Tag Archives: ROI

American Apparel: “We’ve made as much as $50K in one flash sale on Twitter”

Twitter has proven itself to be a valuable marketing tool for edgy clothing brand American Apparel. In an interview recently posted on the Twitter blog, American Apparel’s Director of Marketing Ryan Holiday discusses a single flash sale on Twitter that earned $50,000 for the clothing brand.

Those are some pretty impressive numbers. Why does Twitter work so well for American Apparel?

Realtime Marketing Platform for a Realtime Brand

As a brand that creates, manufactures and sells its product on an ongoing basis, American Apparel considers itself a “realtime” brand and needs a marketing platform that can be used to continually highlight and push new products. This is quite different from the more traditional retail schedule that pushes out products each season, and in limited amounts.

Holiday told Twitter: “We’re not waiting to concentrate everything into one big media moment. Twitter functions really well with our manufacturing system because it is always on like we are, making new things.”

Consistently Engaging

With over 467,000 followers on Twitter, American Apparel is well-established on the platform, thanks to the brand’s commitment to engage users. Numbers have grown largely from organic growth, but also from the regular purchase of Promoted Tweets to push limited-time offers on Twitter; Holiday told AdWeek that follower numbers increased 40% from two years ago.

American Apparel on Twitter

In addition to regular posts (many including images) and flash sales, American Apparel also uses Vine on fairly regular basis, posting a new six-second video every week or two. “We use Twitter for announcements, giveaways, sharing photos, having contests, customer service—basically anything you can think of,” Holiday told AdWeek.

Images are a huge component for American Apparel’s tweets, generally filled with what AdWeek refers to as “sexualized imagery.” Nearly all the brand’s tweet in January included an image of some variety.

 Email Vs. Twitter

As it turns out, the two can work together for American Apparel.  Holiday told Twitter that “The best thing about Twitter is that it’s a short, immediate way to communicate with and reward our fans. With an email, you’ve got to spend time getting it coded, designed and tested. But on Twitter, we can get a message out, do a short flash sale or share a promo code instantly.”

Flash sales have been enormously successful for the brand, allowing short promotions (even for just an hour) that let the brand test and improve while discovering what consumers respond to.  Sales teams at American Apparel often leverage Twitter to meet goals or benchmarks, offering up a quick sale or free shipping to move the needle.

However, Holiday also revealed a new emphasis on Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards, which allow the brand to collect consumer emails via promotions. He told AdWeek that “Email is always going to be best medium to talk to your fans because it’s direct” and now Twitter can provide that data for brands (Facebook already offered a similar option.)

The brand is creating one or two lead generation campaigns per week on Twitter. These produced particularly strong results around Halloween, the brand’s busiest time of year:

  • one tweet/promotion around Halloween costumes led to 100 leads and 2% engagement rate
  • 50% of leads from these campaigns led to new emails (not previously in the brand’s database)
  • these leads had an average order value of $90, about 15% higher than normal average order value

Creating promotions to meet sales goals, focusing on visuals, marketing in realtime for a constantly evolving product, but also getting (good, old-fashioned) emails for direct promotions: Twitter is a platform for all these efforts from American Apparel, and they’re working.

Some final words of advice from Ryan Holiday: “You can embrace the benefits of the medium but you need your strategy to be aligned with what you do elsewhere.”  Could Twitter work for your brand in this way?

Social Networking Stats: 74% of Marketers Now Spend on Facebook Ads, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard: Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: 1.15 billion monthly active users via Facebook
YouTube over 1 billion monthly unique users via YouTube
Twitter: over 200 million monthly active users via Twitter
Qzone: 599 million monthly active users via TechCrunch
Sina Weibo: over 500 million users via The Next Web
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
VK: over 200 million registered users via VK
LinkedIn: 238 million active users via LinkedIn
Google Plus: 343 million monthly active users via GlobalWebIndex
Tumblr: 139 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 150 million users via Instagram
Vine: 40 million registered users via Vine
Tagged: 20 million unique monthly users via Tagged
Foursquare: 40 million users via CNET
Pinterest: over 25 million users via AdWeek
Reddit: 73 million monthly unique visitors via Reddit
WhatsApp: 200 million monthly active users via TechCrunch

Please email marissa@modernmedia.co if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.

74% of Marketers Now Spend on Facebook Ads [Survey]

Facebook advertisingA new survey from Advertising Age reveals that, over the last 15 months, “Facebook changed from an experimental channel where marketers were reluctant to invest deeply to a mature part of the mix where they’re continuing to increase spending.”  While 80% or more of respondents have consistently named Facebook as a marketing channel, advertising on the social network has seen a big increase. A significant portion of this uptick may be due to the introduction of Facebook’s mobile ad offering.

Here are the numbers to back it up:

  • 74% of respondents now spend on Facebook ads (an increase from 62% in January 2012 and from 54% in June 2012)
  • 43% of respondents reported that their ROI on Facebook had “dramatically” or “somewhat” improved during the last six months (vs. 48% who said it hadn’t changed, and 9% who said it had deteriorated)
  • around 75% said that marketing on Facebook’s mobile app was “very” or “somewhat” important, compared to 67% in January
  • 38% of respondents said ROI of Facebook’s mobile and desktop ads were “about the same” (35% percent said mobile ads performed better, 27% chose desktop ads as the top performer)
  • 56% of respondents expect their Facebook ad budgets to increase over the next year
  • 64% of respondents reported that they buy their Facebook ads directly from the social network; the rest buy through an ad agency (22%) or an ad-tech vendor (14%)

Respondents were also asked to rank online advertising sites in order of importance; Facebook ranked second, just behind Google.

The survey, conducted in conjunction with RBC Capital Markets, polled 1,200 Ad Age subscribers in August; it is the third such study since June 2012. Survey respondents identified themselves as marketers or clients (26%), ad agency employees (30%), and the remainder as media company employees or consultants.

39% of SMBs See ROI From Social Media, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard:  Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: 1 billion active users via Facebook
Twitter: over 500 million users via Twopcharts
Qzone: 599 million monthly active users via TechCrunch
Sina Weibo: over 400 million users via Yahoo
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
VK: over 190 million users via VK
LinkedIn: 200 million active users via LinkedIn
Google Plus: 135 million monthly active users via Google
Tumblr: 104 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 100 million users via Instagram
Tagged: 20 million unique monthly users via Tagged
Foursquare: nearly 30 million users via Adweek
Pinterest: over 25 million users via AdWeek
Reddit: 63 million monthly unique visitors via Reddit

Please email marissa@modernmedia.co if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.

39% of Small Businesses See ROI From Social Media

A new survey by Manta of over 1,200 small businesses owners reveals that 39% are seeing a return on investment for social media efforts.  While that means over 60% aren’t directly seeing ROI from social media, small businesses are continuing to invest more in social media activities.

The highlights from Manta’s Small Business Wellness Index:

  • 49% of small businesses have increased the amount of time they are investing in social media (compared to one year ago)
  • 32% are investing the same amount of time 
  • only 7% decreased the amount of time they spend on social media
  • 74% of small businesses have at least one person dedicated to social media activities
  • 26% plan to invest dollars in online advertising/marketing/social media in Q2 2013; vs. only 12% that plan to invest in traditional marketing, and 2% in mobile

Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta, says that “As SMBs shift from the experimental stage to a results-focused phase, their social media usage will evolve to maximize the value.”

When trying to learn more about social media for their business, the most popular place for owners to look was online (36%).  Only 18% of small business owners sought help from third party experts.

One surprising fact from the study: Facebook was listed (by 18%) as the social media platform that was “most difficult to maintain.”  However, it’s not clear how many of those surveyed were active on each platform.

A portion of the infographic from Manta’s study:

SMB on Social Media Survey - Manta infographic

52% of B2C Marketers Plan To Increase Social Marketing Budgets in 2013

The vast majority – 70% – of B2C marketers are moderately to highly engaged in social media, followed closely by 63% of B2B marketers, according to Webmarketing123’s new “State of Digital Marketing 2012 Report.”  The report examines lead generation, marketing budgets, and measurement of ROI for both B2B and B2C marketers using social media in the US.

The report found that 52% of US B2C marketers and 41% of US B2B marketers planned to increase their social marketing budgets in 2013, while an additional 46% of B2C and 56% of B2B marketers will keep them the same (eMarketer).

B2B and B2C marketers are spending their social media budgets in different ways.  The majority (65%) of B2C marketers spend money on Facebook, vs. only 40% of B2B marketers.  Nearly four in ten (39%) of B2C marketers spend money on Twitter, vs. only 30% of B2B marketers.  LinkedIn, however, sees a significantly higher spend from B2B marketers (39%) than from B2C marketers (only 23%).

But can marketers tell if that spending is effective? Four in ten (40%) of marketers reported they are unable to measure the impact of social media.  But working with an agency generally led to better results: marketers working with an agency were twice as likely (21%, vs 10% for in-house) to be satisfied with the performance of their social media program performance.

The report also revealed that the percent of marketers who generated leads from specific social media platforms corresponded fairly closely to the percent of marketers spending on those platforms.  Two-thirds (67%) of B2C marketers generated leads from Facebook, 43% generated leads from Twitter, and only 21% generated leads from LinkedIn.  For B2B marketers, LinkedIn generated the most leads (44%), vs only 39% for Facebook and 30% for Twitter.

In terms of generating sales, 39% of B2C marketers did so with Facebook, 19% generated sales from Twitter, and only 9% did so from LinkedIn.  For B2B marketers, 23% generated sales from LinkedIn, 19% from Facebook, and 14% from Twitter.

Check out the full infographic from Webmarketing123 below, or download the full study here:


2012 State of Digital Marketing Report - SEO company, Webmarketing123

Klout ROI? Chevy Campaign Nets “1 Confirmed Purchase”

In November of 2011, Chevy used Klout to promote the Chevrolet Sonic compact car in five different cities, loaning the car to 130 consumers with a Klout score of 45 or above.  The promotion target consumers influential in topics like music, technology, adventure and travel, and ran in Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Atlanta and Dallas.

The results?  16,000 positive consumer mentions on social media, three requests to take advantage of a special discount, and one confirmed purchase, according to MediaPost.

Chevy seems satisfied with the results of its Klout-based campaigns.   Last week, the brand launched its latest Klout campaign, offering influencers a three-day loan of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, the auto-maker’s plug-in hybrid electric car.  The Volt campaign targets Klout influencers with a score of 50 or better in technology-, social media- and  environment-related topics who live within a 30-mile radius of Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.  The campaign will move to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland from July through September.  Since the campaign was first reported in Venturebeat on April 9, however, the advertised eligibility requirements have changed to “Klout scores above 40,” not 50 as originally reported.

According to a Klout spokesperson quoted in the Venturebeat story, “[Car-related perks] are definitely among the most popular perks we’ve had with Klout, and previous Chevy Perks have done very well.”

The Realtime Report's Guide to Influence Measurement Tools

What do you think?

With Klout Perks campaigns rumored to cost $25,000 and up, not including the cost of the samples or test drives, do you see an ROI in a return of 16,000 positive mentions and 1 confirmed purchase of a car listed at a starting price around $13,865?


To learn more about influence measurement tools, check out The Realtime Report’s Guide to Influence Measurement Tools, our detailed analysis of personal and contextual influence measurement tools.

Top Social Media Business Benefits: Exposure, Traffic and Market Insights

Social Media Examiner has released its fourth annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, with data based on responses from 3800 marketers.  The survey was promoted via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so the population is likely to skew toward early adopters of social media marketing, and 79% of participants are from companies with less than 100 employees.  Keeping that in mind, it’s interesting to look at some of the trends — and to compare them to results from the same survey conducted last year:

  • 83% of respondents agreed that social media is “important for their business” — compared to 90% last year.
  • The top business benefit of social media marketing is generating more business exposure (85% — similar to the 88% who cited this in 2011), followed by increasing traffic (69% — 72% last year) and providing market insights (65%).  Last years number 3, improved search rankings, has dropped from 62% to 55%.   40% say that social media has helped them to improve sales.
  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and YouTube were the top five social media tools used by marketers.  40% of respondents are using Google+, which is also the top tool that respondents want to learn more about.
  • This year, a big focus will be on measurement and targeting:  40% of respondents want to know how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of social media, and how to find customers and prospects.
  • Social media takes time:  The majority of marketers (59%) of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week, unchanged from last year’s 59%.  One-third invest 11 or more hours weekly.  Compared to last year, more experienced social media users are spending less time with social media: only half of marketers with more than 3 years experience are spending 10 or more hours each week on social media, down from 63% in 2011.  But they’re still investing more time than those who are just starting out.
  • 30% of marketers outsource some portion of their social media efforts–about the same as last year’s 28%.
  • Marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube/video (76%), Facebook (72%), Twitter (69%), blogs (68%), Google+ (67%) and LinkedIn (66%).

The findings varied by company size and by the amount of social media experience of the respondents.  Click here to check out the complete report:  http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-marketing-industry-report-2012/.

What are the top business benefits you’re getting from social media?

Social Media ROI: 24% of Marketers Track Increased Revenues

Most marketers agree that social media provides business value and helps increase  brand awareness, according to a fall 2011 survey of 700 marketers worldwide by social media marketing software company Wildfire Interactive–88% agreed with that statement.  Other social media business benefits include engagement (85%), an increase in sales or partnerships (58%) and reduced costs (41%).

When it comes to measuring ROI, the largest percentage (38%) measure interactions with consumers: the number of fans or followers, likes, comments, etc.  One in four tracks increases in revenue, and 15% track increases in brand awareness from social media marketing activities.

Of those that did not have a strict ROI measurement in place–measuring the increased value against the cost of the investment–100% still believe that social media delivers business benefits.

Most marketers (94%) still rank Facebook as a top channel,  followed by Twitter (74%), blogs (41%) and LinkedIn (32%).  Google Plus was not yet on the radar at the time this survey was fielded.  Why do marketers value Facebook fans?  44% said the reason was new customer recruitment; 18%  suggested that Facebook fans have higher conversion rates and make more frequent purchases.

See more stats from this study in this Wildfire infographic.

How close are you to being able to track a return on investment from social media?

The 5 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2012

The Social Media Monthly's January issue cover

=== This article originally appeared in the January issue of The Social Media Monthly, the first print magazine focused on social media, and we are publishing it here in 2 parts (Part 1:  The 5 Biggest Stories in Social Media from 2011) with permission from Bob Fine.  Until March 1, you can support the Social Media Monthly on Kickstarter and get a discounted subscription and other fun rewards. ===

Social media now accounts for 22% of all the time that we spend online. So how did we spend that time in 2011?  And how will that change in the next year?  Here are the top trends to watch in 2012.

1.    Social + Local + Mobile

SoLoMo may be the latest $10 acronym, but there’s no question that the ability to reach and influence consumers at the point of purchase offers tantalizing benefits—to you and your competitors.  The potential reach is massive:  77% of the world’s population is a mobile subscriber; many of them are mobile-only users, and increasingly they’re using their devices for banking, travel, shopping, and local info, in addition to getting news, playing games, social media, maps and music.  Connect that to a slew of new shopping and m-commerce apps, the ability to link mobile apps to loyalty programs, coupons and more, and we will see an explosion of innovation and growth in this area.

2.    The Rise of the BrandGeek: Marketers Learn to Spell API

Yes, the role of marketers is changing—and has been for a while. But now businesses have an enormous opportunity to connect digital conversations with real-world business value, and marketers are at the vanguard. Whether it’s crowd-sourcing your next ad campaign, thinking of your next car model as a user interface, or building a custom application into your next restaurant opening, marketers will be driving a level of innovation that is more commonly associated with the tech industry. 

3.    Will Privacy Issues Put the Brakes on the Social Web?

Privacy concerns have been part of the conversation around social media since the beginning, but expect to see these conversations get louder as the more platforms begin to share personal data about their users with other third-party applications. Facebook now tracks its users across the web via its Open Graph platform; companies like Klout have come under fire for automatically creating user profiles for users that have never opted in to the site.  If users feel that they are being taken advantage of in ways that are creepy and unethical, they’ll start sharing less information to protect themselves and their families. Marketers and tech companies need to step carefully, or they risk slowing or reversing the rate of adoption.

4.    Social Music:  The Music Industry Gets Disrupted (Again).

What’s the first piece of content you shared with your friends?  If you’re my age, odds are it was a playlist, recorded from the radio or your record player onto a cassette, and then copied, one at a time, for your best friends. Nothing is more natural than sharing music with your friends, and the record industry has lost its fight against digital downloads to the iPod.  While social media has always played a big role in connecting music, bands and live performances with bands, we’re now in a new era of social-centric music sharing apps that is moving the industry from a pay-per-tune model to a subscription model, and from digital music to social music.  The Spotify-Facebook integration is one big step, Google Music launched with integrated social sharing, and a plethora of mobile apps designed to let users share and discover music are launching or attracting significant funding.  Expect to see a huge wave of innovation—and industry shake-ups—driven by social music.

5.    The Shine Is Off. So Does It ROI?

Facebook opened its platform to all users 13 and older in 2006; Twitter launched in July of that year.  The social and realtime web is now 5 years old and touches hundreds of millions of consumers every day—yet many business executives and marketers still struggle to understand how it adds measurable value to the bottom line.  In the next year, social media professionals need to shift from being ambassadors and evangelists, to earning a seat at the table as a serious business tool.  Social media is going to play an integral role in every company’s marketing, customer service, research and product development strategy.  In the coming year, the industry as a whole will need to grow up, become more professional, and move beyond the focus on what can be measured (followers, Klout scores, etc.) to connect social media to the things that must be measured: customer wins, revenue and profits.

Read Part 1 of the article: The 5 Biggest Stories in Social Media from 2011.

Social Media ROI: Ads Provide a Big Return for KFC

KFC Social Media Presence Sees Real ROI KFC, the fried chicken restaurant franchise founded by Colonel Sanders, has fully embraced social media activity. And it’s paying big dividends. A study by Ogilvy found that consumers who were exposed exclusively to social media ads for KFC were seven times more likely to spend more than the average consumer.

However, this impressive statistic doesn’t come from a strict corporate focus on social media ROI.  Instead, Rick Maynard, manager of public relations at KFC, says the social media team isn’t required to prove a return on investment. Maynard said the company doesn’t spend much time trying to calculate the value of its 3.4 million fans on Facebook or nearly 44,000 followers on Twitter, but he believes the use of social media to cultivate relationships with customers “has a real business output.”

Rather than focusing on social media ROI, the goals of the corporate social media team – which is managed internally – are:

  • to connect and engage with KFC followers
  • cultivate relationships
  • respond to any inquiries
  • have some fun – ex. asking questions on the KFC Facebook page, like “There’s one piece of chicken left in the bucket. What do you do?”

KFC fans are more than willing to respond, and sometimes even initiate brand interaction. Maynard said the Colonel – who passed away quite some time ago – receives marriage proposals and has been invited to weddings. While he could not make those celebrations, of course, the company sent buckets of chicken for the reception. Fans also tweet photos to the company showing off their Colonel Sanders tattoos.

Product introductions from KFC always incorporate an element of social media, according to a recent post from SmartBlog on Restaurants.  That ranges from a $20,000 college scholarship contest on Twitter to the launch of KFC’s Double Down sandwich. Thousands of people commented about the sandwich launch on Facebook, others used Twitter to arrange group visits to restaurants to sample it, and dozens created YouTube videos of people trying the new sandwich.

KFC is clearly engaging fans through social media; is there any need for a deeper focus on ROI, or a way to measure that engagement?  Maynard said “It’s a very important customer-service element, and that’s enough for us.”  Do you agree?

62% of CMOs Believe Social Marketing Will “Eventually” Produce ROI

While social media marketing may not currently produce the results that CMO’s are looking for, the majority are confident that it will produce ROI at some point in the future.  Marketing Sherpa asked more than 750 CMOs “Which statement best describes how you perceive social marketing’s ability to produce a return on investment (ROI) at budget time?”

The results:

  • 62% believe that social marketing is a promising tactic that will ‘eventually produce ROI’ and are willing to invest in it ‘conservatively’
  • 20% say social marketing ROI is already a reality, they will continue to invest in this channel
  • only 3% say it is “unlikely to produce ROI”

While Cynthia Boris of Marketing Pilgrim expects survey respondents to “agree that social media ROI is like using a pedometer to find out how far I walked in my dreams,” the data shows significant optimism regarding the power of social marketing.