We spend so much time talking about “big data”, but there is still often a considerable disconnect between what we think that means and the business-critical results that data can achieve. Far too often, agencies and brands adopt a “quantity over quality” approach, which can lead to shallow measures of awareness and engagement, inefficient reporting cycles, and an excessive ad spend.
Using data in the right ways can yield substantial rises in marketing efficiency, securing the same or better results for the same or less cost. A prime example of this is the “double digit” sales increase reported by Clorox, off the back of an online Twitter flu tracking programme, which enabled them to adjust inventory distribution based on where reports of illness were coming from. Brands are focusing more and more on enhancing their own social media measurement capabilities, and agencies are designing new tools to support this, such as [email protected] “C-Impact Toolkit”, which provides structured assessments of brand readiness, and offers actionable recommendations.
It is increasingly expensive to reach people when they skip or ignore ads. Some brands have got around this by starting conversations and turning consumers into advocates for their products, generating up to 80% of their reach via people talking and sharing. This is significantly less expensive and more effective than pay per click advertising. For example, Cadbury Creme reported that a combined paid/earned programme resulted in 20% greater intent to purchase, at one third of the cost of traditional TV advertising.
So how do you build advocacy for your brand? Listen to the conversations that people are already having. By building a list of brand keywords and following what people are saying about your brand (and your competitors), you can determine the value of social content. [email protected] offer a “Brand Advocacy Toolkit”, an analytics and insight tool which helps brands track the levels of advocacy they’re generating by mining online conversations for keywords.
Of course, there is no fixed rule for what exactly constitutes a recommendation for a brand, and unfortunately there is no benchmark for advocacy across industries. For example, BP is a highly challenged brand when it comes to perceptions, and can’t really be compared to Adidas or Nike. But generally speaking, any status update or tweet including a passionate or enthusiastic description of a product indicates advocacy. For instance, for a retail clothing brand such as Zara, “beautiful” might be an advocacy keyword, while conversation topics for BP and Shell will focus on areas such as sustainability and gas station experience. It’s all about context.