An Open Letter to Brands (and Agency Co-Conspirators)

The following is a guest contributed post by Steve Ellis, CEO of WHOSAY.

Dear brand marketers and your agency co-conspirators,

Enough is enough.

I’m still surprised when clients we work with get distracted by the human aspects of partnering  with talent and forget that in the end, everything is media.

Is it content, is it branded content, is it an ad?

Yes, Yes and Yes – it’s all ads. It’s all content. The recipient doesn’t care what you call it.

Just because it isn’t 30 seconds and isn’t running in the middle of a Friends episode anymore doesn’t mean it’s not an ad.

So in the new and fast-growing area of influence marketing, why does everyone still wonder how to measure success?

A video is a video, a picture is a banner, a story is an ad…

But it just happens to be true that an influence campaign, done right, performs way better than your regular ad – mostly because it is a better ad!

A well thought out influencer driven campaign is the combination of creativity, personality and audience – that collectively create an initial marketing advantage.

You must take that advantage and then treat it just like you would an ad, scale it and measure it like media.

Every influence campaign should be priced and measured the same way every time: combine the cost of talent (at whatever level you choose), with the cost of content production, plus the cost of paid distribution.

When you bundle all that together you should ask yourself if you got better value for your money than just paying to have your existing ad distributed.

Including all costs was the CPM lower? The CPV lower? The CTR higher? The engagement rate higher? The sentiment more positive? The video view through rate higher? These may not be the first metrics that come to mind for measurement, but they’re key success metrics that lead back to your bottom-line. It’s more than possible to achieve engagement rates at twice the industry norm of 4-7%. And Ad-Recall Lift on Facebook can surpass the 6-8% standard as well. This is where a quality partner comes in, to make sure your goals matter to you — and your business.

Don’t treat this new area of marketing like you used to treat special projects. There is no non-working media in influence. It’s all working and it can all be measured.

The good news is that done right Influence outperforms in all these traditional media measurement categories  – and not by a little, but by a lot.

So yes you should enjoy the process of selecting talent that matches your brand, but don’t get too emotional about it because now you know that in the end….

Everything can be measured – even Influence.