The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 6th Annual Shorty Awards

American Express embraces social media to drive commerce and Card Member value

Winner in Fortune 500 Brand


American Express is on a journey of digital transformation. As part of that journey, the company is focused on creating new and innovative ways to use technology and social media to deliver value and support to Card Members and merchants, strengthen their connection to the American Express brand, and drive commerce in industry-disrupting ways. More specifically, this year American Express introduced a new technology allowing its Card Members to shop on Twitter with #hashtags; partnered with the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor, to create a new travel planning experience for Card Members; paid digital homage to its 163 year old history via social media channels; and launched a new Account Services app to service its Card Members on Facebook.In 2011, American Express introduced a first-of-its-kind Card Sync technology, which allows Card Members to securely connect their cards to their social media accounts. In 2013, American Express evolved this unique technology to allow Card Members to tweet #hashtags to buy products on Twitter. The new social commerce experience unlocked the purchasing power of the #hashtag by tapping into American Express’ closed-loop business model and added value to both Card Members and merchants on Twitter. At launch in February, American Express Card Members that connected their Card with their Twitter account could tweet special #hashtags to buy specially-priced American Express Gift Cards and in-demand products like the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Xbox 360, Sony Action Cam, and more. In October, American Express launched another industry-first experience in partnership with the world’s largest travel site – TripAdvisor. Card Members in Australia, UK and US can now securely connect their Cards with their TripAdvisor profiles for an enhanced travel planning experience on the site. The partnership connects a Card Member’s reviews with their transactions, creating a global community of American Express Card Members on TripAdvisor that provide valuable travel insights with an added layer of context and relevance. Card Members can also browse ‘Card Member Hotspots’ – the most frequented hotel and dining destinations by American Express Card Members in more than 30 cities around the world – and special offers from merchants within their TripAdvisor experience. American Express also utilized its social channels this year to create relevant connection points for Card Members and prospects that draw on the rich history of the brand. The #AmexArchive initiative told visually exciting stories of the brand’s heritage and values, leveraging an extensive bank of digitized archive content. The campaign resulted in never-before-seen levels of engagement across U.S. and global social media communities. For example, an #AmexArchive image of the first purple paper American Express Card from 1958 remains the most-Liked post to date on both Google+ and Instagram. For its 163rd birthday, American Express celebrated with a virtual Twitter party, using the hashtag #163Candles. American Express created and shared personalized images of birthday cake with fans’ and followers’ names to those who wished the brand a “Happy Birthday" or tweeted with the #163Candles hashtag. The campaign resulted in nearly 6M impressions on Twitter and more than 500 mentions of @AmericanExpress in the six hours of the “party." Also this year, American Express commemorated the 50th anniversary of the “Member Since" date appearing on its Cards – a statement of pride and nostalgia for Card Members around the world. American Express built a Facebook app that allowed users to share their Member Since year to their social feeds. As part of the app experience, users were also given a historical fact that coincided with their “Member Since" year, tying in the #AmexArchive and connecting each individual Card Member to the brand in a personalized way. Known for its best-in-class customer service, American Express looked for new ways to nurture member connections on social platforms where its Card Members are already engaging with the brand. American Express’ Facebook Page is a valuable platform for Card Members to connect with the company, discover new offers, and share tips with fellow Card Members. This year, American Express augmented its world-class social media customer support presence to launch the Account Services app on Facebook, enabling direct, fast and helpful support for Card Members from knowledgeable customer service representatives. As social media becomes an increasingly popular communication tool for Card Members around the globe, American Express will continue to leverage and re-imagine its own technologies and assets to connect with Card Members in new ways on digital platforms to enrich their Card Membership. Building on the success of 2013, American Express is focused on driving social and digital engagement and delivering streamlined experiences to its Card Members and merchants that are intuitive, secure, and add value at the most critical commerce touch-points.

Strategy and Execution

American Express on Twitter: American Express on Facebook: American Express and TripAdvisor: American Express Sync: AdAge: “Which Brands 'Get' Social Media? Amex, Audi, Griffin's, Say Facebook, Twitter Execs" March 14, 2013; Fast Company: “#Sold: Twitter, American Express Partner For Hashtag Purchase" February 11, 2013; s-spend-data/ New York Times Bits Blog: “Encouraging the Reviewers, Honestly" October 8, 2013; AdWeek: “AmEx's Social Data Shows That Nostalgia Is Just Swell" October 11, 2013