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Are apps part of your social strategy?

4 min read

Digital Technology

Today’s Q-and-A is with Chris Cunningham , co-founder and CEO of appssavvy, who will speak at the nearly sold-out IAB Social Media Marketplace in New York on April 5.  At the IAB event, Chris will participate in an annual ritual: a session where social media experts pitch major marketers on what high-impact strategies the brands should put into play.

Chris, we won’t ask you to reveal your prospective pitch to GE, but are you nervous about the competition?

GE is, of course, one of the most respected companies in the world, and I welcome the challenge. Am I nervous? No. Having the opportunity to share our vision for social media fires me up. The moment to engage in social media is now. Not only can brand objectives be met around reach and earned impressions, but also the ability to benefit and enhance the user experience is incredible, and if we can share that in a debate and educate the industry, that’s the best outcome.

Given your expertise in sales, what ROI advice do you have for brands as they develop social media campaigns?

Forget about the click-through rate and other standard metrics. Brands and agencies need to think about social differently. The first questions should not be about ROI, they should be around what are people doing via social media. How can you be invited? How can your brand provide value? If you get that part right, you then need to understand what can be tracked. It may be useful to think about standard metrics as you do the roll on your dinner table. It’s nice to have, but is by no means the main course. We look at each campaign and create Key Performance Indicators. These range from interactions with branded virtual goods, to coupons and trial offers, to name just a few. Each campaign is measured differently.

How do social and mobile applications fit into the picture?

Apps are the cornerstone of appssavvy. We see apps as key to interacting with social media from a brand perspective. These creations, whether on Facebook, the iPhone or another emerging platform, provide great opportunities for brands to partner with a relevant audience. The key here, as we see it, is “partner.” Apps are not about building your own — leave that to the vast amount of really smart developers — but rather partnering with an existing, established app and audience, where you can join relevantly and add value. It is also important to view these channels as connected and not as silos.

Should small businesses be adding social applications to their marketing strategy?

Apps are for any company. A challenge, however, for small businesses, is they are not necessarily suited to traditional online marketing. Apps aren’t about banners and buttons, they are about joining the conversation the people using the app are having.

Give us an example or two of clients who have successfully utilized these targeted applications to reach diverse audiences.

A recent great example I’ve called, “The blockbuster social media campaign of 2009,” was for Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s Blu-ray and DVD release of “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp. We connected “Public Enemies” with the popular social game Mafia Wars. The campaign’s key performance indicators were a branded “Public Enemies” job, which upon completion unlocked “Public Enemies”-branded virtual goods. During the week-long campaign, more than 44 million jobs were completed and there were nearly 55 million interactions with virtual goods. Remarkable engagement.

Another example is the recent integration of fashion retailer H&M into the popular location-based iPhone game MyTown, played by nearly 1.5 million people. H&M engaged players checking-in at locations relevant to its stores, including retail, shopping center or female-centric venues such as spas with a campaign designed to generate brand awareness and encourage store visits. Check-ins were in the hundreds of thousands and H&M virtual good product images were delivered more than 10 million times during the two week campaign.