How Unilever uses Google Cloud to optimize marketing campaigns

Home to more than 400 brands including Dove, Lipton, and Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever is one of the biggest consumer goods companies in the world—operating across more than 190 markets globally. At the company’s core is a goal to build a more sustainable business, both environmentally and socially.

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Unilever has the grand ambition of creating 1 billion one-to-one relationships with its consumers through meaningful and relevant dialogue. Google Cloud capabilities have been critical to supporting this goal.

One important way Unilever is achieving this is through their People Data Centres (PDCs). Unilever PDCs exist in 27 markets and are focused on three areas: social and business analytics, consumer engagement centers, and consumer relationship management. Using a broad range of consumer data alongside Google Cloud AI tools such as translation, visual analytics, and natural language processing (NLP), Unilever has been able to generate insights faster than ever before and gain a deeper understanding of customer needs. They’ve also been able to use those tools and insights to build better and more effective advertising campaigns.

Better marketing campaigns with Google Cloud AI

Using Google Cloud tools, Unilever has been able to add scale, reach, and personalization—a strong example of this is their recent ad campaign for Close-up toothpaste in Asia. Using search analytics, Unilever discovered that the second most searched-for term for their website users was “learning how to kiss.” Using this insight, the team created a three-day campaign for the brand around Valentine’s Day, deployed in six key Asian markets.

To make the campaign a success, they needed to resonate with a target audience that spanned culturally diverse areas across Asia—from Thailand and Indonesia to India. To do it, they analyzed trending social media data to optimize their marketing assets in real time, and created culturally relevant content that spoke respectfully to each region and consumer individually.

Using Google Cloud’s Cloud Vision API, Unilever analyzed user-generated content around their campaign hashtags and Valentine’s Day. These insights were then used to create and deploy six-second bumper ads daily during the campaign on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. The team used Natural Language API to monitor online comments about the campaign and ads. This then allowed Unilever to fine-tune the message delivery of ads that resonated most with their audience across those social channels.

The numbers spoke for themselves, as the campaign touched nearly 500 million people and generated positive uplift in brand engagement and consideration.

“Part of what makes Google Cloud a great partner is its brainpower and resources. The data-centric culture of test, learn and optimize has been a hallmark of our relationship, and it makes us confident that we’ll be seeing fantastic new products and applications from them in the future,” says Alex Owens, VP and Global People Data Centres at Unilever. “At Unilever, we believe in purpose-driven brands. Google Cloud’s products are rich in quality and purpose, and its people are committed to customers like us.”

The Close-up toothpaste campaign was just one of many, and Unilever plans to explore how Google Cloud AI solutions can help support additional campaigns in the future. Learn more about those tools here.

By Rajen Sheth – Director of Product Management, Google Cloud AI