Case Studies



BrandGlue and Jackson Kayak: Navigating the Rapidly Changing Waters of Social Media

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While Jackson Kayak is one of the leading kayak manufacturers, they were up creek without a paddle on social.

Jackson Kayak is the largest, family-owned kayak manufacturer in the world. The owner, Eric Jackson, is a pro Olympian and National Champion. Other members of the Jackson family, Dane and Emily, are both pro kayakers. What do you do when you have an awesome store but aren’t quite sure how to share it on Facebook?


Problems the client wanted solved:

  • Low numbers compared to the competition.
  • Average social reach.
  • Low traffic and consumptions.
  • Not reaching a full potential fan base.

The average fan page only reaches 7% of their fans. In January, 2012, Jackson Kayak was reaching 20.1% of their fans. By April, 2012, BrandGlue had helped them increase this to 39.8%.


So, how do you reach your fans? Ask them to engage! Utilize multiple choice questions, photo captions and fill-in-the-blanks. These tactics led to a 302% increase in engagement for the Jackson Kayak fan page and over just five posts on Facebook, we received 1,069 comments.

Bonus Tip: Attach a photo to your status updates. The difference in average engaged users for a photo vs. a plain text status update was 828 to 76.

Sustainable Reach: Always keep the creative juices flowing. Are you using your cover photo effectively? Give it away! We asked fans to upload their awesome kayak photos to our fan page. We chose finalists, uploaded their photos, and let our fans select the winner. The winning photo became our fan page Cover Photo for the month.

Creativity gets you noticed! Our work on behalf of Jackson Kayak got mentioned in Mashable by Joe Chernov’s article on How to Use Facebook Timeline Without Reworking Your Brand Strategy: “Sporting goods company Jackson Kayak is a good example. Fans submitted their best action shots, which are then uploaded into a photo album where fans vote by liking their favorite. The image with the most likes becomes the featured cover, but the company is the real winner because all of the tagging, sharing, and liking improve its’ EdgeRank.”


The results after newsfeed optimization:

  • +10,694: Average monthly engaged users.
  • +3.25 million: The number of times Jackson Kayak’s content was seen on Facebook.
  • +11,424: The total number of likes and comments.
  • +930: The total number of shares.
  • +780%: The overall engagement increase.

PROBLEM: Not enough fans consuming content.

The ultimate key to success was engagement.

  • Increased engagement means increased visibility.
  • Increased visibility means increased consumptions.
  • Increased consumptions means increased web referrals.


Once our fans were fully engaged, they started consuming. Consumptions are clicks on a link, photo, or video.


Our rising consumptions increased web traffic.

  • +83.5%: Increase in referrals from Facebook.
  • +13.5%: Overall increase in web traffic.

PROBLEM: Not enough fans.


Here’s what we did: we used a sweepstakes to grow our base.

  • We gave away 10 GoPro cameras.
  • We gave 5 of the cameras to random winners and 5 to the folks that referred the winners.
  • The grand prize was a Jackson Kayak of your choice and round trip airfare to Rock Island, Tennessee to paddle with Eric Jackson for the day.


  • 7,548 entries to the sweepstakes.
  • 10 new and total stoked brand evangelists.
  • 9,157 new Facebook fans.

When building a sweepstakes, keep in mind that they’re usually cheaper than ads, they’re engaging, and they’re fun.

  • Be creative, but keep it simple.
  • Make sure the prize is related to the brand.
  • Give folks an incentive to share.
  • Look for strategic partners to co-brand with.
  • Keep the entry form short. Less is more.

How much does a fan cost? While understanding these numbers are hard to calculate and vary widely from industry to industry, a study by Webtrends suggests than an average fan costs $1.07 through traditional advertising.

How much did our increase in fans cost us through our sweepstakes?

  • 2 sweepstake campaigns: $2,175
  • Total number of fans acquired: 12,763
  • Total cost per fan: $0.17

Jackson Kayak is now a leader in both social innovation and numbers. And, most importantly, they now have a paddle.

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