Brands can’t resist the allure of large, boastful numbers, especially if easy to achieve. High profile premium placements, such as on Snapchat and Instagram confer instant brand leadership and a flood of impressions.
Certainly impressive at the agency award ceremonies, but quickly forgotten when the applause and alcohol wear off.
These are the 7 common ways that brands fool themselves by inadvertently inflating their brand value:
1. Relying upon paid media to carry the impression load
Especially on Facebook, a paid impression is not worth as much as one earned. Some agencies load up on tiny right-column Facebook placements or remnant bottom of page inventory to jack up impressions.
2. Posting like mad on Twitter
Until recently, the measurement platforms and Twitter themselves assumed 100 percent of followers saw your messages. So 10 posts against 100,000 followers meant a million easy earned impressions.
No brand manager would want to dispute such favorable numbers.
Twitter themselves even didn’t know, since so many impressions were on untrackable 3rd party tools. Though Twitter now has some level of impression reporting (if followers are natively on Twitter), brands still continue the habit.
Some brands have more than 2/3rds of their earned impressions via Twitter. How about you?
3. Treating all placements equally
A pageview on your site is worth a lot more than a YouTube video view, which is worth more than an alleged tweet impression. Adding up impressions is something we naturally want to do.
While we certainly do this, too, be sure to have the counterbalance of engagement rate to spot low quality impressions.
4. Giving sponsors 100 percent credit
Sports and entertainment teams like to sneak in posts that thank sponsors. Insurance companies and feminine hygiene products aren’t naturally going to get sharing by themselves.
So when the NBA posts about Stephen Curry getting the KIA Community Assist award, KIA can’t take 100 percent credit. Some percentage of this is NBA or Curry fans and only some percentage of the credit should go to KIA.
We’ve seen some brands and analytics companies arbitrarily award half credit or another amount based on percentage of the image with the sponsor logo. Don’t play that shell game. Award credit by share of follow-on engagement between the brand vs the sponsor.
5. Counting them all as uniques
Let’s say you have a weekly TV show with 3 million unique viewers. You don’t have 30 million unique viewers after airing 10 weeks, unless the audience is brand new each week.
The same is true for web and social audiences — we cannot add up daily uniques to get monthly uniques.
While a lower unique figure over time might appear bad, it’s actually good news.
It means that you’ve got an engaged community that keeps coming back.
You want organic repeats instead of leaky ad-driven audiences that churn out.
6. Choosing external benchmarks industry-wide
Another widely respected firm said social users are worth $180, based on their average check-out when shopping. But a follower of Skittles gained through a silly video is not worth as much as an enterprise B2B inquiry via social.
7. Using the same CPM across all channels
As a rough benchmark, you can assume interactions are generally similar in value between liking versus sharing for your brand. We start out with a default $5 CPM across the board and refine from there.
Facebook, which usually has a higher engagement rate, will yield a 5 to 10 cent value per engagement if you use a $5 CPM. That same $5 CPM will yield you 80 cents to a dollar a Twitter, since the engagement rate (interactions/impressions) is lower there.
Of course, the true way to measure EMV (Earned Media Value) is to trace engagement all the way back to sale. You can then assign a value per visit/engagement, backing then into a value per exposure in each channel.
But in CPG or media/entertainment, getting POS data isn’t usually feasible, even with Datalogix and related data providers.
Ultimately, this problem will be getting worse because of more channels, the closed mobile app ecosystem, and the Internet of Things. The fact that word of mouth effects are growing stronger means there are more touches and more unmeasurable touches influencing purchase.
This causes the collapse of these comfortably simple measurement models we’ve discussed here. And it ushers in new frameworks of automatic indirect measurement via holdback audiences and split testing.
Is your agency, collection of tool providers, and internal marketing staff ready to adapt?
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.