Duane Reade

How can a retailer build brand advocates, drive engagement and increase sales?


Increase followers to cultivate brand advocacy, drive engagement and generate sales.


An “always on” Twitter strategy combining Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets to target the right audience and keep consumers engaged with authentically relevant, consumer-generated media.


  • 6,709% increase in followers year over year — becoming one of the fastest growing retailers on Twitter
  • 4.08% average Promoted Tweet engagement rate
  • 28% lift in sales with #DRLegwear

Opened in 1960, Duane Reade (@DuaneReade) operates 250+ drugstores throughout New York. The company has ranked as the fastest- growing drugstore chain in the industry, and is number one in sales per square foot. In 2010, @DuaneReade became part of the Walgreens family of companies, the nation’s largest drugstore chain with more than 8,100 stores.

The challenge

To drive awareness and brand advocacy, @DuaneReade wanted to grow its base of followers on Twitter. The company needed to reach relevant local and national audiences as well as engage consumers across a variety of lifestyle interests. @DuaneReade also wanted to amplify its overall digital presence, increase share of voice on Twitter and lead the retail category in omni-channel engagement.

The solution

@DuaneReade developed an “always on” Twitter Ads strategy driven by consumer-generated media and integrated across channels to connect with new audiences and keep existing followers engaged. Over the span of 12 months, the company used Promoted Accounts with geo-targeting to reach Twitter users in specific markets like New York, Boston and San Francisco to help promote Walgreens flagship store grand openings.

@DuaneReade also used @username targeting to get in front of the most relevant audiences on Twitter. For example, the brand targeted people interested in other NYC brands such as the New York Times and the New Yorker to attract Twitter users likely to be interested in its content. To maximize engagement and reach, @DuaneReade consistently paired Promoted Accounts with Promoted Tweets. 

The brand featured a variety of useful, interesting content including corporate news, vendor promotions, special offers and media coverage in Promoted Tweets. To encourage peer-to-peer recommendations and drive sales, @DuaneReade also highlighted consumer generated media (video, photos, Tweets) from the brand’s “VIP Blogger Team” of social influencers and brand ambassadors on Twitter.

Through its organic and Promoted Tweets, @DuaneReade cultivated a distinctive brand voice on Twitter that is informative, fun and always connected to its vast New York metropolitan area footprint. 

 In Promoted Tweets, the brand drove cross-platform integration with simple calls to action to engage across a variety of its social channels.

For campaigns like the “Show Us Some Leg” photo contest promoting @DuaneReade hosiery, the brand also integrated a hashtag (#DRLegwear) across all platforms including in-store displays, radio and online platforms like YouTube. With the hashtag, @DuaneReade was able to spark interactions, drive uploads of consumer-generated media and own the conversation around legwear nationally.

To reach the Twitter users most likely to engage with its messaging, @DuaneReade used geo and interest targeting with Promoted Tweets. The brand targeted interests like fashion, shopping and pop culture. Whenever targeting New Yorkers, @DuaneReade conveyed an authentic, NY-centric tone with a relevant message and evocative rich media that would resonate with its core audience.

To drive buzz around new store openings and/or vendor paid promotions, @DuaneReade hosted Twitter parties with influencers and brand advocates. The company spurred engagement during these hour-long parties by incentivizing Retweets with prizes and gift card giveaways.


“Twitter is an essential platform that offers an explosion of engagement at an affordable CPM. As a local brand with a national presence, Duane Reade can target customers across the US with relevant, informative messages that drive strong ROI for itself and parent company @Walgreens. Our ‘always on’ strategy and ‘Parallel Persuasion’ equation have helped us become one of the fastest growing retailers on Twitter, all while maintaining a low cost per engagement.”

Calvin PetersPR/Digital Communications Manager at Duane Reade

The results

With Twitter Ads, @DuaneReade significantly amplified reach and engagement while delivering strong ROI and becoming one of the fastest growing retailers on Twitter. The company increased followers by 6,709% with Promoted Accounts over one year with a low cost per engagement of $.20.

@DuaneReade garnered an average engagement rate of 4.08% on Promoted Tweets, reaching rates as high as 7.51% with targeted campaigns allowing the company to generate over 3 billion impressions year over year.

The brand’s Twitter parties have delivered as many as 65 million impressions in an hour. Hashtags for @DuaneReade Twitter parties also regularly trend organically across the U.S. The “Show Us Some Leg” contest centered around the #DRLegwear hashtag drove 19.4 million impressions on Twitter and a 28% lift in sales.

3 keys to success

  1. Complement your organic strategy.

    @DuaneReade combines a strong organic content strategy with an “always on” Promoted Account and Promoted Tweet campaigns. “Twitter helps us sync all moving parts across social, digital, community, media relations and editorial outreach. We focus on creating short, interesting bursts of information. Tweets usually feature consumer-generated media, that help lead people down the path-to-purchase. The Twitter Ads layer helps us reach more people and drive more engagement with this dynamic content,” said Calvin.

  2. Be relevant and authentic.

    @DuaneReade has created a very distinctive Twitter personality rooted in its heritage as a New York-based brand and the voices of its dedicated advocates. The company uses interest and geo-targeting to ensure its Promoted Tweets are relevant to the consumers who see them.

  3. Engage with rich media.

    @DuaneReade keeps Twitter users engaged with its own highly visual content and re-syndicates rich media from brand influencers and celebrity-content from vendor brand endorsers.