Social Affinity: A Powerful New Metric


As social media user data proliferates, Affinity Answers has found that marketers often make the mistake of equating passive user actions such as “likes” as indicators of interest in their products or services. In contrast, Affinity Answers reveals that reciprocal, highly interactive social media activities such as commenting, photo posting, liking specific pieces of content, etcetera, is a far better predictors of new audiences for brands because of that increased level of engagement. They call this new metric social affinity.

ADOTAS talked with J.T. Compeau, AffinityAnswers’ Client Services Lead, to learn more:

Q: What results can marketers expect when they incorporate social affinity into their campaigns?

A: Social affinity’s primary benefit is to lower costs per engagement for marketers. Because affinity-based targeting on search or social delivers highly receptive audiences, not only will marketers receive a greater volume of engagements for their brand, but they will be more likely to recall the ads’ messages. All of these conclusions are based on what clients have shared of their work in the past.

Q: How does social affinity measure conversion?

A: Social affinity is not a transactional measure, like a conversion in response to a digital ad; it delivers a different value. Social affinity primarily focuses audiences who are in the “pre-intent” stage of the consumer journey – in other words, those consumers who are ideal prospects but haven’t yet expressed interest. The overlap with direct marketing is that targeting based on social affinity can move consumers from the “pre-intent” phase to actually expressing purchase intent. While other methods such as retargeting and direct mail may reach consumers guaranteed to buy, social affinity will contribute an element of brand building that is uncommon in most digital campaigns.

Q: Why should marketers use social affinity instead of the targeting options offered by social networks themselves?

A: Going to social networks directly will result in targeting based on demos and broadly defined interests. While those are perfectly valid, AffinityAnswers has quantified how engaged fans across multiple social networks engage with brands, TV shows, celebrities and much more.

This is helpful in two ways:

1) basing targeting off of many social networks vs. one gives a more complete picture of the brand’s audience

2) while the data we collect is public, it’s unlocking relationships between brands that, even if you had access to the “walled gardens”, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to determine.

This is because our calculations emphasize relevance over reach; a small indie band may be more relevant to your audience than Lady Gaga, but only the most popular recommendations will surface if you’re basing an analysis solely on “likes”.

Q: Which types of brands would benefit most from affinity-based marketing?

A: Our social dataset favors B2C brands because categories that heavily favor consumption are also inherently social. However, the vast nature of our catalog – 60,000 entities and counting – includes B2B companies as well, and wherever there are enough socially engaged fans, we are able to provide solutions.


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