The ROI on Influence Marketing – Case Studies
David Ogilvy is a legendary PR man widely recognized as The Father of Advertising.
In early 2004, Adweek magazine asked people in the business “Which individuals – alive or dead – made you consider pursuing a career in advertising?” and Ogilvy topped the list. The same result came when students of advertising were surveyed. His best-selling book Confessions of an Advertising Man is one of the most popular and famous books on advertising. ~Source: Wikipedia
I can honestly say that I am easily included in the list of people who were profoundly influenced by Ogilvy’s body of work.
So, two weeks ago I was visiting the offices of Ogilvy, and needless to say, I was more than little excited. The subject at hand, Triberr’s Influence Marketing campaigns.
ROI on Influence Marketing
The question of ROI always comes up. The question itself is as predictable as the ROI on marketing is unpredictable.
But for the first time I was able to answer it without stammering my way through it. And here’s my answer.
The question of ROI has to be placed in 3 separate buckets. The front end bucket, the back end bucket, and money bucket.
So, let’s explain each bucket.
Front End Bucket: Predictability = 100%
When a company does a Press Release, the hope is essentially that someone in the press, TV and radio, will pick up on it and talk about it.
The ROI on a Press Release is essentially unpredictable and it largely relies on personal relationships your PR agency has built over time with press, TV, and radio. So, the outcome of a Press Release is unknown and unpredictable.
On the other hand, the ROI on Triberr’s Influence Marketing campaign is 100% predictable.
If you’re running a campaign with 100 bloggers, and the campaign milestones include -let’s say- 3 blog posts, you are guaranteed 300 blog posts.
The results in the front end bucket are ridiculously predictable.
In this sense, running a campaign on Triberr is a way safer investment than a PR release.
Back End Bucket: Predictability = Fair to excellent
How much coverage are these 300 posts going to get?
Well, each post will be shared across multiple social channels (Twitter, Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, etc.) by all 100 campaigners.
Doing little bit of light math, 100 people sharing 300 posts across multiple social channels will result in roughly 300-400 shares per post from just the people involved in a campaign.
Of course, each influencer has a network of their own, and the amount of shares they get is easy to gleam based on their past performance.
For example, looking at my history (click on Stats link to view the shares), my posts get around 150-200 shares per post. I would say I’m about the average. There are many who do much better, and many who don’t do as well. So, I consider myself the mean.
If you add me to an influencer campaign, adding my normal 150-200 shares + the boost from other campaigns, I’m likely to exceed 500 shares per post.
That’s only the first ripple, all those shares might get re-shared creating a second ripple, and so on.
100 bloggers writing 3 posts each = 300 posts
300 posts x 500 shares per post = 150,000 social mentions. BOOM!
Calculating the effect of campaign posts is fairly easy using historical data easily gleamed by going to any member’s profile and clicking on Stats.
So this back end bucket (I may need to come up with a better name for it :-)) is easy to calculate as long as we allow for an acceptable range of possibilities.
The Money Bucket: Hard to Predict
So far, the two buckets (front and back) have dealt with non-monetary benefits. But what every business has always wanted to know is how do my marketing dollars translate directly into sales.
Well, this is where things get little fudgy. This fudgyness is nothing new, however.
How do you calculate the ROI on a billboard in Times Square? How do you calculate the ROI of a radio or TV ad? How do you calculate the effect of a satisfied customer?
These are problems all marketing has wrestled with since its inception and will continue to wrestle. Anyone who tells you they know the right answer is full of it.
Here’s what we’re up against.
1. Most brands don’t start from a zero.
Momentum has a lot to do with it. A Triberr campaign today builds on a TV campaign from 2 months ago, which builds on the radio ads from 3 months ago, which builds on….you get the idea.
2. Marketing doesn’t operate in a vacuum.
A brand may run concurrent campaigns on TV, radio, Triberr, Facebook, and 5 other different platforms. How do you separate the effects of each?
John Wanamaker once said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Add to that the fact that only 7% of word of mouth happens online. The rest is offline. Source. Allow that fact to sink in. SEVER PERCENT happens online. The rest is offline.
3. The immediate effects are partial.
300 blog posts are going to sit on the Internet forever. They may be converting readers years from now.
4. Humans are imperfect, and that’s wonderful.
Unlike highly robotic Google ads, Triberr campaigns have a lot of moving parts that are distinctly human.
For example. We’ve run campaigns for TOMS Shoes, as well as Cottonelle. TOMS Shoes has an altruistic component in its business model. As a result, we’ve had over 1000 (yes, one thousand) influencers apply for its campaign. Cottonelle, on the other hand, had a respectable few hundred applicants.
The point is, it’s much easier for TOMS to recruit, than another brand which may not be as exciting. It’s also easier for Cottonelle to recruit because it’s well known, versus a new and smaller brand.
And then comes the selection process. The Campaign Manager has to put a team together based on the available applicants. Some influencers bring a huge audience, some bring amazing content, some bring enthusiasm (this piece shouldn’t be underestimated), and so on.
Putting a campaign team together is one of the first tasks a Campaign Manager will perform.
And the ultimate success of the campaign will largely depend on this early yet very important step.
5. Brands don’t share “at the register” data
Ultimately what matters is the action at the register. But here’s the thing. “at the register” data is not shared with anyone outside the company. Most of the time, most marketers are forced to rely on secondary signals.
One such signal is that the agencies and brands we’ve worked with in the last 6 months are coming back to run more and more campaigns. And that speaks volumes.
How We Know Triberr Campaigns Work
Even if you’ve never done blogger outreach, you won’t be surprised to learn that a good recruiting rate is 5%. We’ve all received those horrible emails where someone is pitching us their product or whatever.
Triberr’s recruiting rate is 100%.
Every single influencer a brand invites into the campaign, joins the campaign. This is unheard of.
We do this by allowing interested and enthusiastic influencers to apply to the campaign, at which point it’s a simple matter of picking and choosing the best candidates.
A single person (Campaign Manager) can run several campaign simultaneously with up to 100 influencers per campaign.
Scalability was really important to us and we wanted to build a platform that enables a single person to manage 100s. Mission accomplished.
A Campaign Manager (CM) can manage up to 100 influencers as a singular unit. BOOM!
Triberr provides near real-time tracking of all campaign related activities.
Instead of having a single person collect all campaign related info (this person is usually the already overworked Campaign Manager), each influencer “pins” their own activity to the Activity Stream.
This way everyone does little bit of self-tracking. Campaign Manager gets some extra free time, and influencers are naturally incentivized to track themselves.
When a relatively new but highly relevant blogger gets over 1300 shares and ton of comments on a campaign post, you know you’ve done something right. This was the case with Daniel Melbye’s post that he did for TOMS Shoes campaign.
Or when a blogger does an amazing job promoting a product on an impossible to promote-on platform like Instagram. All because the video was funny and creative. Like this one.
We have 1000s of pieces of content that’s been created for campaigns and accomplishes the incredible task of reaching relevant eyeballs and gets them engaged, interested, and talking about the brand.
Triberr provides analytics in pretty little charts and graphs at the end of the campaign. This way all activity and the impact it had is visible in
a one-page campaign “report card”.
Campaign Management, Not Influence Marketing
Influence Marketing is very cool indeed. But ultimately our goal is NOT to build an Influence Marketing platform, especially since this means different things to different people.
Our goal is to build a Campaign Management platform.
From recruiting, to managing, across tracking, and ultimately to closing the campaign, our goal has been to build a one-stop-shop where a brand or an agency can perform all campaign related activities in one fell swoop.
We’ve been building and testing the platform for the last 6 months and today we’re ready to roll it out and make it available to anyone.