Integrated Ads Through Social Media Apps
appssavvy is a direct sales team for the social media space, and is able to get a first-hand look at the world of marketing through social media apps, a trend that is growing by the day. In fact, the company recently entered exclusive partnerships with six big-name social app companies – LivingSocial (makers of the ever-popular "pick your five" app on Facebook), Circle of Moms, Zynga, Serious Business, Where I’ve Been, and Poolhouse.
I asked appssavvy CEO Chris Cunningham a few questions about the company’s experiences with the industry that will hopeful shed some light on it for businesses looking to enter the social app marketing game.
Chris Crum: I see examples in the press release of companies that are "interested in" using the social media apps. Are these companies going through appssavvy?
Chris Cunningham: To date, appssavvy has run more than 75 campaigns between social media application developers and publishers with advertisers, including Lexus, Sony Pictures, ChapStick, Oakley and Adidas, to name a few. appsavvy connects advertisers and agencies with apps, such as the ones announced [the six partnerships mentioned above], among an array of others including NBC News’s iCue, MesmoTV and SocialCalendar. appssavvy works with hundreds of applications.
Where appssavvy fits is in that the company has relationships with advertisers and agencies and is connecting those relationships with developers of social media applications in contextually-relevant ways or through integrated sponsorships. Traditionally, a majority of these developers are just that, developers. They don’t have the relationships with Madison Avenue, thus appssavvy fills the role as their advertising sales team.
Chris Crum: What are some specific examples of how these companies and other advertisers are using the applications to market? Where does the marketing fit into the "pick your five" app for example?
Chris Cunningham: appssavvy is focused on connecting advertisers to social media applications in contextually-relevant ways and through integrated sponsorships. It is not through traditional media buys of banners, etc. The campaigns are true partnerships where the advertiser is adding to the experience, not detracting from it. For example, Oakley, the sunglasses and other optical products outdoor company,
this past winter ran a campaign on the social media application Snow Reports, providing snow reports at resorts from across the world. The campaign was contextually-relevant, but Oakley also integrated custom skins, feature videos and profiles of the company’s ski and snowboard teams.
As for Pick Your Five, we do not have an advertiser example, yet, but stay tuned. Pick Your Five is not only hugely popular, but is a great entertainment opportunity for a brand.
Chris Crum: What exactly is appssavvy’s role in the process of getting an advertiser’s message out through these social applications?
Chris Cunningham: It ranges not only from connecting the two (social media application and advertiser), but from the creative standpoint, to the execution, to the tracking and optimization. appssavvy is the expert in this emerging space for digital marketers. We work with the agency and advertiser to create an opportunity in social media to reach relevant audiences, while adding to the experience. For example, recently we connected Sobieski Vodka with SocialCalendar. Sobieski’s branding was integrated into the application’s calendar and the premium vodka provided a martini glass icon — which was the most used icon during the campaign’s flight — to be used in invitations. In addition, Sobieski also integrated recipes for holiday drinks into the application. In this example, Sobieski not only received strong branding exposure, but was able to connect with audiences that met its advertising needs.
Chris Crum: Can you give me any hard numbers involving conversion rates and/or click-through rates?
Chris Cunningham: It isn’t about a click, although that metric is and can be tracked. In addition, each campaign is really different from a tracking perspective. Social media application campaigns, if done right, are not about traditional digital media of tossing up banners. We see them being right when done in regard to context. For example, would it make sense to connect an auto company with Circle of Moms?
Probably, not. Would it make sense to connect a CPG company targeting moms? Absolutely. In addition to context, it is about integrated sponsorships. Oakley and Sobieski, as examples, not only fit from a context perspective, but they brought content that added to the experience and lifted their brands. From all of this, you can track any number of metrics, from how many videos or profiles were watched/viewed in the case of Oakley, to how many icons were used or recipes downloaded in the case of Sobieski.
Chris Crum: If there is anything else about appssavvy and social app marketing you’d like to share, please feel free to do so.
Chris Cunningham: A couple of things: First, social media applications are becoming mainstream. It always takes a year or two to garner enough understanding in the digital marketing space for an advertising opportunity to take shape. Since beginning appssavvy in early 2008, we’ve spent the better part of a year educating advertisers and agencies and are really starting to see the space takeoff. On that note, we’re also seeing a real flight from quantity to quality, which is really what today’s announcement of six new leading social media application partnerships is all about. Yes, there are tens of thousands of Facebook applications, but quality is winning out, which is very exciting and why companies like Circle of Moms, Zynga, LivingSocial, SeriousBusiness, Where I’ve Been and Poolhouse are experiencing such strong growth and success.
I’d like to thank Cunningham for answering my questions. I hope those who have not tested the waters of social media app marketing have gained some insight into the opportunities that are available.