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Webinar - Q & A - Monetizing Social Media

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Here are the questions submitted by attendees of the Monetizing Social Media: Proven Strategies for Driving Revenue and New Customer Acquisition We hope you find them helpful!


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Q. (Regarding the calculator) Do you use industry standard response rates or are they customized for each client?
A. Ryan Deutsch: The calculator is based on two real metric assumptions. Half the assumptions come from the client, so if you are seeding via email or via the website, we use your own metrics (for example your website visits, average click-thru rates, and impressions for the top end of the funnel). And the same applies for your emails such as your delivery rates, how many emails you have, your typical clicks and open rates. We’re sharing mechanisms because very few people are doing incentive, motivated A/B split test-types in viral programs. That's where you use our benchmark data. We didn't make it up. It is nine months worth of rolling data but that's how we use the data to help build out the calculations.

Q. How realistic is it for an industry that is highly regulated to participate in social media if every marketing piece we have requires a paragraph-long disclaimer? Is it even feasible?
A. Ryan Deutsch. That is a great question. I will say we work with a number of financial services and businesses, very large ones in fact, that are currently running programs on this platform. The key is transparency. I've spent a long time in and around compliance, the changes, and the way things are working as well as the legal aspects. So if you are incenting a program be transparent about the incentive. Make sure your customers and their customers know in the campaign flow that they are being incented to share the brand message. It’s rewarding everyone in the chain to be part of it. That's absolutely critical. Every element of the Social Influencer product has terms and conditions and privacy policies that are directly accessible from the experience. We've had customers go as far as in their actual body copy of the message to refer to our terms and conditions and privacy policies that it's a social campaign and it might be new. The system allows all the legal aspects to be presented but from a marketing and creative standpoint it still needs to be transparent.

Q. In the Mint or Zecco cases, can the Influencer add a personal message to the canned one that is Tweeted on his behalf or put on his/her FaceBook wall?
A. Ryan Deutsch: Yes. In fact in the sharing experience you can personalize the message in all of the channels: FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, whatever you are doing. The personal message can be included. What's fun in FaceBook is that you can actually go further and upload your own content and other unique elements from a FaceBook perspective. The experience is absolutely customizable and we also provide flexibility on how all the content is presented. There are things you can turn off or turn on to make sure the sharing experience is in much brand compliance as possible.

A. Kerry Morris: It's important to realize that social behavior is going to happen anyway. Consumers are going to tell their friends. The important thing is that the technology doesn't get in the way of what consumers already want to do. It's important to make sure that the program is designed with minimal friction so if you want to add comments you can and it fits with the natural consumer behavior.

Q.  Is Social Influencer a tool that resides on your server or the customer's server?
A. Ryan Deutsch: Great question. It's a service. It's an on-demand service and the experience resides in a hosted environment on the Equifax side of the house, not on the customer's own infrastructure. I will say the web experience and one of the values of the sharing—and we didn't get into all the specifics of the tool today—is that the brand has the opportunity to put Java script and other things on its own web pages so the entire sharing experience happens within the web environment. Your consumer doesn't have to jump off to a third party—such as a FaceBook or a Twitter for example to share. It keeps the consumer in and around your experience or brand which is critical.

Q. Do you have any experience with consumer magazine subscriptions using this tool?
A. Ryan Deutsch: We do as a matter of fact. The critical issue in and around consumer magazine—and I will use subscription magazines as an example—is that we have to figure out the monetization value of the program. My experience with magazines subscriptions is to determine the value of each new customer. If it's a significant number we've had some great experience with publishing. We've also worked with some publishers where the value of the subscription is very, very low so the ability to market and to try and drive new acquisitions is limited from a budget perspective. If the value of each additional subscriber is calculated and communicated in the right way we've found some very interesting things. I'll tell you why specifically: There's a lot of content. Magazines, especially consumer-driven magazines in publishing, have a lot of opportunity to drive a lot of content. You can do anything from polls to surveys to quizzes, and it can be a lot of fun for the consumer to share. If the program is run right we've had some good experiences.

Q. Did simply launch a site survey to ask who among their users would be interested in sharing their Mint experience? If not, how did they find out?
A. Ryan Deutsch: The survey actually went out via email (i.e. an email-based survey) that they communicated to their clients. They run a very successful email program. Their frequency is really solid so they have the ability and flexibility to send out surveys to their engaged customers at the appropriate frequency. So it was an email-based survey that drove those results.

A. Kerry Morris: And of course there is another way you can go about this as Ryan alluded to. We are doing some exploring around analytical solutions where you can model and score to predict those people who might be most likely to refer. There's a lot of great ways you can get at the referral behavior.

A. Ryan Deutsch. That is a great point. One of the cool things that Equifax is doing is the constant look-alikes. Once you launch one of these Influencer referral programs and you see certain members of your customer database sharing, you start to ask “Who else fits that model? Who else has a propensity to share?” and try to drive that model. A lot of this is done in the innovative way you launch campaigns, especially in a viral program that is ongoing way and allows you to get that learning and data.

Q. What is the difference between StrongMail Social Influencer and Equifax Social Influencer?
A. Ryan Deutsch: StrongMail's Influencer product is a solution that StrongMail offers the market. It's without data. StrongMail is not a data company and we don’t provide sophisticated data enhancement, targeting, and other types of insight information to our customer base. What we did when we created Equifax Social Influencer is that we really created an integrated product around the front-end targeting and then the backend execution and deployment. So the technology I showed you that and Zecco are using is the same technology that StrongMail Social Influencer has but what's missing is the difference between the offerings such as the data element and the front-end work that goes with the program. So with our partners whenever we have the data element that we go after, we always tell the story the same way: target and motivate. It never changes. We ended up working with Equifax on a number of opportunities where they originated with StrongMail Influencer but we bring in the data and brought in the application.

Q. What software or customer demographic data is Equifax adding?
A. Kerry Morris: If you think about it, there are four types of data that we typically bring with these campaigns. One is basic demographics such as, age and marital status for example. A big one is financial status: Things around credit usage; income; do you have money to spend; is your household under some kind of financial stress. Also what is the financial dynamics of your household? That is the second one. The third group is around purchases and lifestyles. That involves what you buy and what your hobbies and interests are. The fourth one is life events: Recent change(s) in your life such as a change of a job, a new job, or a new child. I'll add a fifth as well which is focused around CRM data. We'll have clients who'll take our data and bring it together with their CRM data, such as what their customers are purchasing and their history, and we put some analytics together.

A. Ryan Deutsch: A great example of that is the automotive industry. I am a Toyota guy. I've owned 8 Toyotas. I've never owned a car other than a Toyota since I left college. Let's say Toyota was going to run a social program. By them appending purchase history and purchase data and lifecycle data, knowing that I am a customer, I can be identified as a phenomenal advocate versus someone that doesn't have that level of information who they should be reaching out to advocate on their behalf. So I really do believe that the targeting Kerry was referring to is critical to really exceed these types of metrics that you are seeing in some of these case studies.

Q. On average, how long do you track results for each offer and over what time period? One week or four weeks?
A. Ryan Deutsch: That's a very good question. I would say it's much more towards four weeks. It's not like email where you get that spike in delivery and it goes on after 24 or 48 hours depending on the time of week it's sent. The long tail of these programs we see can run anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks so we tend to track out that far. You do see a spike as you go through generational sharing. You see decent sharing in the first generation, the highest repeat sharing from the second generation sharing of participants, and then it starts to die out in the third, fourth and fifth generation of a specific campaign. That's why the tracking technology is critical and that's why tracking without Influencer is very difficult.

Q. Is there a minimal organization size required for Equifax to work with a client?
A.Kerry Morris: A lot of it comes down to the fact that it’s not so much organization size as it is the value of the new customer and the ROI you expect. Clearly if you are selling products that cost $1 dollar per piece it's going to be tough for you to justify 50 million clients unless you have a lot of volume. It has be something to make the ROI work. So on a case-by-case basis, it really depends on the value of your product more so than the sheer size of your company.

Q. In your presentation it’s focused on B2C, is there a model for B2B?
A. Ryan Deutsch: Absolutely. B2B marketers were one of the first serious adopters of social media especially when you think about blogs and communities and how those appeared in the technology market earlier on. Certainly from StrongMails' standpoint (based on the case studies we presented) we have a certain penchant in B2C as that's where our product launched. But as Kerry said, B2B has a much smaller audience but a much more valuable transaction value. With a B2B market, you have a lot of folks who like to talk to each other. I haven't been in a B2B purchase cycle where folks didn't require a referral or some other communication. We're actually engaged with a number of B2B companies and there is an application but I think there is a slightly higher burden on identifying the right motivator. How do you incentivize the B2B buyer because it is different than incentivizing the consumer?

A. Kerry Morris: Absolutely true. I read a great analyst report a few months ago that talked about social media usage among B2B technology buyers specifically. And the majority of them—in the neighborhood of about 60% or so—actually use social media in shopping for new services. It's absolutely relevant and it's a matter of getting the motivator right.

Here are some additional questions we couldn't address during the allotted time for the webinar:

Q. What are your suggestions for industries that aren't allowed to offer incentives, awards, discounts and the like to attract customers?
A. Ryan Deutsch: Almost all businesses have something of value they can offer their customers. As we discussed in the presentation, incentives are not always monetary in nature. In fact, some of the most successful programs we have seen leverage non-monetary incentives such as access to exclusive content or status rewards like inviting an influencer to post guest blogs on a corporate website.

Q. With all the awareness of Internet security do you find that customers are hesitant to enter their FaceBook or Twitter credentials (password) on a page that is not actually related to FaceBook or Twitter?
A. Ryan Deutsch: No, we see little drop off in the workflow. In fact, the easier the integration is the more activity we see.

Q. How do you track 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation referrals in FaceBook, Twitter, etc.? Is there a code in the link that is initially shared by the primary influencer?
A. Ryan Deutsch: No, in order to join a program and refer friends, influencers must first submit their email address. This enables us to capture an opt-in to the program and track the influencers.

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