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Rob TrauberCEOJohnny WasZackary Cantordirector of decision sciencesGlobalWide Media
The influencer marketing space shows no signs of slowing down. But to have a successful strategy, brands need more than just celebrity endorsements. Identifying the right influencers is a science that relies on complex data, not just the number of social media followers a user has—that’s why influencer platforms are becoming key components of companies’ marketing stacks. Rob Trauber, CEO of apparel brand Johnny Was, and Zackary Cantor, director of decision sciences at digital marketing company GlobalWide Media, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about the value of influencer marketing technology.
eMarketer: Why should brands invest in influencer marketing technology?
Zackary Cantor: Influencer marketing often involves buying a list of influencer contacts and paying them to promote or support a product. But there’s more to it than that. An influencer marketing platform can help brands leverage data to guide the conversation between consumers and influencers.
Influencer marketing tools can, for example, build a social graph to identify users—not necessarily celebrities—that are inclined to influence others and then intelligently message those users through cross-device campaigns. It’s a way to automate word-of-mouth.
eMarketer: Should all brands consider using an influencer marketing platform instead of just, say, working with a celebrity?
Rob Trauber: It really depends on individual brands’ target audiences, and who those audiences trust. Our clientele, for example, consists of high-class, established women with a strong focus on quality. They don’t utilize Instagram or pay too much attention to bloggers, but they do consult an intimate network of influencers on their purchases.
eMarketer: What are some of the challenges associated with implementing influencer marketing technology?
Cantor: If a brand has a long history of purchase data via online channels, it doesn’t take long to assess who that brand’s influencers might be. In that case, getting campaigns off the ground just requires leveraging that past purchase data, associating two users within a social graph and then getting a history of leading and lagging in purchases to identify an influencer relationship.
It becomes more challenging when brands have offline retail networks, like Johnny Was does. They’ve got their own stores, and they’ve also worked with retailers like Nordstrom and Saks in the past. Without insight into data on those sales, it’s hard to identify influencer relationships.
eMarketer: Johnny Was used GlobalWide Media’s RYPL technology to identify influencers. What were some of the results of that effort?
Trauber: I was impressed that we were able to link even future customers with influencers. The level of detail that is used to determine who has an impact on a customer’s purchase decisions goes beyond the people in their household, to co-workers, friends and peers. We were able to match all of these influencers to individual prospects to drive more efficient conversions.
We also saw a great return on ad spend from our RYPL-powered campaign—$2.26 for every dollar spent, as well as a 39% lift in sales and the ability to attribute in-store and online sales to the campaign. It was also a pleasant surprise that this approach didn’t require an increase in budget. Because we saw faster conversions from key targets, we didn’t overspend by targeting the same user over and over.
eMarketer: What advice do you have for other brands looking for similar pieces of technology?
Trauber: It all comes back to authenticity. Finding technology that will help your customers make buying decisions that are right for them is key to maintaining trust, as well as a competitive edge in the market.
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