As we reflect upon another year coming to a close (seriously, how is it already over?), the marketing trends of 2015 confirm that strong social media marketing strategies are paramount to a brand’s success. Influence marketing in particular grew in popularity this year, as marketers all over the world realized the power of using human-to-human marketing to engage consumers around their brand. With the rise of influence marketing and social media-focused advertisements, it is no surprise that these following blogs were our top performers for 2015.

Take a look at our 10 must-reads of 2015 and learn how influencer marketing can work for your brand in 2016:

How to Calculate the Full Value of a Customer: LTV+ Influence

January 23rd, 2015

“Social” is sexy. Just about everyone from big firms down to your mother’s cousin’s sister’s husband’s best friend has some sort of tip, trick, secret, or strategy to directly drive sales, traffic, impressions etc.–with methods wildly varying in sophistication. And yet, most people (and brands for that matter), cannot fully grasp social value. It extends far beyond marketing ploys and tactics in attempts to amass clicks and impressions. It’s a crucial component of calculating the value of your customer.

There are actually two parts to calculating the full value of a customer. Currently, most marketers and business owners only focus on one because they can’t measure the other…

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4 Key Differences Between Social Influencers vs. Brand Ambassadors

January 28th, 2015

As major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest make strides in enabling both big and small businesses, social media marketing becomes an increasingly important focus. Combined with the sheer number of active users on each platform and the weight of each user’s influence upon their network’s buying decisions, brands are realizing that a more “social” approach is no longer a luxury, but a requirement. As a result, marketing agencies are beginning to recognize the importance of social influencers and are seeking ways to incorporate them into marketing tactics.

Brand ambassadors are comparable to the foot soldiers of a company’s marketing team–they work on a more immersed level with the public to get the brand’s messaging out. In this respect, brand ambassadors and social influencers seem to be the same thing… Is there a difference?

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Battle of the Brands: Cinco de Mayo Edition

May 5th, 2015

The 5th of May marks a historical Mexican victory that is, ironically, more celebrated in America than in Mexico. As more Americans join the festivities year after year, more brands join the marketing opportunities. We’re not here to recognize the brands that celebrate a single day of Mexican victory today. Today, we’re here to recognize the brands that celebrate a Mexican victory every single day.

Which brand has the most Facebook fans? What about the highest percentage of engaged fans? Read more to find out!

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How to Choose the Right Social Network for Influencer Marketing

June 23rd, 2015

While Americans spend more time on social networks than email and search networks combined, not all social networks are created equal. For the right fit, you have to consider several factors (such as feed consumption & filtering and search engine signals) as well as understand each social network’s advantages and disadvantages within marketing. Is Facebook the best channel for your marketing strategies? What about YouTube? You might need a hybrid of several in order to nail the campaign. Read more for a breakdown of what you need!

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How Much Marketers Spend on Influence Marketing

July 7th, 2015

Today’s marketing budgets range anywhere from $0 to several billion dollars. Currently, Samsung holds the crown for the largest marketing budget in history at $12 Billion. What could these brands possibly spend this much on? Well… a 30-second ad during this last Super Bowl cost an impressive $4.5 million. In 2004, Chanel spent a whopping $33 million to promote its leading perfume, Chanel No. 5, with a 2 minute commercial featuring Nicole Kidman. These marketing budgets cover the costs of ads, staff, content, and other promotional expenses. Many brands are investing in a less traditional type of marketing: influence marketing.

This year, 70% of marketers will spend more on social media ads than ever before. According to Adweek, 66% of marketers believe that social media is core to their business and also have a dedicated social media team to manage their networks. Not only is influence marketing more effective than traditional marketing, it’s less expensive. So just how much are marketers spending on influence marketing? Let’s take a look…

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The Rise of the Human Brand

August 10th, 2015

Think of your favorite brand.

What comes to mind: Is it the brand you keep seeing commercials from featuring a celebrity? Is it the brand that’s plastered all over town, from billboards to subway signs? Or is the brand that has made you feel something?

Think about this: our ties to technology have made it easier than ever to access, receive and rely on information that connects us to brands, products and each other. Despite our dependence on technology, we still expect and desire a human connection above all. As Dharmesh Shah, cofounder of HubSpot said, “Humans don’t buy from companies; humans buy from humans…”

So how is it that a brand can have this effect on a consumer? What are these brands doing to tap into the experience of what it means to be human? It’s in their messaging – or rather, their storytelling.

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2015’s Most Successful Movie Marketing Campaigns: Summer Blockbuster Edition 

August 11th, 2015

Since the successful release of JAWS in the summer of 1975, the film industry has tried to top itself every year with a new, highly-anticipated summer movie line-up. And movie-goers respond in masses, driving a huge $208 million to the film industry per opening weekend for their summer flick fix.  Summer 2015 was no different with a predicted $5 Billion in box office sales, with several mega films on the docket. How much of these successes are due to marketing savvy, and what really matters when it comes to getting ticket buyers in seats?

Based on our own analysis, here’s how well these summer blockbusters’ fans have engaged with these films over Facebook. Our top 3 picks are Jurassic World, Pitch Perfect 2, and Mad Max: Fury Road. Jurassic World blows all other films out of the park when it comes to fan engagement, but will it translate to box office sales? Below we examine the marketing strategies of seven blockbusters released this summer and note their opening weekend earnings…

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The New Marketing Mix

August 28th, 2015

We’ve already flipped the marketing funnel. It’s about time we shake up the marketing media mix. Below, we’ll go over the five traditional elements (TV, Digital, Print, Radio, Out of Home (OOH) & Influencers) and where they’re headed in this digital era. Then we’ll go over the newest element of the marketing media mix and how much marketers are pushing for its inclusion in their strategy. Here’s what’s on the track for this super hot new remix…

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[Study] 1M+ Instagram Posts and 2,000 Influencers Reveal Timing is Everything 

September 23rd, 2015

Instagram announced a major milestone earlier this week – 400 million users in the nearly five years since its launch. With this growth and the number of options now available for brands to engage this audience, it has become increasingly important to understand users’ behavior.

Since the launch of our Instagram Influencer Activation Engine beta program, we’ve analyzed more than one million Instagram posts. Our study revealed the most popular time to post on Instagram is midnight, with the highest volume of posts occurring on Thursdays. We also explored the behavior of 2,000 micro-influencers, or everyday people with an average of 500-5,000 followers across social networks, who are highly engaging around particular topics to identify follower-to-following correlations…

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Battle of the Brands: Halloween Editio

October 30th, 2015

Reese’s vs. Snickers, M&Ms vs. Skittles – the battle for Halloween candy domination is legendary. You don’t know where your friends’ loyalties really lie until they try to trade you a king-size KitKat for a mini Twix. Americans will hand out $2.1 billion dollars worth of candy this year. Everyone has their favorites, but which of these coveted candy brands reign supreme on Halloween?

Which candy has the most Facebook fans? Which one has the most brand engagement? Read more to find out!

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