Better Colbert Ratings Equal Better Social Affinity for Brands

Since Jimmy Fallon took over NBC’s The Tonight Show in 2014, he has been a ratings juggernaut. But in January, CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, took a lead in total viewers, which has now extended to an eight-week streak and a rare win for CBS late night in the first quarter of 2017. According to data from AffinityAnswers, Colbert’s ratings boost coincides with a social lift, even for advertisers with already strong social affinity for the show, as evidenced by commenting, posting photos, retweeting, hashtagging and more on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

By looking at the engagements of Late Show fans across 60,000 brands and over 400 million social users worldwide, AffinityAnswers data shows that these marketers – already some of the show’s top brand affinities – are in a better position than ever to leverage the show’s fans just as it is seriously gunning for late night dominance.

BrandTrueAffinity Score% Growth: 1/25 – 3/22
Amazon.com8.67+0.3%
AT&T8.64+0.8%
Google Play8.63+0.7%
Apple TV8.52+0.8%
Bridgestone8.50+1.3%

AffinityAnswers Expands to The UK and Germany

First Overseas Distribution of its Exclusive European-centric “Mutual Affinity” Social Media Audience Data

AUSTIN, TX (March 20, 2017) AffinityAnswers, which created the first platform for predictive branding – achieved through proprietary mutual affinity algorithms that measure active social engagement data across 60,000 brands and 400 million people worldwide – today announced it has expanded its offerings to the UK and Germany programmatic data markets.

AffinityAnswers analyses hundreds of millions of reciprocal, highly interactive social media activities (such as commenting, posting photos and videos, etc.) between brand audiences on social media, and then reports on which brand’s fans have the highest affinity for other brands, across all categories. By scoring any cookie- or device ID-based audience according to social engagement (aka “act-a-like” modeling) the company can predict which audiences will be receptive to any particular brand and are therefore more likely to respond favorably than the average consumer to their messaging and advertising. AffinityAnswers enables branding at scale through these high-performing “act-alike” segments available for programmatic activation across video and display, social, or TV advertising.

At launch, AffinityAnswers is offering about 150 pre-populated audience segments based on European data in major industry categories such as Apparel & Accessories, Automotive, Consumer Products, Electronics, Financial Services, Entertainment, Food & Beverages, Retail and Travel. In the UK and Germany this proprietary mutual affinity data will available through Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager, MediaMath, and The Trade Desk, among other leading demand side platforms. Clients can get customized audience segments within three to six weeks.

“In our early testing, we helped an automotive dealership achieved 10x scale in targeted DMAs with minimal ad completion rate degradation; a new dairy-free yogurt brand targeted proxy affinity segments for a new product launch with a 70% increase in ad completion rates; and a gaming console conquest a competitor’s fans via an affinity segment to increase purchase intent by 9.1% as measured by Nielsen,” says Sree Nagarajan AffinityAnswers’ CEO. “Marketers in Europe have never had access to this kind of data that predicts how likely a consumer is to engage compared to the average consumer by uncovering relationships between brands that no one knew existed.”

The company plans to expand to other European nations later this year.

AffinityAnswers Used by brands, agencies and ad tech companies for activation, planning (media, creative, sponsorships), measurement, and strategic insights, AffinityAnswers measures across 60,000 brands and 400 million users worldwide the level of reciprocal, highly interactive social media activities to go beyond standard “look-alike” audiences to discover and activate higher performing “act-alike” segments for programmatic, social, or TV advertising. Its advanced machine learning technology is an unprecedented cross-channel recommendation engine that informs marketers about their audiences’ preference for thousands of TV shows, websites, apps, movies, music artists, and other consumer brands.

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Austin TX, AffinityAnswers has offices in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Bangalore.

Extending Reach with Grammy Winning Musicians – Without Sacrificing Relevance

This Sunday is one of the biggest nights of the year for music – the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.  Not only will the show feature live performances by many of today’s biggest artists, but it will crown the top of the top in popular music.

Even before awards are given, the number of nominations per artist give a good indication of who will have a big night Sunday.  Beyoncé leads all artists with a whooping nine nominations.  Close behind are Rihanna, Kanye West, and Drake each with a total of eight nominations.  Adele came in a bit lower with five total nominations, but as with Beyoncé, she was nominated for the “big 3” – Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.

Whoever ends up winning the major – and most – awards will have obvious implications within the music industry, but also provides opportunities for marketers.  Certainly having a Grammy-winner as a spokesperson can be a benefit for a brand, but for all but a few large brands it is not necessarily possible.

But there are other ways to access the audience of a musician.  For example, here at AffinityAnswers, we build audiences (available as ODC / BlueKai segments through most buying platforms) based on the social affinities of 400 million consumers.  So, not only can we build an audience for Grammy nominees like Beyoncé and Adele, but we can also determine what other musicians, celebrities, TV shows, movies, and even brands to which these audience would be receptive.

Let’s take a look at five of the top Grammy nominated performers.  For these artists (along with 60,000 other entities such as brands, TV shows, movies, athletes, franchises, etc.) we track the active social interactions of their audience.  We also track other entities that this audiences interact with, and then measure the social affinities between the two entities using our TrueAffinity™ algorithm and 0-to-10 scoring process. Below is a table showing three of the top brand affinities for Beyoncé, Adele, Rihanna, Kanye West (finally – a last name!), and Drake.

Each of these brands has a high TrueAffinity™ score with the associated music audience.  This means that the audience of the musician is statistically more likely to be receptive to messages from the brand.  And the beauty of TrueAffinity™ is that it captures organic relationships, as well as paid ones; Puma is an additional high affinity brand for Rihanna (as well as Drake and Beyoncé).

Want to learn about the audience segments currently available via ODC that would be best to extend your brand’s reach, while maintaining relevance?  Check out our ActivationPlanner app.  Or just send us an email at hello@affinityanswers.com, and we can create a custom audience segment for you.

Can Affinities Get Resolutions Back on Track?

We’re already one month into 2017, and many of us started the year with a resolution in mind. At the beginning of the year, digital marketing agency iQuanti compiled a list of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions based on Google searches from 2016. Their list features the usual suspects: lose weight, get organized, get your financial house in order, and others.

 

It’s one thing to make a resolution, but it’s another thing to keep it. Unfortunately, those who made them are more likely than not to have faltered by now. Marketers invest many dollars into campaigns designed to encourage people to get started, but very few exist to keep people going. Providing encouragement is an area where social affinity can shine: reaching the right people in the right place at the right time.

 

First, let’s have a look at how social engagers have grown or declined for four different types of resolutions:

 

ResolutionProduct Category% Change Engaged Fans – January 2017
Get HealthyGyms & Health Clubs+9%
Financial FitnessFinancial Services-2%
Travel MoreTravel Websites-1%
Read MoreBookstores+2%

 

Based solely on the number of engaged fans, we find that perhaps people are sticking with getting healthy and reading more, but falling off a bit with their finances and their traveling. A drop in social engagers can also indicate an opportunity for brands in the category to generate interest. Identifying new TV show or website affinities – those that have seen their social affinity skyrocket with the category, rather than those that are consistently at the top of the list – is a great way of connecting with what matters to the consumer right now.

 

ResolutionProduct CategoryNew TV Show AffinityNew Website Affinity
Financial FitnessFinancial ServicesThe WallWeddingWire
TravelTravel WebsitesRiverdaleWanderlustyle

 

In that case, NBC’s new game show, The Wall, alongside YouTube channel Wanderlustyle, are the right context and content in which to pitch to stragglers in financial fitness and travel resolution makers, respectively. Social affinity, used in this way, serves a purpose that not only generates business but also respects consumers as people. Motivating consumers to become better as people makes a marketer’s ad dollars effective in more ways than one.

 

Looking to inspire the next customers of your brand? Contact us today.

Social Affinities of Alexa and Yui – Two Standouts from CES

I know what you’re thinking – not another blog post about the top products at CES. Well, this one is a bit different than others posted this week. No, not because I did not actually attend CES, but because it is the only one to examine the social affinities of a couple of the top products at CES this year, and how consumer preferences (measured via our mutual affinity metric) can be used to help bring these products to market.

Almost every CES recap I’ve read has referenced Amazon Echo’s voice assistance, Alexa. Amazon was not even an official CES attendee, but Alexa showed up in products from cars, phones, refrigerators, washing machines, lamps, and robots made by manufacturers such as Lenovo, LG, Ford and GE.  By creating a device-agnostic operating system, Amazon is leading the AI in the home movement, while building out even more pathways into their commerce engine.

As manufacturers in Amazon’s ecosystem look to launch Alexa-embedded products, they will need to discover the right audiences for their marketing campaigns.  This is an area where the social affinities discovered by AffinityAnswers’ TrueAffinity™ (TA) metric can help.  TrueAffinity™ is the first brand interaction metric that indicates the strength of active, mutual engagement between brands’ audiences over time. The higher the score, measured on scale of 0.00 to 10.00, the more receptive one brand’s’ audience is to messaging and content from another brand.  All TrueAffinity scores represent statistically significant, positive, mutual affinity and are designed to be actionable.

We can look at the existing Amazon Echo audience, and discover other audiences with high mutual affinities, which are perfect for Alexa-powered product campaigns as they are by definition likely to engage with Alexa content.  As you may expect, some of the top affinities with Amazon Alexa are tech gadgets, but what you may not expect are the top two non-Amazon tech brands are Apple Watch (TA = 8.63) and iPad Mini (TA = 8.57).  And though Amazon will not be replacing Siri anytime soon, their audiences could be great targets for Alexa products.  Other brands, movies and musicians with high affinities are not as obvious:  Ryan Bingham = 8.80, Patron Tequila = 8.53, Kwik Trip = 8.51, Capital One = 8.33, and The Daily Show = 7.66.  Again, these are great audiences for programmatic advertising, and some even partner opportunities (I’m thinking Capital One more so than Patron – I’m not sure the frictionless commerce of Alexa and tequila are a good match).

Alexa affinities

Another Standout product of this year’s CES came from Toyota, though it will be years before the product hits the market.  Toyota introduced a concept car, called Concept-i.  Like Amazon Echo, it too is embedded with a digital assistant, named Yui in Toyota’s case.  While other manufacturers are going straight towards driverless “pod” seating, Toyota designed the Concept-I with an emphasis on the steering wheel and driver.  The steering wheel is also the central location of their AI, which will learn driver preferences and proactively assist or take over driving as needed.

Cocept-i

As Toyota builds out their ecosystem around the car, social affinities can be used to help determine partnerships that will resonate with the Toyota audience, such as:

  • Financial institution HSBC (TA = 8.07)
  • Consumer electronics manufacturer Alpine (TA = 7.98)
  • The Samsung Galaxy smart phone (TA = 7.98)
  • Communications service provider AT&T (TA = 7.93)
  • Nespresso coffee (TA = 7.74)
  • McDonald’s restaurant (TA = 7.69)
  • Apple Watch (TA = 7.65)
  • Xbox gaming system (TA = 7.64)

As these machine-learning powered AI products enter the market, it only make sense that marketers use more sophisticated method to brand and market them.  TrueAffinity, AffinityAnswers’ branding metric, is one such method.  Contact us to learn more.

3 Brands That Made an Impact in 2016… and What All Brands Can Do with Social Affinity in 2017

It’s not just another turning of the page. 2016 will definitely go down as one of the more interesting years in recent history. The Rio Olympics and the entire presidential campaign would be two events notable enough on their own. Fortunately, there were also some interesting brand-related and brand-inspired stories that were out there – and that’s where AffinityAnswers comes in. Consider these three as we head into 2017:

Pokémon GO

Although the concept of the mobile game was in development since 2014, Pokémon GO seemed to come out of nowhere as a global phenomenon when it was released in July. In fact, by August, it had earned itself five distinct Guinness World Records, including the fastest time for a mobile game to gross $500 million in revenue.

Also notable were the brands that had mutual social affinity with Pokémon GO. Since the end of July, not only did the game’s social engagers also engage with Nintendo and PlayStation, but the diversity of its massive user base was also reflected. The game had the biggest increase in social engagement – and audience receptivity with – NASA (+60%) and several QSR brands, including Arby’s (+32%) and Wendy’s (+68%). Social affinity is a great way to identify which audiences are your most qualified even when it seems “everyone” would be a suitable target – something that Starbucks, whose own social affinity with the app grew 88%, did by launching a new Pokémon GO themed Frappuccino.

Stranger Things

In the era of “Peak TV” – according to FX, there were 455 original scripted series airing this year alone – you might think that it’s impossible for any series to stand out and make an imprint on pop culture. Netflix certainly contributes to the trend, but arguably, no series had quite the same impact on viewers as Stranger Things.

Unlike other shows – including a few that also aired on Netflix this year – that either served as sequels or reboots to beloved TV hits, Stranger Things serves as an homage to the 1980s while delivering original stories. TheWrap spotted 21 “80s relics” while watching the first season, but does this translate to its social affinity with brands, other TV shows, etc.? It turns out that it shows up most prominently in their music affinities, with ‘80s-inspired artists like The 1975 and Lady Gaga, as well as actual ‘80s band Blondie all cracking the top 20. These can be valuable target audiences if they choose to execute programmatically for season 2 next year.

Tesla Model 3

People are willing to wait in line for things like sneakers or smartphones, but an automobile? Tesla fans may not be getting out their tents and sleeping bags, but they are on a long list for an all-electric automobile that will offer superior performance (215 miles) at a starting price of $35,000. Just how many reservations are there? As of October, about 400,000 people have put down a deposit of $1,000 to get their Model 3, and recent reports suggest that the company is going “all out” to meet the demand. Users that ordered a Tesla Model 3 this summer will not see it for two more years, but based on Tesla’s social affinities, here’s what potential drivers are engaging with today.

In their new Tesla Model 3, they’ll have a MacBook resting in the passenger’s seat. Deadmau5 will be playing on the radio while they use Waze to find where they are headed next. They will imagine that they are competing in the FIA Formula E Championship at the same time they are envisioning themselves as the next Tim Cook or Warren Buffett!

All of these affinities could be partnerships or campaigns in the making. For example, how cool would it be to have a completely integrated Waze app, one that not only shows drivers where to go, but how to best maximize their 215 miles of all-electric travel? Social affinity not only uncovers hidden audiences, but could also expand marketers’ imaginations in 2017.

Send us an e-mail at hello@affinityanswers.com if you’re interested in knowing how you can reach your brand’s most relevant audiences in 2017.

AffinityAnswers welcomes Scott Turner as our new CRO

AffinityAnswers is excited to announce that Scott Turner has joined the team as our new (and first) Chief Revenue Officer.  In this role, Scott will be leading our Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Client Service teams, with responsibility for our go-to-market strategies and revenue growth.

Scott joins us from GfK-MRI where he led the Agency / Advertiser team for the past 13 years.  He joined MRI as VP/Regional Sales in the Chicago office in 1991 and during his 25-year tenure at MRI, he worked closely with agencies and brands, helping clients leverage consumer insights to inform and measure traditional and digital media plans.

As a member of the MRI executive committee, Scott played an important role in product development, overall data strategy, and helping MRI diversify and grow their revenue from non-traditional sectors. Additionally, Scott spent 9 years with Arbitron (Nielsen Audio), working in the Radio and TV divisions, primarily serving the top 50 agencies and advertisers throughout the central and southwest regions.

Scott is a graduate Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale and the Second City Players Workshop in Chicago.  A past president of the Media Research Club of Chicago, Scott has done postgraduate work at the University of Chicago’s/Booth School of Business.  He is also a husband and proud father of two daughters and one son, all of whom live and work in the greater Chicago area, where Scott resides.

“I look forward to leading the Affinity Answers sales and client-service teams and helping our clients obtain maximum value from their media investments, as branding becomes more and more addressable.  Our unique approach to leveraging social affinities will help provide key inputs and signals to investments around programmatic branding and help integrate media efforts, rather than building new silos.”

Scott’s experience supporting National and Local campaigns via TV, Print, Radio, Direct Marketing, and Digital channels will be key to helping AffinityAnswers fulfill our mission of making branding more effective.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Black Friday programmatic segment

New 3rd-party Holiday segments available via ODC

Here at AffinityAnswers, we specialize in creating audience segments. But not just any audiences – these are audiences with a predicted high likelihood to engage with a brand, event, show, team or celebrity. We do this by collecting billions of active, social engagements, then use this data to discover audience affinities. The result is predictive branding, the latest evolution of programmatic advertising.

Ready or not (professionally and personally), the holiday season begins in earnest next week. We know you’ve “been good” and completed your holiday campaign planning, but even the best media plans sometimes have scaling or pacing issues. To help you reach the right audience, AffinityAnswers has created seven holiday segments: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Years, and Hanukkah to complement our 1,500 other segments covering many categories: auto, CPG, retail, finance, travel, TV, radio, print, music, movies, sports, games, celebrities, etc.

To sculpt these holiday segments, we aggregated the social affinity audiences of dozens of brands relating to each of the specific holidays. For instance, the Thanksgiving segment contains brand audiences such as Butterball and Macy’s, where Christmas segment is made up of audiences of Christmas movies, TV shows and Christmas-related brands.

All the above 3rd-party audiences are available via our partner, Oracle Data Cloud, and can be purchased directly from your DSP or digital buying platform; just search “Affinity Answers” to find our branded segments. Additionally, we can tailor bespoke audiences for you for any future programmatic campaigns.

If you would like help strategizing which affinity segments will work best for your next campaign, including your holiday efforts, simply email us at hello@affinityanswers.com.  We’ll help you select the best segments for your campaign goals.

For Brands, Social Affinity Makes Everyday Election Day

There are less than four days left until Americans pick the 45th President of the United States. The state of the race changes so quickly that it’s difficult to keep pace with the constant shifts and swings, but just as we did in July, we at AffinityAnswers can update you on the state of the Trump and Clinton brands. In that piece, published in the middle of the Republican National Convention, we used our TrueAffinity score – common engagement on social media between brand audiences – to tell you that Donald Trump is best aligned with Kanye West vs. any other music artist, while Hillary Clinton should be handing out samples of Ben & Jerry’s to woo voters who championed another Vermont favorite, Bernie Sanders.

Here are a couple of new findings, emerging since the first debate, that both campaigns would find useful as we approach Election Day.

1. Just like the polls, social affinity shows a tight race in Florida.

The candidate who has won FL in 9 out of the last 10 presidential elections has gone on to win the general election. Since the first debate, social engagers with TV stations in local markets have shown either equal TrueAffinity growth for both candidates (like Miami), or Trump or Clinton gaining in a market where the opposite party won in 2012.

 Florida Map

2. Social affinity identifies brand-specific potential voter blocs

These organizations’ social engagers have been moving toward either Clinton or Trump since the first debate.

Comparison Groups

For marketers, social affinity “votes” are a great way to track new and potential audiences’ interest in your brand. E-mail us at hello@affinityanswers.com to find out how this can work for your brand.