. Social media in 2017 saw a lot of new features, trends and updates that allowed brands and marketers alike to get very creative with their social channels, and with U.S. social advertising budgets predicted to reach $17 billion within the next two years, social networks will become an increasingly important marketing tool.

With new developments in social coming almost daily, we’ve put together a list of high-performing social advertising campaigns that had impacts both online and offline this year, along with quick takeaways that your team can bring into next year.

Snapchat – Taco Bell – Cinco De Mayo

Cinco De Mayo can be considered a “can’t miss” holiday for Mexican fast food chain Taco Bell. To celebrate the date of Mexican independence, the brand launched a sponsored Snapchat filter that turned users’ heads into a giant taco – resulting in a whopping 224 MILLION VIEWS AND 12.5 YEARS WORTH OF PLAY IN JUST ONE DAY.

The Taco Bell team worked directly with Snapchat for six weeks in advance to produce the platform’s most successful filter to date, beating out a Gatorade Super Bowl campaign that generated 165+ million views.

Quick Takeaway: Align your brand with a popular event/holiday that has high social engagement and execute in such a way that gives users a shareable experience. 

Twitter – Wendy’s – #NuggetsForCarter

The Wendy’s Twitter account has become somewhat of an internet legend for its witty and, at times, downright savage tweets and replies. Many users attempt to troll the account only to end up on the losing end of a Twitter roast like so:


After establishing such a personality on social media, Wendy’s replies on Twitter have the potential to turn into trending topics. This was the case when Wendy’s challenged one teenager who wanted a year of free chicken nuggets to get 18 million retweets.

With retweets from big brands like Amazon, Google, T-Mobile and United Airlines, #NuggetsForCarter became Twitter’s most retweeted tweet in the platform’s history, passing the 3.4 million retweets earned by Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar selfie. Needless to say, Carter got his nuggets.

Quick Takeaway: Sometimes the best campaigns and ideas are not planned and come from your customers. Be agile enough to capitalize on a viral movement when it arises. Campaigns like these are a perfect example of how viral sensations are born out of the most random of things.

Snapchat/Twitter – StRanger Things 2 – The Upside Down

The world jumped for joy when the popular Nexflix show Stranger Things returned for its second season this October. During the first three days of the season’s release, the first episode averaged 15.8 million viewers and 4 million viewers per episode across the entire second season. While the show certainly has a large, cult-like following, the fan base had plenty of content to engage with to promote the new season.

For those not familiar, the Kellog’s Eggo® brand was featured throughout the first season of Stranger Things and the waffles became a favorite of the show’s main character. Eggo earned a mountain of engagements when they paired up with Netflix to plug the second season. In this promotional tweet, Eggo flipped a whole tweet upside down in a reference to the show and tagged the official Stranger Things Twitter account. As a result of savvy planning and a strategic partnership, the tweet earned more than 8,900 retweets and 19,000 likes.


In addition to a big win on Twitter, the show also utilized Snapchat filters to create an “Eleven Face” filter which includes the character’s famous nosebleed. The marketing team took it one step further and leveraged augmented reality lenses to take viewers “inside” the main character’s living room. Viewership numbers are not yet public, but we imagine they will reflect high engagement as well.

Quick Takeaway: Partnering with another brand to launch a social campaign can drastically increase your reach. Cross-company promotion is a powerful social media tool that’ll expose a whole new audience to your brand.

As a tech public relations firm, we believe that incorporating social advertising into a tight integration of media relations, social media, content marketing and lead generation is inherent to each custom PR plan that we deploy. See our client results for examples of social advertising success and contact us to see how we can help your business #MakeNews and #DriveLeads.

Alexis Pastrana
Alexis strategically combines her social media and design skills with Alloy's Methodology to help clients make news and drive leads. Read her insights.
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