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Get Your Social Media Advertising in Shape for the New Year

  • by: Crystal Cha
  • On: 18, Dec 2018
8 min read

December is here, and with it, the season when wellness and fitness brands everywhere are gearing up for their busiest month of the year - January. Year after year, the data from online searches show that hordes of humans go through the same peculiar ritual.

On boxing day and New Year’s day, after the effects of last night’s feasting and champagne have worn off, and after the ball has dropped, remorse sets in. People turn to their trusted advisor, Google, for help on “losing weight” and “getting fit”. And wellness and fitness brands around the world are on standby, ready to jump into action at the turn of the new year.

The decline of the 12-month membership

Traditional gyms which lock members into 12-month contracts at the start of the year stood to benefit the most from this annual ritual. Data shows that most new gym members (up to 80%) stop visiting the gym by February, the month when most people start to abandon their fitness resolutions.

Yet the traditional 12-month gym membership has been on the decline for years now, with younger gym goers preferring to pay a la carte. In the last decade, a new wave of fitness offerings (including both physical studios and digital apps) have mushroomed up with an itemized pricing structure, including big names such as SoulCycle, Peleton, BodyBoss, and ClassPass.

has benefited customers everywhere. Fitness is now more accessible for those who want to try something new without a hefty commitment. It is more affordable for casual exercisers who only want to pay for what they use. But what does this mean for brands in this industry facing stiffer competition?

The challenge and opportunity for brands in this new fitness landscape

Health and fitness apps have become widely popular over the past few years, with usage growing by over 330% in the last three years, according to 2017 research.

Additionally, fitness app usage data correlates closely with the seasonal gym peak season in January with a sudden dip in February. However, usage builds up towards summer as everyone gets their beach bodies in shape, peaking again in August.

This data combined with observed changes in user habits represents both a challenge and an opportunity for fitness brands where users can opt out or unsubscribe at any time, sometimes even with just the tap of a button.

Want to learn more or explore a free trial with BrandBastion for the upcoming peak fitness season?


The challenge is keeping customers engaged so they keep coming back for more. On the other hand, the opportunity is that offering a superior customer experience can attract new customers even during traditional ‘off-peak’ seasons, as switching costs for customers are low. They can easily unsubscribe from a competitor’s offering and subscribe to yours within minutes.

The role of social media in attracting and retaining customers

Recently, BrandBastion analyzed over 1,600 comments across 10 Facebook and Instagram ads from 6 brands including Headspace, Beachbody, ClassPass, Noom, and Equinox to understand what type of engagement Wellness & Fitness ads receive in their quest for new customers and how are these comments being managed (read full report here). We found that for the Wellness and Fitness vertical, there was the opportunity to drive sales, retention, and business goals through:

1. Providing excellent customer care

Across the 1,600 comments analyzed, 5.1% were customer inquiries and complaints. Only 5.8% of these comments received a response from the brand. Marketers and customer service professionals know that responding to customers in a timely manner is the key when it comes to providing great customer service. Yet for brands advertising at scale on social media, detecting customer inquiries among hundreds of irrelevant comments and spam still poses a big challenge.

Read more: Why and How Should Brands Respond on Social Media?

Recommendations: Track and respond to user inquiries or complaints promptly, as this can increase the likelihood of converting and builds trust with potential new customers

2. Decluttering comment feeds from harmful comments

4.3% out of all comments were comments including brand attacks, spam, scam, and users promoting competing alternatives. Depending on the platform or the nature of the business, some ads are more likely to receive harmful content than others. This can affect brand perception, causing users to click away which impacts conversion rates. Detecting this type of content can be challenging to manage in-house without increasing headcount.

Recommendations: Protect your paid content from harmful comments by hiding brand attacks, competitor promotions, spam and scam. These types of comments may affect a prospect’s decision and can damage brand reputation, ad performance, and customer experience.  

3. Paying attention to reactions to ad creatives

This industry is one that is a natural fit with social media, especially visual platforms like Instagram. Visual content inspires users and motivates them towards their goals of living better or getting fitter.

It’s no surprise then, that when analyzing comments and reactions on wellness and fitness ads, we observed that user sentiment tends to be primarily positive (on average, 35.7% positive sentiment was received across all ads analyzed).

However, for ads which were the outliers with a high amount of negative reactions, we found through comment analysis that users were not resonating with the ads. People were criticizing the ad’s claims, the models used, or the brand message in these particular ads.

The creative used in ads has a huge impact in how the audience responds. And tracking discussions across your social media campaigns offer invaluable insights into brand perception, resulting in new marketing strategies.

Recommendations: In addition to reach and conversion metrics, track engagement as well and identify ad creatives that are not resonating with your audience. Pay close attention not only to the volume of engagement but to the quality (such as sentiment metrics) of those reactions as well.

To sum it up, in addition to driving new sign ups, it is just as important to drive brand reputation and trust by addressing all customer inquiries that are public on ads. In addition, harmful comments that may affect perceptions of those considering signing up should be removed. Finally, understanding how users are resonating with your ad creatives is essential to take into account for future campaigns to succeed.

We hope these insights and recommendations will help you get closer to achieving your advertising and sales goals for 2019!

Want to learn more or explore a free trial with BrandBastion for the upcoming peak fitness season?

Get in touch

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