You've heard the old saying by marketing pioneer John Wanamaker, "I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted...I just don't know which half." He's probably turning in his grave that it still applies even with the breadth and depth of social marketing data.
According to comScore's 2013 study, more than half of display ads-54 percent, to be exact-do not have the opportunity to be seen by a consumer. And not to kick you while you're down, but 62 percent of respondents in Gallup's latest survey on the state of consumers in America said social media marketing had zero influence on their purchasing behavior.
The first product Inside Social built was focused on growing the quantity and quality of brands' social audiences. Although their customers loved it, they wanted to know what masses of marketers have been wondering: what their fans and followers were actually worth. Were their social media efforts worthwhile? Did they do anything other than generate some brand awareness? Was it quantifiable? And particularly, was it quantifiable in terms of business metrics such as revenue?
"When we realized how mystified everyone was despite existing tools to measure and optimize social media, we knew there had to be a better way," Kotkins says. "We approached the problem from a 'business-first' angle, instead of a social-media-first angle, which gave us a massive leg up."
The pivot from helping their clients do what is best for their fan pages to helping them do what is best for their business has really resonated and served the Seattle-based startup well. The conversion-focused social measurement and marketing platform allows their customers' social media teams to do the best possible social marketing by connecting all of the social media activity to real business objectives.
"We help our clients identify the most influential people to their brand, the content that is the most effective when shared, and the social channels that are most efficient," says Kotkins. "What this looks like in practice is our customers know which content will work via paid and owned social marketing, which channels will deliver the highest ROI, and which customers they should be targeting to get the best possible lift in their social marketing. We also counsel them to focus on authenticity and empathy across their earned, owned, and paid strategies-because that's what resonates with customers."
For example, Inside Social can help an online shoe retailer know which pair of shoes to share to Pinterest and which influencers should know about the shoe promotion first. All of that data is sourced from the shoe retailer's organic customer sharing behavior. Then Inside Social shows its customers which shoes were shared, where they were shared, who shared them, and how effective the share was. This data is used to promote conversion-driving organic content and activate influencers in their campaigns.
Kotkins says the explosive growth of paid social is a macro trend on which they are betting, and believes their focus on utilizing earned social data to increase ROI in paid will make the startup an increasingly close friend of advertisers and social platforms.
While Inside Social exposes marketing opportunities to its customers, they soon plan to be direct facilitators of those actions. Whether it is through improved social posting, ad creation, or better ad targeting, Kotkins says they want to make those opportunities immediately actionable from within the platform.
Meanwhile, Inside Social is onboarding its customers to its brand-new reporting dashboard, which Kotkins says is as innovative as its technology. "Most data visualizations are clunky and challenging from a user experience perspective. We are extremely proud of the beauty of our visuals and how accessible it makes the insights."