By Jack Holt, Mattr CEO (Originally posted on Medium)
Recently the New Yorker reported on Facebook’s real reason for ending the peace between ad blockers and publishers. But instead of a crushing, Soviet-like strategic salvo, this latest offensive in the war on consumer happiness is more like a roll-up play in Senior and Assisted Living properties. On second thought, maybe it is very Soviet-like; it’s one big place where the brand voice will go to die.
Apple’s mobile ad blockers, which have earned a lot of attention, work only on Safari’s mobile browser. But Apple’s entire mobile platform is built on closed-system apps, not Web-based sites. Ads served within these apps cannot be blocked by anything, not even Apple’s own ad blockers.
And the Payoff:
It’s not a coincidence, either, that Apple makes money from apps through both sales and advertising, while it earns nothing from its mobile browser.
But publishers, even those with enormous resources such as Facebook, can’t keep this up much longer: Youngs do not trust the brand voice. Click-throughs depend on some constant of this trust to achieve their dismal yield. Reference Andrew Chen’s famous “Law of Shitty Clickthroughs” which hypothesizes that, once a new platform or tricky ad tactic loses its novelty, others show up to pump the click-through percentage back up, in a never-ending cycle. But Chen’s hypothesis assumes that next generations of consumers will behave as did the previous. That the variable of brand-voice trust will remain constant. As they say, “history repeats itself — but never in the same way.” Accordingly, new technology, that unknown responsible for continental shifts in our behavior/society, has invalidated Chen’s theory.
According to a 2015 report by Razorfish, only 6% of millennials trust what comes from the mouth of the brand. Gen Zs are even more cynical, especially since mobile ads can be particularly deceptive.
I’ve read other research stating that brand trust is 1- 3%, but you get the point; advertising is facing a Kodak moment in history.
Near-instant social connection — with breadth — is the proxy brand voice. Word of mouth with scale and accessibility is the new voice of the brand, which is mostly uncontrollable and therefore — and this is key — authentic.
Facebook Continues Its Strategy to Alienate “Youngs”
We’ve all read the reports confirming what us “Olds” see: That millennials are Facebook-Cutters and Gen Zs, like my 16 year old, are Facebook-Nevers. Facebook’s latest salvo, channeling as many brand voices as possible into Facebook-land, should provide them with a bump in ad revenue. But the yield from their portfolio of properties will surely decline. Chen’s clickthrough graph will take an inexorable nose-dive, as the Olds literally die off, leaving the brand-wary and noise-weary Youngs — those with the purchasing power — in full control of the brand voice.
Host: Kyle Leach, Mattr
Guest: Matt Mullican, Data Scientist at Mattr
Show Me the Data Behind the Influencers
In Episode 3 of our ‘And It Is Amazing’ podcast, Matt Mullican discusses the data behind the best online influencers. He shares compelling info and quantifiable metrics pulled from the top-engaged travel influencers in the Mattr app. He points out that the data team at Mattr processes and analyzes over 15 million social posts a day to accurately measure these unique metrics, including engagement metrics.
“The top engaged posts rarely repurpose content taken from other channels or other influencers.”
In this episode, Matt shares:
The quantifiable metrics Mattr analyzes and discovers about an influencer, including when they’re most active and their top interests
What commonalities Mattr sees in the top-engaged posts of the top travel influencers
Engagement anlyses and observations for macro, mid and micro influencers
Why as an influencer, you would want to actively engage with followers, simply provide content to them, or both– in order to increase your engagement
Last month, an article was published on AdWeek about the worth of influencers’ social posts. It focused largely on female celebrities, mentioning that the top six influencers currently are Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner. These six women were deemed the top influencers by D’Marie Analytics, a social measurement company, which also found Gomez to be the most influential, with individual social posts worth up to $550,000 each. That’s right. One 140-character tweet or one Instagram selfie from Gomez could cost a brand a whopping $550,000.
Where did the $550,000 figure come from? Frank Spadafora, CEO of D’Marie Analytics describes the methodology: “This valuation is based on D’Marie’s algorithm which measures 56 metrics including followers, post frequency, engagement, quality of post, click-thru and potential to create sales conversions from her social content.”
Applying 56 metrics to the figure seems like sound reasoning. That’s a lot of data! But is it the right data?
We’re curious how much weight was placed on follower count. If it’s heavily weighted, then it makes sense that the six celebs would be considered top influencers. After all, someone with an extremely high follower count definitely has the reach to claim influence. However, a high follower count does not necessarily mean more engagement or more click thrus. In fact, the more trust and authenticity that is shown to an audience, the more potential there is for sales conversion. It could be argued that big name celebrities, whom regular people don’t always view with trust and authenticity, don’t necessarily increase the likelihood of sales conversions.
And are celebrity followers qualified leads? A 25-year-old fan of Selena Gomez is a very different potential sale than a 55-year-old married male. They shouldn’t hold the same weight as a potential buyer, so it seems like potential to create sales becomes a murky metric.
Defining the Value of An Influencer
In our platform, the top default influencers are the same celebrities that D’Marie Analytics found to be the most influential – big name actors, famous singers and reality celebrities with massive amounts of followers. However, we rarely consider those people the most influential for a client’s brand. Instead, we dive into keyword searches and segmented audiences to more narrowly define the brand influencers.
When defining influencers, reach is only one way of applying value to them. Relevance is another factor. Is the influencer discussing topics that pertain to your brand? You want influencers who already have authentic influence in a specific field. A security admin is going to be much more relevant than Selena Gomez for a cybersecurity company. Resonance is another factor to determining influencer value. How much of what the influencer is posting is resonating with his or her followers? Relevance and resonance are closely tied together, both more qualitative metrics than follower count, and they usually matter even more than reach when determining the value of an influencer.
Who is Uniquely Influential to Your Brand?
It’s inarguable that the six women mentioned in AdWeek have influence, but are they the most influential? It’s quite a stretch to apply that blanket statement across all brands. For a large consumer company with broad targeting and loads of Marketing money, like Pepsi or Target, Gomez and Beyonce may deliver some value. But what about specialized brands targeting more specific demographics? Or smaller brands with little marketing budget? Or regional brands? In those cases, celebrities with large follower counts are not the most influential.
Many brands, even large, global brands, are discovering that micro and mid-level influencers deliver as much if not more value than the celebrity macro-influencer. Many consumers’ buying habits are driven more by ‘real’ people- those micro and mid-level influencers- than celebrities who lead very different lives. The average person wants to hear recommendations and discover new products from people who they can relate to on a more personal level.
Take Nikon’s recent campaign featuring Kordale and Kaleb Lewis, for example. Instead of choosing a Kardashian or Beyonce or Bieber, the camera company decided to work with two dads who received increased online exposure after posting a photo to Instagram showing them combing their daughters’ hair and getting ready for their days. Utilizing these dads as influencers offered Nikon the ability for real people to talk about capturing moments from their family’s life on camera, much more powerful and relatable than a celeb influencer.
Find the Right Influencers for Effective Influencer Marketing
To discover the influencers who are ‘most influential’ to your brand, assess not only follower counts, but also the content coming from those influencers, the types of audiences they have, and how the audiences respond to the influencer content. You will find that some of the most influential people for your brand likely won’t be celebrities, but people you may not have ever heard of. Yet, those mid-level and micro influencers will be able to help your brand most effectively boost awareness, engagement, or sales. Through an effective influencer program, some of the authenticity and trust they’ve created with their followers can be transferred to your brand.
Climate change, resource depletion, and consumption increase, are all sustainability issues caused by human actions and habits. Over the last decade, the concerns of what may happen to our planet as a result of these actions, and how future generations could be affected, have escalated to the point where individual people and organizations alike are realizing there’s a need for change in order to stem some of the damage that has been done. As sustainability concerns continue to grow, more and more businesses are looking for proactive ways to do more than simply acknowledge a need for change, and instead become change agents themselves.
Living Out Your CSR Program
All brands, large and small, old and new, must go beyond the special events and messaging that make up their corporate social responsibility programs and actually live out sustainability as an inherent day-to-day aspect of their business. The recycling bins around the office are great, as are the nonprofits you support annually with volunteer days and philanthropic contributions; but how many businesses, and to take it even further, how many employees, are living out the messages and values dispersed in your CSR guide every day? If prospects and customers look at your business from a more operational aspect, how sustainable would they say you are? Have you eliminated all paper from your operations and moved to digital communications? Whether it’s on-premise or off site and hosted by a third party, do you know how efficient your data center is? Have efforts been made to minimize power consumption?
If prospects and customers look at your business from a more operational aspect, how sustainable would they say you are?
Marketing is a very publicly visible aspect of your operations. Through it, prospects, customers, media, analysts, and others can get a glimpse of your company’s genuine attitude, especially toward issues like sustainability.While your high level marketing messaging may integrate with your CSR messaging, you can go much further in driving sustainability as a key priority for the company through your actions with marketing partners, such as online influencers.
Aligning Influencer Marketing with Your Values
Influencer marketing has emerged as an important aspect of marketing for many companies. As consumer habits have evolved, many place less emphasis on more traditional forms of marketing, such as advertising and public relations (media coverage), in favor of what ‘real people’ are saying online. These ‘real people’ are known as influencers and could be literally anyone. What’s common for all of them is that they’ve built a dedicated base of followers on one or more social media platforms, and those followers trust and value their opinions. Influencer marketing drives current day word-of-mouth marketing.
Many businesses form relationships, both paid and unpaid, with online influencers to gain their support in marketing the business’s products or services. Since these influencers have large numbers of followers who they can influence, they can be a valuable component of a marketing program.
But are businesses seeking out influencers whose views and actions align with their company values and CSR programs? Or are they simply looking for influencers who have large followings and can help drive more leads?
Brands should be very cautious and selective when choosing influencers to work with. For example, brands that are seen as very sustainable, such as Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine or TOMS, can suffer serious reputation damage if they associate themselves with influencers not displaying the same type of sustainability values. By the same token, for a brand looking to change its perception in the market and improve its social responsibility, influencers can be a valuable tool.
Turning Influencers into Valuable CSR Partners
Influencers can be valuable to a brand not only in terms of leads or sales, but also in extending the reach of its messaging. For a brand focused on social responsibility, influencers possessing similar values can help increase awareness of the programs that company is trying to spread, such as minimizing power consumption, using organic and responsibly harvested ingredients, and reducing carbon footprints. In fact, from a reputational perspective, sometimes influencers can be more valuable to a brand when extending reach rather than driving leads.
In order to utilize influencers in the ways outlined above, companies must invest in their influencer programs, analyzing not just quantitative performance indicators, such as followers and number of posts, but also the more qualitative psychographic values of potential influencers. Influencer values can only be surfaced from analysis of their content – tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, etc. The content is what really shows the opinions and actions of those influencers.
For brands looking for ways to go beyond CSR messaging, and move to day-to-day actions displaying their social responsibility, influencer marketing is a good way to live out that responsibility and sustainability. Influencers holding common values can help a brand live out their ideals, spread awareness of them, drive leads and hold the brand accountable.