How Cadbury’s Chocolate Thumb Increased Facebook Engagement

A Cadbury Dairy Milk bar in 2006.As social media continues to become an integral part of marketing and communications campaigns, it never hurts to examine successful campaigns and identify ways to incorporate new strategies into your own social media plan.

Let’s take a look at one of the most delectable chocolate brands in the world  and discuss how this 189-year-old company was able to implement a ‘social first’ strategy  that increased brand awareness and engagement and allowed it to  reach more than one million Facebook followers.

Wondering who this emerging digital leader is?  Cadbury Chocolate!

Cadbury’s “Social First” Goals:

1) Increase the follower count on the Cadbury Dairy Milk Facebook Fan Page.
2) Increase follower engagement with Cadbury Dairy Milk, thereby increasing page activity.
3) Augmenting the EdgeRank score of the Cadbury Dairy Milk Facebook Fan Page.

Why did Cadbury do it?

They noticed that they had a high number of Facebook fans but were seeing low engagement. Why does this matter? Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank, determines how many of your followers see your post based on three factors—one of those factors being the level of fan engagement with your Fan Page’s posts. Essentially, the value of your brand on Facebook is measured by the individuals who frequently like your posts, comment, and share them. This determines what users are more  likely to see your future postings in their news feed.

How did they do it?

To promote the fact that they were building a giant chocolate thumb to celebrate reaching one million Facebook Fans and show their appreciation, Cadbury:

  • Posted teaser ads on Facebook that included a countdown to the big event;
  • Created an infographic sharing insider stats associated with building the giant thumb to build excitement about the event;
  • Invited fans to compete for the chance to place the final piece of chocolate on the giant chocolate thumbs up.

The social campaign culminated with the completion of the  giant chocolate thumbs up sign featured in the YouTube video above- awesome right?! And, what made it even better was that they involved their fans throughout the process. Fans were invited to give suggestions on how the thumb’s shape should look and Cadbury was able to increase engagement by replying to each comment in real-time. It also didn’t hurt that they gave “Superfan Denise”, the winner of the Facebook contest, the opportunity to place the last piece of chocolate, a very prominent shout out and six seconds of video time. Overall, this campaign produced 40,000 Facebook followers and saw Cadbury’s fan engagement reach 350,000 people.

Wondering how can you do the same?

No one is saying that you need to mold a giant chocolate thumb to spark user engagement, but here are a few takeaways from Cadbury’s Social Media Strategy:

  1. Get your Facebook fans excited about an upcoming product launch by posting teaser videos or photos.
  2. Crowdsource the name of an upcoming event or fundraiser by holding a contest and offering a prize to the fan who gives the best name.
  3. Host fan of the week (or month) contests depending on your schedule contests where you reward fans who engage with your content frequently and are your “brand advocates”.
  4. Be interactive by playing games with your fans, asking them questions and getting their opinions on topics. When they do respond, be sure to reply back.

Just remember, pick one new thing to develop and test before adding another. Building fan engagement takes time. If you’d like to read more about Cadbury’s Social First strategy, check out this great synopsis.

Suggested Reading


Images via / A Cadbury Dairy Milk bar in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ellisse Johnston

Ellisse is an alumna of Penn State University. She currently holds a bachelor’s in public relations with a minor in French and Francophone studies. When she's not completing various internships, Ellisse runs her own blog and maintains an active presence on Twitter and LinkedIn. Feel free to send her an email at with your feedback.

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