Starbucks Coffee Turns Around By using Excellent Social Media Metrics

jmelich    November 1, 2014


Company: Starbucks Coffeestarbucks store

Company Contact: Howard Schultz CEO

Industry: Coffee House

Description of how Starbucks Coffee uses social media metrics:

Starbucks’ was founded in 1971 as a Seattle coffee bean company, the company has expanded rapidly due to Starbucks outstanding social media marketing, Since 1987, Starbucks has opened on average two new stores every day.  Starbucks had been a very profitable company in Seattle in the early 1980s but lost money on late 1980s expansion into the Midwest and British Columbia.



Starbucks became successful in the fiscal year of 1989-1990, when it registered a small profit of $812,000. By the time it expanded into California in 1991 it had become a very trendy place where people enjoyed talking meeting and enjoying coffee. The first store outside the United States or Canada opened in Tokyo in 1996, and overseas stores now constitute almost one third of Starbucks’ stores. The company planned to open a net of 900 new stores outside of the United States in 2009, but has announced 300 store closures in the United States since 2008.


“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”
Howard Schultz, Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time 

“Grow with discipline. Balance intuition with rigor. Innovate around the core. Don’t embrace the status quo. Find new ways to see. Never expect a silver bullet. Get your hands dirty. Listen with empathy and  over communicate with transparency. Tell your story, refusing to let others define you. Use authentic experiences to inspire. Stick to your values, they are your foundation. Hold people accountable, but give them the tools to succeed. Make the tough choices; its how you execute that counts. Be decisive in times of crisis. Be nimble. Find truth in trials and lessons in mistakes. Be responsible for what you see, hear, and do. Believe.”
Howard Schultz, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul 


howard schultz

Howard Schultz “In anything we do any endeavor, it’s not what you do; it’s why you do it

Starbucks Coffee has over 705,000 followers on twitter and over 5,428,000 fans on Facebook. Starbucks Coffee is definitely going above and beyond social media marketing metrics.

Starbucks coffee has been using very effective social media metrics to their customer base. Starbucks is using demographic metrics and listening metrics from its white label (company branded) My Starbucks Idea website, Twitter engagement, Facebook page, Gold Card rewards program, to fine-tune what it’s offering customers.

Starbucks is applying metrics to a variety of social media platforms and offline programs so that it can offer deals and promotions, rewards, excellent products,  to its loyal customers, as well as attract new loyal customers.

Here are some Excellent examples of Starbucks social media metrics:

In Store:

Starbucks has an excellent rewards membership by using Rewards Card tracking of how and what their customers purchase and what is most popular as well as what Starbucks peak times are. Free iTunes songs and apps allow Starbucks to offer value incentives and track redemption. Free Wi-Fi through the Starbucks web portal allows Starbuck’s to track in-store web surfing and usage.

Mobile :

Another Social media metrics Starbucks uses is geolocation applications, such as foursquare and Facebook Places, to interact with its customers on the go via check-ins on their phone, which activates trackable hyper local metrics. Starbucks uses creative ideas such as Augmented Reality application called Cup Magic for iPhone and Android that people can download. Cup Magic animates the graphics on their red holiday cups, offers rewards, and gives Starbucks another way to engage and track customer behavior.


Starbucks uses cause marketing, which attached a charity donation to a CD sale, wristband purchase, or other purchase, to drive customer behavior. Cause marketing also helps to track customer effects on purchase behavior.


Starbucks uses a wide variety of landing pages and sites to engage customers and track Starbucks customer base online, such as My Starbucks Idea, a white label social networking site designed to encourage market research and self-directed focus group activity to generate and test new ideas for the stores. Starbucks is also on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites and uses hashtags, tabs, promoted trends, promoted tweets, and landing pages to track the engagement people have with its brand there.

“There is a word that comes to my mind when I think about our company and our people. That word is ‘love.’ I love Starbucks because everything we’ve tried to do is steeped in humanity.

Respect and dignity.
Passion and laughter.
Compassion, community, and responsibility.

These are Starbucks’ touchstones, the source of our pride.

Valuing personal connections at a time when so many people sit alone in front of screens; aspiring to build human relationships in an age when so many issues polarize so many; and acting ethically, even if it costs more, when corners are routinely cut–these are honorable pursuits, at the core of what we set out to be.”
Howard Schultz, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul 


Starbucks use of excellent social media metrics and cross-platform tools increased Starbucks global same-store sales by 7 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Starbucks is an excellent example for how targeted metrics and excellent social media implementation  affect brands in many positive ways.


“When we love something, emotion often drives our actions.

This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. They are our families. Our lives.

But the entrepreneurial journey is not for everyone. Yes, the highs are high and the rewards can be thrilling. But the lows can break your heart. Entrepreneurs must love what they do to such a degree that doing it is worth sacrifice and, at times, pain. But doing anything else, we think, would be unimaginable”
Howard Schultz, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul    

Lessons to Be learned:

Social Media metrics is an excellent way to use creative solutions to engage and track customer behavior.

Social media metrics can affect brands in very positive ways and increase sales.

Social media metrics is an excellent way to generate and test new ideas.

Web references:

Starbucks Coffee is at the forefront when it comes to using social media metrics

Social media metrics important to the success in a company or organization

Starbucks has been one of the first companies using social media and it has increased sales and helped the company to grow and develop in communities.


Submitted by Jeanette Melich, University of Waterloo

If you have any questions about this article please contact the author Jeanette Melich

If you have any questions about the accuracy of this article please contact Peter Carr at the university of Waterloo.