Case Study | Retail Industry

Urban Outfitters Content Strategy

How Urban Outfitters Breaks Barriers to Reach New Audiences

Urban Outfitters has skillfully navigated the complexities of algorithm-driven social media platforms, achieving outstanding growth in meaningful engagement metrics.

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How Urban Outfitters Breaks Barriers to Reach New Audiences

Discover how Urban Outfitters uses Dash Hudson to:

  • Crack the code on algorithmic barriers, skyrocketing its TikTok and Instagram engagement metrics with Dash Hudson's analytics
  • Revitalize its content strategy, embracing meme culture and interactive posts to break through social media algorithms — all powered by Dash Hudson
  • Bridge the gap between social media and online sales using Dash Hudson's LikeShop feature

Results

+424%

increase in TikTok Video Views*

+275%

increase in Instagram Video Views*

+5,690%

increase in net new Instagram Followers*

*September 2022 to August 2023, compared to the previous year

Urban Outfitters’ Challenge

Urban Outfitters has long been a trendsetter in the fashion and retail world. The brand, which expanded into the URBN portfolio of brands since its founding in 1970, has a keen sense of fashion moments that resonate with young adults. Social media came naturally to the brand, and it saw early success on Facebook and Instagram, but what happens when everything marketers know about social media is turned upside down?

The social media landscape has shifted significantly since the early days of Instagram. The shift towards complex, algorithm-driven platforms has made it challenging for established brands like Urban Outfitters to maintain visibility. The speed at which trends change is faster than marketers can contend with, yet they are conducive to success. Compounding this challenge is audience fatigue, as users grow weary of repetitive content and seek fresh, exciting brand interactions.

To navigate these challenges, Urban Outfitters turns to social media management platform, Dash Hudson. The brand has successfully revitalized its content strategy for the algorithm-powered era of social by sunsetting its old editorial style, embracing memes and focusing on growing meaningful engagement metrics, backed by precise insights from the Dash Hudson platform.

"Why Dash Hudson? I think it's way more robust. We’ve been using it for a long time, and people who have used other platforms say that Dash Hudson’s layout is way easier to use. It’s straightforward, easy to navigate, and really intuitive. I like the new features, and they roll out frequently, which is always exciting because we do end up using most of them. They’re really smart and useful.”

Alayna Giovannitti
Associate Director of Social Media, Urban Outfitters

The New Blueprint for Retailers on Social Media

Recognizing a shift in social media culture from aesthetic-driven to entertainment-focused, Urban Outfitters pivoted from its traditional editorial style. The brand now employs a distinct cross-channel strategy tailored to the unique audiences of Instagram and TikTok. Instagram remains a curated space, appealing to community-oriented older Millennials who may not always grasp TikTok trends. TikTok, on the other hand, is a playground for entertainment and authenticity. For example, while TikTok users enthusiastically embraced Y2K-inspired outfits, the Instagram crowd found the nostalgic style puzzling — they were unfamiliar with the Y2K renaissance that has taken over TikTok. The brand understands that recognizing these platform-specific nuances is key to enhancing content performance.

To navigate this complex landscape, Urban Outfitters relies on Dash Hudson's advanced analytics. Unlike native platform metrics, Dash Hudson provides a deeper understanding of performance, distinguishing between mere views and genuine entertainment. These granular insights allow the brand to fine-tune its strategy, resulting in a community that's not just viewing but actively engaging through comments, shares and saves.

"When it comes to pulling stats, Dash Hudson is the best way we do it. We look at stats on a monthly basis to help inform our future decisions. If we had to pull stats manually, we’d need to sit there with a calculator. It would take forever. There are stats that we would never be able to calculate. Dash Hudson saves so much time. In the past, we didn’t have anything that was nearly this powerful, and we were having to do a lot of manual work. Now we can pull stats, and it’s no problem.”

Alayna Giovannitti
Associate Director of Social Media, Urban Outfitters

Breaking Through the Algorithm With Rejuvenated Content

The team at Urban Outfitters immerses themselves in TikTok’s various niches, using competitive research and insights to build meaningful engagement with audiences. TikTok is the perfect platform for retailers seeking brand awareness, as Urban Outfitters can show up everywhere, including subcommunities of passionate viewers brought together by the algorithm, such as FashionTok or Home Decor TikTok. The brand’s new, agile approach allows the team to adapt content strategy on the fly, ensuring visibility and relevance in an algorithm-dominated landscape. As a result, the brand’s audience has become significantly more engaged. Urban Outfitters has seen explosive growth on TikTok, including a +183% increase in Likes, a +170% increase in Comments and a +102% increase in Shares.

Urban Outfitters Growth on TikTok

While Urban Outfitters has skyrocketed to success on TikTok, the brand has been successful on Instagram for more than a decade. The challenge with having 9 million followers is that there’s very little room left to grow, and the brand faced negative follower growth at one point — a universal challenge for brands on the channel right now. But, incredibly, all it took was a refreshed approach to content to break out of its plateau, increasing net new followers by +5,690% in the past year.

+5690% increase in net new Instagram followers

"We use Dash Hudson to look at things in retrospect. We can use all of the metrics as anecdotes to paint a broader picture of what happened, and what we were talking about, what was the reason why we sold out of a product last week. Telling the story of the customer journey from social is so hard, but Dash Hudson makes our lives easier.”

Alayna Giovannitti
Associate Director of Social Media, Urban Outfitters

Driving Traffic and Staying Competitive in a Saturated Market

Urban Outfitters keeps its e-commerce separate from social, focusing on great content that builds brand awareness. However, in this trend-driven era, there are moments when top-of-funnel finesse can directly translate into sales. Introducing: the tomato lamp. This quirky luminescent tomato was ultra-popular when it was unveiled on social media, and the brand strategically used Dash Hudson’s link-in-bio feature, LikeShop, to direct traffic from the content to its website. The lamp subsequently went on backorder, a sales feat attributed to the social team thanks to Dash Hudson.

Dash Hudson LikeShop Urban Outfitters Tomato Lamp Journey

Dash Hudson provides the data to help the social team paint a complete picture of their success stories. With the rapid pace of social media, brands like Urban Outfitters use social media management platforms to stay agile. Dash Hudson’s user-friendly interface makes it easy to onboard new team members, including interns or those who aren’t on the social team. The simplicity of its design and ease of pulling reports, which the team commends when compared to other platforms they’ve used, ultimately allows them to streamline workflows and focus on being creative.

"We use Dash Hudson for everything. It’s such a reliable tool, and the team is great.”

Alayna Giovannitti
Associate Director of Social Media, Urban Outfitters
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What We Can Learn From Urban Outfitters’ Strategy

Agile Content Adaptation

Urban Outfitters' willingness to pivot from traditional, editorial styles to embrace current trends showcases the necessity of agility in today's fast-paced social media landscape. Its success serves as a lesson in how real-time content adaptation can keep a brand relevant and visible in an algorithm-dominated environment.

Focus On Meaningful Metrics

Urban Outfitters demonstrates the importance of quality over quantity in social media interactions. This strategy, backed by Dash Hudson's robust analytics, underscores the value of deepening connections with your audience for long-term brand loyalty.

Seamless E-Commerce Integration

Urban Outfitters' use of Dash Hudson's LikeShop feature allows it to connect viral products on social media to its store, taking users from scroll to shop.
PRO TIPS

Pro Tips To Maximize Dash Hudson To Drive Business ROI

  • Leverage TikTok and Instagram Insights to discover what content reaches, entertains and retains your audience in real-time, and how content performs differently on each platform.
  • Utilize Social Listening Trends to see what’s gaining traction on social media to get a bird’s-eye view of the social landscape and drill down into each trending keyword to help inform your content strategy.
  • Leverage UGC Insights to never miss the most influential posts featuring your brand and measure the impact of earned content to fuel your visual strategy.

The Only Social Platform Marketers Need To Succeed and Scale