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Case Study

Playstation conquesting lifts purchase intent

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Using a branded AffinityAnswers’ segment to reach audiences of its competitor, a top gaming console was able to boost purchase intent during the holiday season.

With the holiday season of 2016 in full swing, a top gaming console wanted to do everything it could to steal market share from competitors.

The brand’s agency used an AffinityAnswers segment modeled after the social engagements of PlayStation. It was designed to reach branded audiences that were likely to engage with PlayStation on social and thus would be receptive to content or messaging from PlayStation. Since the gaming console category is very competitive, this segment was intended to pick up users that may be deciding which console to purchase.

After the campaign concluded, a brand study was conducted by Nielsen Vizu, a firm that specializes in measuring digital brand advertising effectiveness. A one-question survey was administered to participants, some of whom had been reached by using the segment and others who were not: how likely are you to purchase Brand X gaming console in the next 3 months?

The results were positive: those reached by the segment were 9.1% more likely than those who were not reached by the segment to state that they were likely to purchase the gaming console in the next three months. This was a big victory for the brand and for affinity-based targeting because it demonstrated that the advertising was effective, that the right audience was targeted and that affinity-based targeting is linked to the first step on the road to sales.

Contact us at hello@affinityanswers.com to find out how affinity-based audiences can enhance your Buyer-Driven Brand strategies.

Dr. Pepper finds the perfect partner

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Movie tie-ins help Dr Pepper gain consideration with movie audience.

With the massive popularity of the super hero movie genre, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was one of the most anticipated movies of 2016. Not only did Ben Affleck take over as the new Batman, but it also setup the foundation for future Justice League films and introduced other popular characters such as Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash to the DC movie universe.

The Dr Pepper Snapple Group looked to gain traction with this audience by teaming up with Warner Bros. to sponsor the film. The partnership had multiple components: Dr Pepper bottles and cans with Batman v Super logos and characters, a $5 off ticket promotion, and even product placement in the film. The investment was a major one for the soft drink brand, but also one that can be difficult to quantify. Overall sales lift can provide some indication of the performance of the partnership, but this could be contributed to many different campaigns in market.

An additional KPI for measuring campaign success is TrueAffinity™ by AffinityAnswers.  TrueAffinity is the first brand interaction metric that indicates the strength of active, social engagement between brands’ audiences over time. The higher the score, the more receptive one brand’s audience is to messaging and content from another brand.

The below chart shows the TrueAffinity score of Batman v Superman with four top carbonated sodas: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper.

The higher the TrueAffinity score, the higher the mutual affinity, and as mentioned, the better an audience will respond to messages from the other brand.  At the start of 2016, Mountain Dew had the highest mutual affinity with the movie with a TrueAffinity score of 8.02, and Dr Pepper’s was the lowest at 7.43 (note: a 7.5 is still a fantastic TrueAffinity score; we generally consider any score above 7 to be high mutual affinity).  The in late February / early March as the Dr Pepper campaign went into market, Dr. Pepper shifted to the highest position with a TrueAffinity score as high as 9.  It is worth noting that TrueAffinity is measured on an exponential scale.  So the 20% change in TrueAffinity score is actually more like a 4 to5x increase in affinity.  And not only did the shift to higher affinity occur, but Dr Pepper’s TrueAffinity score has stayed high even though the campaign ended, proving that the Batman v Superman audience was indeed a great marketing investment for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

Social affinities represent the consumer’s receptivity to brands, TV shows, celebrities, and more, based on their entire experience, and not just their interactions on social media.  By using TrueAffinity, what happens between awareness and purchase can be measured at scale with specific audiences. TrueAffinity provides a way to measure both the conscious and unconscious influence brand advertising has on consumers (i.e. consideration).

Contact us at hello@affinityanswers.com to find out how affinity-based audiences can enhance your Buyer-Driven Brand strategies.

TrueAffinity™ delivers an enlightened targeting approach for Theatrical

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Social affinities help inform data-driven audiences, when no other data exists

How do you address a truly unique audience to your brand through programmatic media channels when no addressable data exists?

This audience problem exists for brands across many verticals who want to capitalize on the advantages and opportunities that programmatic-digital media provides.  Because I’m based in Los Angeles though, the entertainment vertical (specifically Theatrical) comes to mind as a particularly large vertical suffering from this data dilemma.

In digital marketing, understanding consumers’ interests through observed web behaviors (page views, engagement, purchases, etc.), mobile location history and even TV-viewing enables marketers to confidently reach relevant audiences with minimal waste, through programmatic channels.  But what’s a theatrical marketer to do when they want to reach an audience specifically tailored to their film that is not yet released?  Dropping a cookie or collecting a device ID isn’t as realistic for these folks.

Studios often times create dedicated web pages to support new movies.  In an ideal world, millions of users would go to that page in order to learn more about the film or stay up-to-date on newly released content.  A large enough volume of site traffic would enable the studio to execute a scalable digital marketing campaign, targeted to users who visited the site and are therefore likely to be qualified prospects.

The problem, however, is studio owned and operated (o&o) pages don’t drive enough traffic to enable a scalable digital marketing campaign (many brands who do not sell direct also face this challenge).  Consumers are more likely to consume movie-related content across a diverse array of media properties that extend far outside of the film’s o&o channels.  In order for the studio to track and aggregate these users into an addressable audience, it would need access to a Data Management Platform (DMP) and that DMP would need to have tags implemented across all publishers who’ve posted content about the movie.  This is very unlikely, though, as publishers like IMDB, Wikia and Fandango are incentivized to keep their 1st-party audience data to themselves.

Due to a lack of 1st-party data from o&o properties, studios have resorted to alternative strategies in hopes of reaching users who may be interested in their films.  Some of these strategies include demo-targeting (users who are the same sex/age as the assumed “sweet-spot” for the film), mobile location targeting (to reach frequent movie theater goers) and interest-based targeting (by movie genre or other interests related to the movie’s content).  While these audience strategies may be a step in the right direction toward finding the ideal prospect, there are serious assumptions and generalizations being made and none of those tactics will result in the studio reaching an ideal audience for the film they’re attempting to support.

What if there was a way to understand the unique affinities of an individual film’s most passionate fan base?  And then leverage those insights for the construction of a relevant and addressable audience?

Data on what apparel and accessories a film’s fans love, what restaurants they eat at and what electronics they buy provides insight on the unique makeup of the film’s audience.  The combination of passion points (or affinities) from a variety of different categories define a film’s audience and contribute to what makes the audience truly unique.

AffinityAnswers’ TrueAffinity™ algorithm can identify the affinities of a film’s potential fan base at an extremely granular level and use these insights to inform specialized, addressable audiences for theatrical programmatic campaigns.  Through ingesting active engagements on public social pages across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, AffinityAnswers’ TrueAffinity™ algorithm analyzes user engagement data to identify affinities between audiences.  AffinityAnswers sees 400MM+ users engaging with 60k+ brands’ owned social pages, enabling the discovery of an audience’s affinities across a vast array of categories.  An integration with Oracle Data Cloud enables the affinity analysis to be translated into an addressable audience, accessible for purchase through nearly any DSP, within all types of inventory .

Let’s use ALLIED, a Paramount Pictures film, as an example of how AffinityAnswers can deliver a targeted audience for a theatrical campaign.  Using AffinityAnswers’ proprietary platform (Affinity Activation Platform) I uncovered that ALLIED enthusiasts have a taste for top-tier foreign automobiles BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, enjoy classy threads from Eileen Fisher and Vince complemented by a snazzy Brietling watch, and have a knack for best-in-class outdoor adventure gear such as Patagonia and Yeti coolers.  These insights paint quite a clear picture of the type of people who are most likely to be interested in seeing ALLIED.

Allied

Social media provides a window into the distinct makeup of an audience.  AffinityAnswers has developed a way of capitalizing on the wealth of available public social engagement data and can help marketers understand the unique affinities of their films’ most enthusiastic fans.  Through our integration with Oracle Data Cloud, robust affinity insights can be made actionable through programmatic media channels outside the walled gardens of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for the very first time.  There’s no longer need to settle on assumptions and generalizations about a film’s audience in order to activate a scalable programmatic branding campaign – AffinityAnswers offers a unique ability to understand the affinities of an individual film’s fanbase and then activate against those insights in the form of a bespoke and scalable addressable audience.

 

A Million (or Three) Reasons to use TrueAffinity™ to Measure Sponsorships: Bud Light and Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga’s fans—affectionately known as her Little Monsters—are seeing, and hearing, a more stripped-down version of the superstar. In early September, Lady Gaga released “Perfect Illusion,” her first pop single in nearly three years. The following month, Lady Gaga and Bud Light announced that they would be teaming up to promote her new album, Joanne, with The Dive Bar Tour.

The Bud Light x Lady Gaga Dive Bar Tour is a fusion of old-school promoting meets present-day streaming. On October 5, 20 and 27, Lady Gaga surprised fans with three intimate performances across a handful of dive bars. The secret venues—located in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles—held around 250 spectators. Bud Light brought the performances to the masses by exclusively livestreaming each show via Facebook Live. Although roughly 750 people were there in person, thanks to Bud Light, millions of Little Monsters were able to virtually be there live.

At AffinityAnswers, we are intrigued by the effectiveness of branding and sponsorships. Lady Gaga’s personal success can be measured by the fact that Joanne has already reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart—but what did this partnership do for Bud Light? Using our proprietary TrueAffinity™ metric—which measures reciprocal affinity, not just popularity, between two brands—we set out to answer that very question.

We took a look at the 12 weeks surrounding the Dive Bar Tour: 8 weeks prior to the October 2 announcement, and the 4 weeks that followed. We then compared the TrueAffinity™ scores between Lady Gaga and three domestic beer brands: Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light. Prior to October 2, all three beer brands were essentially flat. During the week of the announcement, the Bud Light and Lady Gaga TrueAffinity™ score instantly started to climb—and has been on the rise ever since—while the competition logged their lowest scores to date. The below chart highlights the trends and overall TrueAffinity™ Growth between Lady Gaga and these brands.

Bud Light Gaga

The impact of this campaign was unconfined to Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, and even the U.S. Our insights at AffinityAnswers are derived from 400 million social users world-wide. The reported trends between Bud Light and Lady Gaga prove that three local performances moved the needle for both recognizable names internationally. TrueAffinity™ is an essential measurement tool for Bud Light for the following three reasons:

  1. Validates Bud Light and Lady Gaga Collaboration

TrueAffinity™ is measured on an exponential scale between 0 and 10. Eight weeks before The Dive Bar Tour was announced, Bud Light and Lady Gaga shared a strong TrueAffinity™ score of 6.24. This confirms that Lady Gaga was the right choice for a partnership with Bud Light.

  1. Supports Audience Acquisition for Bud Light

The growth in TrueAffinity™ means that consumers reacted very positively to the collaboration, and that Lady Gaga fans have become new audiences for Bud Light. During the week surrounding the announcement (September 28 – October 5) there was a 9.75% increase in mutual affinity between the two entities.

  1. Affirms that Bud Light Gained Overall Share

We can conclude that there is a limited amount of fan engagement available between domestic beer brands and Lady Gaga. As Bud Light was on the incline, both Miller Lite and Coors Light lost mutual affinity with the artist, resulting in greater overall share of engaged fans for Bud Light.

Although there are no more stops on the Dive Bar Tour, TrueAffinity™ can be used to foster audience activation and continue measurement. What’s left for Bud Light once the final curtain closes on this campaign? We would suggest using TrueAffinity™ to thoughtfully uncover their next successful sponsorship.

Photo source: Bud Light on Facebook

Affinities Both Make and Validate Spokesperson Talent Decisions

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Social affinities can be used to make the right choice between many eligible spokespeople

Social affinities represents two sides of the same coin: reaction and receptivity – consumers will react to the marketing messages around them using social media, but what ultimately counts for marketers is which brand, TV show, or celebrity will make the greatest impact. The question is: which choice is most likely to be most resonant with my existing and potential audiences?

This is the question that Pepsi was pondering when they brought in AffinityAnswers to help determine which music artist would be the right choice for a new spokesperson. Four artists were up for consideration: Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj.

Of course, it’s not enough to just make a decision; marketing choices must be viewed through the lens of ROI. Therefore, the solution that would best benefit Pepsi would need to be able to choose among four artists that all had appeal to their brand’s fans and demonstrate that the chosen artist was the best decision possible.

Pepsi2

Based on mutual affinity, and the overlap of each artist’s fan base with Pepsi’s fan base, AffinityAnswers recommended Nicki Minaj as the best choice for spokesperson. Despite being in the lead, any one of those four artists could have been a viable choice, so how does Pepsi know that they made the right decision?

The chart on the right illustrates that Nicki Minaj fans were very receptive to Pepsi ads and content over a six-month-long period. The reach of Pepsi fans among Nicki Minaj fans doubled from March to September 2012, indicating that Nicki Minaj audiences were also becoming Pepsi audiences.

AffinityAnswers has built the industry’s first platform for predictive branding. This allows for choosing the best addressable audiences: ones that will be highly receptive to your brand’s content and messaging.

Contact us at hello@affinityanswers.com to find out how affinity-based audiences can uniquely bring solutions to your brand.

Affinities Identify the Most Engaging Content and Personalities on YouTube

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Channels with the highest brand affinity outperform channels based on genre and subscriber count

AffinityAnswers is not just for tracking brands; advertisers can also find which YouTube channels – based on the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter behaviors of the channels’ fans – have high affinity for their brand.

This level of insight was key for a video platform working with a CPG client that needed to extend its reach on YouTube beyond those that they chose based on relevant genres and the number of subscribers. AffinityAnswers created brand rankers to demonstrate which channels would be best, pinpointing those that had not already been chosen by the video platform.

In addition to executing the campaign in service of the client, the work with AffinityAnswers also acted as an experiment – which method of selecting YouTube channels is most effective at generating view-through rates?

Youtube2

The results were clear: while the genre-and-subscriber method produced a healthy view-through rate (35%), affinity-based selections boosted this by 23%, boosting the overall view-through rate to 43%. Choosing YouTube channels based on social engagement is a powerful method which, for branding campaigns, has proven more effective than choosing them based on actual viewership.

Contact us at hello@affinityanswers.com to find out how affinity-based audiences can uniquely bring solutions to your brand.

Social Affinities Serve as High-Performing Proxy Audiences for Product Launches:

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Affinity-based segments for related brands effectively extend audiences

Social affinities are a great way to tap into your own fan base’s preferences to extend to other brand audiences that would be highly receptive to your content or messaging. Even during a time where social is at tremendous scale, not every brand will be equally represented, particularly those that are newly launched.

This was the situation for a video DSP that was working with a client launching a brand new dairy-free yogurt brand. High-performing lower funnel purchase data was unavailable for a brand that had yet to reach market. Even if it had been available, the scale would not have been great enough to generate conversions, let alone the awareness needed for a successful brand launch.

AffinityAnswers audience segments are high-performing but there was no segment for the new yogurt. Using our proprietary methodology and TrueAffinity™ branding metric, we were able to determine that Silk Soymilk was the best available proxy.

While every brand has its own distinct affinity profile, similar brands will have similar extended audiences. This isn’t just theory, though. The video DSP used our Silk Soymilk segment and still achieved video completion rates that bested the CPG industry average by 70%.

Yogurt2

Affinity-based segments activate a brand’s most engaged audiences, but in cases where not enough information about a brand is available, proxy brands are accurate depictions of the preferences that will later define that audience. Targeting proxy affinities may even influence what audiences your brand will be receptive to over time.

Contact us at hello@affinityanswers.com to find out how affinity-based audiences can uniquely bring solutions to your brand.

Budweiser’s Social Affinity is Driven by Traditional Advertising:

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Increased TV ad spend moves the needle For Budweiser on ESPN

One of the biggest misconceptions about using social affinity targeting is that it’s only effective on social. There is indeed value in having tools that provide efficiency and insight in the social sphere, but mutual social affinities are so much more. Social affinities represent the consumer’s receptivity to brands, TV shows, celebrities and more; based on their entire experience, and not just the interactions on social media.

ESPN was looking for another way to demonstrate the value of advertising on its properties. Using social affinity as a measure of effectiveness, ESPN demonstrated just how much client Budweiser gained traction vs. its competitors over an eight-month period advertising in multiple ESPN programs.

AffinityAnswers reviewed TrueAffinity™ scores over that period between ESPN and Budweiser, as well as the network and Bud competitors. The trend graph below demonstrates not only that the ESPN advertising was effective, but that it actually decreased the share of affinity of its competitors. That is, the total social engagement between ESPN and others in the beer category – including Bud’s biggest competitors: Miller Light, Coors, Pabst and Yuengling – decreased.

ESPN Bud 2

Any marketer looking to invest TV ad dollars would also find how the needle moved interesting. The effectiveness of Budweiser’s TV dollars on ESPN can be divided into three phases:

  1. Startup: When the sponsorship began, the branding effectiveness among ESPN fans grew slowly. Like other branding campaigns, it takes time to arrive at the optimal reach and frequency.
  2. Rapid growth: Two months into the sponsorship, social affinity among ESPN fans towards Budweiser accelerated, with growth in affinity outpacing the increase in dollars spent. This is also the point where Bud competitors’ affinity started to decline.
  3. Maturation: Four months in, Bud-ESPN affinity growth began to trail the level of investment. While this does not mean social affinity had been capped, it does reflect a saturation point: the TV dollars had worked the hardest they possibly could to convert ESPN audiences into Budweiser audiences.

Savvy marketers know that consumers don’t compartmentalize their experiences with brands. What they see on TV influences what they buy, and as shown here, how they interact digitally with brands. Social affinities are a quantifiable representation of those impacted by a TV ad, and a broader representation of the potential Bud audience – beyond those who already are purchasers.

Contact us at hello@affinityanswers.com to find out how affinity-based audiences can uniquely bring solutions to your brand.

Ridiculousness: Effective contextual ad buys in Google

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MTV's Ridiculousness
Google Adsense

The Situation:

MTV was looking for ways to expand awareness and interest for their new show Ridiculousness hosted by Rob Dyrdek. They went ahead and bought contextual advertising in Google AdSense using a list of keywords researched by them and suggested by Google AdPlanner tool. This brought them certain reach but the client wanted more.

The Solution:

Colligent’s targeting identified specific TV shows, music artists, sports and celebrity keywords that Ridiculousness fans engaged with and vice versa. The client created a new ad group with these keywords to buy additional contextual advertising.

The Results:

When compared to their in-house ad group, the Colligent ad group increased their reach by 73% with a 89% higher click-thru rate (CTR) and cost per click (CPC) that was 8% lower.

 

Google/MTV Keywords Colligent Keywords Performance Difference
Impressions 8,445,417 3,259,286 +73%
CTR 0.06% 0.11% +89%
CPC $0.55 $0.51 -8%