The problem with advertising is that it’s hard to convince clients it’s worth it. It’s a bigger problem for publishers in some media than others.
When FOX hosts the Super Bowl, big buyers like Doritos might ask to see some data that proves reaching a huge audience will help its national brand awareness, but basically that inventory sells itself.
Online, advertisers on news and entertainment sites want to see a little more proof that their ads will reach their intended audience. Right now, that’s where click-through rates come in. Though that (fortunately) seems to be changing.
Way, way on the other end of the spectrum is social media advertising.
Because there is so much inventory out there available on the margins of crappy Facebook, MySpace and Hi-5 widgets, advertisers have a hard time spending money advertising against even very popular, demographically targeted apps.
There are many small (for now) startups out there trying to convince these advertisers to set aside these worries and buy in.
The most successful of these startups are doing their convincing the way its always been done on Madison Avenue — with cleverly made-up numbers. They’re called KPIs or “Key Performance Indicators.”
One startup using them to great effect is Appssavvy, which connects app-builders with brand advertisers.
How do they use these KPIs? Let’s walk through one example before we see a whole bunch.
Earlier this year, Huggies sponsored a mums-only Facebook app and social network called “Circle of mums.”
But before it did, Appssavvy set expectations for how users would react to the ads. Appssavvy said how many users it expected would interact with Huggies-branded areas of the app. Appssavvy also set expectations for how many times users would run diapers-related queries within the app after seeing Huggies ads.
Those numbers were the KPIs.
In the end, the number of clicks into Huggies-sponsored areas of the app and diapers searches exceeded Appsavvy’s expectations. Huggies, as well as its ad agency Mindshare walked away with the notion that hey, maybe social media advertising doesn’t stink after all.
Let’s take a look at some more of Appssavvy’s most successful uses of KPIs…
Before the deal went down, Appssavvy told Oakley one way to tell if its sponsorship of Serious Business Rock Legends was going well would be the number of users who downloaded Oakley products for their avatars in the game.
In the end, users downloaded more than 280,000 Oakley virtual products, including sunglasses, board shorts and t-shirts.
Forget clicks, Coca-Cola was happy to hear 300,000 people made 'pick your five' lists in the Facebook 'Living Social' app.
Appssavvy sold Purina on the simple importance of installs when it the dog-food maker made DogBook. So Purina was happy after 500 people joined the app in 5 days.
In the Facebook app 'SocialCalendar' users have to give each event an icon. The icon shows up every time the even is mentioned or enters users' Facebook NewsFeed. So when Sobieski Vodka bought banner ads for SocialCalendar, Appssavvy enouraged it to measure the ads' success by how many times users chose Sobieski's icon for their events.
In the end, 37% of all night-out invites used Sobieski's martini glass icon, creating some 4.5 million News Feed impressions.
ChapStick sponsored the 'Kiss Me' app over Valentine's Day. That included ads and a free ChapStick branded virtual gift. Appssavvy said the best way to measure the campaign's success would be to see how many times users gave each other the ChapStick gift. It went out 184,000 times for an estimated 4.5 million impressions.
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