IKEA Billy

Branding, Design, Email, SEO, Social Media, Strategy, PPC

Unpacking IKEA’s digital marketing strategy: key observations

IKEA’s flat-packed furniture furnishes millions of UK homes, but the brand’s success is no accident. Let’s unpack some key elements to the Swedish giant’s UK digital marketing strategy.

From widespread use of inspirational imagery to email automations and smart use of content SEO, there are a number of ways IKEA’s winning with their digital activity. A great case study for any home and garden brand.

A consistent, familiar brand

IKEA’s blue and yellow brand colours — reflecting the Swedish flag — are bold, iconic and offer instant recognition. Online and offline, they are ever-present.

IKEA’s value proposition is similarly consistent and powerful, too. Customers know that they’re getting stylish homewares at an affordable price.

Through offering design and planning services, the brand also makes an attempt to come across as more than a retailer. As we’ll mention, by delivering strong visual imagery and project inspiration throughout their digital activity, they’re wanting to be more of a friendly design advisor.

An IKEA store with its iconic blue storefront and huge yellow sign. Sunny background.

Showcasing products in action

IKEA’s inspiration hub boasts plenty of visual ideas for users to chew over whilst they’re tucking into some Swedish meatballs. This can be filtered by room, activity, colour and style.

You don’t need us to tell you this, but including plenty of product imagery is good practice for any brand in the home and garden sector. IKEA’s galleries are hugely visual, aiming to inspire.

IKEA’s ‘Be inspired’ section, showcasing their product range in action.

Harnessing user-generated content

Ah, UGC. The holy grail of authenticity. IKEA’s ‘As seen on Instagram’ image carousel features throughout their website — it’s a great way of showcasing products in real customers’ homes, complementing the more professional image galleries we just mentioned.

IKEA are keen to be as visual as possible, which is a big win.

Interest-free credit and free delivery

Like many savvy e-commerce brands, IKEA makes it as tempting as possible to convert by sweetening the deal with finance options.

By making that new oak-effect coffee table slightly less of a budgetary stretch in the short-term, offering interest-free credit certainly helps to facilitate conversions.

A screenshot of IKEA’s website where they offer interest-free credit.

To further smooth the customer journey, IKEA also offers free delivery for small package orders over £60 and online project planning consultations.

Emphasising sustainability

IKEA’s target audience is as diverse as its product range, but there’s a particular focus on younger, middle-class shoppers seeking budget-friendly, stylish home furnishings.

IKEA is well aware of the eco-consciousness of this demographic. With their entire hub on sustainable living and a dedicated sustainability strategy, it’s clear the brand is keen to do more than just pay lip service to environmental concerns.

A playful, well-rounded organic social strategy

A perusal of IKEA UK’s Instagram feed shows a good mix of social media content with a consistent, varied output of inspiration content, discounts, new ranges and trends.

They’re not missing the opportunity to showcase their product range looking resplendent with professional, aspirational photography.

IKEA has even recreated Demi Lovato’s home with IKEA furniture — for ‘the celebrity look without the celebrity price tag’, naturally.

All great stuff that’s visual, inspirational and shareable with partners and housemates.

They’re also not afraid to jump on trends, showing how to do ‘what’s in my bag’ with a stop-motion effect, whilst also tagging products in their social posts — another great strategy for driving sales directly from social.

Similarly low-fi was their tongue-in-cheek take on London Fashion Week.

IKEA doesn’t shy away from those tried-and-tested techniques for drumming up engagement, either — competitions.

Eye-catching paid social creative

IKEA are making the most of bold, colourful ad creative in their social media advertising, emphasising their free delivery. A wise strategy and an enticing proposition, especially when you consider how nightmarishly busy IKEA in Leeds can be.

Beneath the main graphic are a series of product images to inspire customers.

A screenshot of a sponsored post by IKEA on Facebook.

Over on Instagram, ads typically contain a selection of products with links through to their corresponding pages.

A screenshot of a product-focused paid ad by IKEA on Instagram.

A campaign-led ambassador and influencer strategy

IKEA occasionally partners up with well-known names and influential figures as part of their campaigns — for example, in their Life At Home campaign with leading photographer, Annie Leibovitz.

A screenshot from IKEA’s Instagram story focusing on their campaign with Annie Leibovitz.

Interestingly for a global brand, IKEA says that ‘our stores partner with local bloggers and influencers when there's an opportunity to work together’, but we don’t see much evidence for this across their feeds.

A loyalty club

Like many successful home and garden brands, IKEA has launched something that looks and feels like a loyalty scheme — the IKEA Family. You can sign up for free and become part of their meatball-loving, flatpack furniture-assembling crew.

“As an IKEA Family member, you can enjoy discounts on selected home furnishing products, food products and services, not to mention free tea or coffee from Monday to Friday. You will also receive regular inspirational newsletters.”

It’s another great way of making customers feel valued and growing an email subscriber list. And when it comes to driving sales and return on investment, we know that email marketing is some of the best bang for your buck as a brand. Which moves us on nicely…

Automated email workflows

After signing up to the IKEA Family, their loyalty club, users receive a steady flow of communication as part of a workflow, inviting them to discover the benefits of membership.

A screenshot of an email from IKEA to a member of the IKEA Family.

However, despite adding a few products to the cart and letting them idle, we didn’t receive any abandoned cart emails — this seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity to recapture lost customers through another basic email automation.

Search-led content

Within IKEA’s ‘life at home’ and ‘how to’ resource sections, they’ve started to build somewhat of a content hub.

You’ll find articles like privacy solutions for small spaces and 6 ideas to optimise a hybrid workspace. This shows that IKEA are along the right lines when it comes to SEO-led content creation — they’re thinking about what their customers may be searching for and creating content to satisfy this need, meanwhile pulling in popular ranges they want to promote throughout the articles.

That said, many of these articles are quite thin on copy, which could limit their performance in search results. But when you have a domain authority like IKEA’s, you can probably afford to take some liberties.

A brand-led paid social category

Google Ads Transparency Center shows us that IKEA’s Google Ads campaigns capitalise on their brand name which, being such a popular household name, you can’t blame them for.

An example of a Google Ad campaign by IKEA, focusing on ceramic kitchen sinks.
An example of a Google Ad campaign by IKEA, focusing on ceramic kitchen sinks.

From what we can see, however, it doesn’t appear as though IKEA is making widespread use of display and programmatic advertising. So, that glossy beige FÄRGKLAR mug will not be following you around the internet until the end of your days — thankfully.

Even though there may be areas for some areas for a bit of home improvement, IKEA has a well-rounded, strategic approach to digital marketing, with the emphasis on being as visual as possible.

If you enjoyed this overview, you might want to check out our blog bursting with marketing tips, tactics and ideas for home and garden brands!

Also, why not grab a cuppa and take a gander at some of our award-winning work for businesses in the sector? If you like what you see, our talented team of digital marketers are only a message away using the button below.

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Team Johnny


Content Strategist

Johnny has been working magic with words at Extreme since 2016, with a particular focus on SEO content strategies. Fancy taking your organic search visibility up a notch? He's your guy.

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