‘We want to be in the places where they’re going to be’: How Shutterfly is reintroducing itself to younger shoppers

Shutterfly has recently rolled out its largest marketing effort to date. 

Since late last year, the California-based photography product service company has been ramping up its social media, streaming and online video efforts. It’s part of the brand’s redirection to promote Shutterfly’s newly expanded offerings, like graphic prints and designs. It’s also a play at introducing itself to newer, younger and Gen Z audiences said Craig Rowley, Shutterfly’s CMO.

“People are consuming media differently,” Rowley said, adding that the brand has to adjust its media mix to where consumers are spending their time, like streaming services and social media. “They’re showing up in different environments and we want to be in the places where they’re going to be.”

Shutterfly is not alone. As the pandemic has continued to push people to spend more time online and in front of the television for streaming, brands like Edible Arrangements and Vivid Seats have also looked to digital video to diversify their media mix and get in front of more shoppers.

The shifted media mix launched alongside Shutterfly’s “Make it a Thing” campaign last October, boasting more digital and streaming video than prior campaigns. The campaign, created in partnership with branding and marketing agency Mischief features 30-second spots portraying potential Shutterfly gifts, like family photo Christmas tree ornaments. 

The company has also punched up its social media advertising spend, especially on TikTok and Snapchat, per Rowley. The “Make it a Thing” campaign and digital marketing efforts that surround it make it the brand’s largest effort to date, he added.

It’s unclear those ad dollars are spent as Rowley declined to provide further details. However, the CMO said that Shutterfly’s ad spend is up year-over-year. In the first half of 2021, Kantar reports that Shutterfly spent more than $47 million on media. Throughout 2020, the personalization company spent about $26 million on media, slightly down from the $34 million spent total in 2019.  Those numbers do not include social media as Kantar does not track those figures.

The way people shop has changed, meaning many are looking toward brands to “add value in the moment and they expect instant gratification no matter where they are,” said Eddie Gonzalez, vp of strategy and performance at media company Razorfish. In response, companies like Shutterfly have created more marketing touch points in their strategies.

“Marketers that have been successful in activating a full-funnel strategy have been able to create a more complete picture of how marketing is driving growth for the organization,” Gonzalez added.

Per Rowley, the initial campaign saw good delivery with consistent video completion rates and engagement. “Those are the kinds of short-term things you can manage,” he said. “We’ll have to see longer-term whether it impacts things like brand awareness, brand familiarity or relevance.”

Moving further into 2022, Shutterfly will continue to invest in the current brand campaign, including the new direction with expanded social media efforts, online video and streaming. 

“In these digital environments, there are many use cases of things that people didn’t even know they could make on Shutterfly,” Rowley said. “[It’s about] being able to express that down into detail, and actually targeting those against relevant audiences as well.”


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