ShareThis Makes the Case for Share Marketing

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sharethisADOTAS – Stretch marks suck — perhaps I’m too vain for my own good, but I’ve got some off-color tracks of skin from when I lost 70 pounds (through a bad method, I admit: diet pill addiction) that dismay me whenever I put on a bathing suit.

But image-conscious part-time rock stars weren’t really what Mederma, a brand that produces scar treatments, had in mind when it came to Empower MediaMarketing and ShareThis to market its stretch mark treatment. A better (and likely more lucrative) audience is young moms who have recently given birth and are crawling the Internet looking for some tips to get rid of those unsightly scars around their bellies.

Who doesn’t use that handy little green box at the bottom of an engaging article to pass the good word along to friends via their favorite social networks? With a reach of 400 million uniques over 135,000 sites, ShareThis is a one-stop shop for spreading content — and a huge potential resource for marketers looking to target niche audiences.

“We’ve been investing in what sharing means to people and how it relates to marketers — and how they can participate in that,” says ShareThis CEO Tim Schigel. “We consider it the most valuable function in social media.”

In the test campaign of ShareThis Influence with Mederma, the sharing service and Empower used Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange to serve display ads to a community sharing articles and tips about managing stretch marks. One in two “influencers” clicked through to a coupon download page — compare that to the average 1-in-4 CTR for search campaigns and 1-in-10 for contextual display campaigns.

ShareThis Influence is almost too simple to be true: brand gives ShareThis search terms or topics and then the service delivers them an audience of sharers to target based on the content they disseminate.

“Think of sharing relative to search. Search is strong intent; our experience shows sharing’s intent is stronger than search,” Schigel explains. “When I share a link with you and you go to that site, you stay on that site and generate more page views than search.”

The hurdle with reaching those on the sharing equation — both senders and receivers — before was scale, something that ShareThis can certainly offer. In addition, ShareThis can segment the audience based on sender/sharer and receivers, the latter of which is obviously larger, and a next step will be enabling various creatives and calls-to-action sent to each user.

“Instead of doing the same media spend across the whole group in an untargeted way, marketers can saturate that influencer group with educational ads… because they’re a very influential group,” Schigel notes.

In addition, ShareThis has released in private beta ShareThis Influence Insights, which gives publishers a better picture of their social influence while valuing custom social segments.

“I call it AdSense on social steroids,” Empower President Jim Price chips in. “It’s advertising around content but you add that layer of influence. Not only is it the right content, it’s coming from a trusted source.”

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