BIG IDEA: Getting people talking about your product IS EVERYTHING today. The “Long Tail” means that finding high leverage points for getting the word out is more important than ever. Which is why influence is the hot topic. As you can see there is no shortage of opinions on influence. The majority of programs that market through influence have not operated at very large initial reach levels or been able to be sustained for more than weeks (e.g. Second Life, BzzAgent, Mobi programs) In other words, lots of big ideas being implemented on a small scale. Begs the question, where can influential consumers be found at scale and over long periods of time?
Before we focus on where to find influencers, lets step back for a second. As I said previously, influencer is a hot topic. It’s important but what is it? What do people mean by influence? How can it be measured? Sounds like it is rare… Why would anyone give someone else advice? What fuels it? Advice is about information and engagement and last I checked, we’re all about that… So how can I talk about how we power those conversations?
How do you go about researching influence? It is hard to research it when there is still a lot of discussion around defining it. As influence is still being understood, we took an exploratory approach to better understand the nature of influence and how we fit into the process. Partnered with an independent 3 rd party research firm, Reality Check, to develop our approach. They have been focused on this topic for CPG and Beverage marketers. (Kraft, Marketing, Purina) Our approach included quantitative survey work, in-depth interviews and investigation of media consumption Email survey to registered users Over 12,000 people surveyed 37 in-depth interviews Site analytics Our first goal was to get to know those who know CNB brands – how influential are they? We added a comparison group based on portal brand usage for the topic areas that our leading brands serve. This means we could look at users from our brands vs those who don’t know our brands and get a view of influence. TAKE AWAY: Exploratory research that now lets us frame the conversation with more credibility.
Let’s talk about fundamentals of influence. Kind of common sense, but your social network is made up of many different kinds of people….and when you parse them into these groups, you can begin to see how the networks change with size Think about who the typical moderately connected person is dealing with: Close friends (9) Casual friends (13) Neighbor (4) Adult Family members (7) Co-workers (19) Church / Civic Group (9) On average, the Moderately connected individual is communicating with this network on regular basis. (regular = 1x month or more)
Turns out….that growing influence is almost completely about growing the number of casual friends and co-workers you interact with. These “weak links” are well known to be the biggest leverage points for moving information on scale because they tend to be the connectors between networks…your family and close friends know many of the same things you do – the others are the opportunity… For the purposes of our research we looked at three buckets of people based on the size of their network with cut-off’s set by level of reported influence. They listed how many people they interact with each month and separately they told if they tend to give advice. Those in the “Less group” had 10 or fewer members in their network and more than half of them indicated that they did not tend to give advice. At the other end those with more than 100 members in their network, and more than 75% of them indicated that they tend to give advice. Take Away: want you to understand that there are varying degrees of connectedness. But this is just one dimension. You also need to look at how their connecting.
We’ve talked about moving information so let’s look how people are connecting. What’s interesting is the role of email. Enable larger more vibrant networks. Meeting dozens or hundreds of other people regularly cannot be done in real time effectively – sending email, forwarding links, photos and videos ramps the reach. Take-Away: Technology enables larger networks and more frequent communication in those networks. Q: Of people, you communicate with monthly, how many of the people in your network do you communicate with IM, Email, Text, Phone, face-to-face? Answer could say – email with more people than you text, phone or visit.
Show incidence 3 groups Interact differently Everyone emails Shakes out most people sit in the middle and moderately connected When think of influence visually…(transition to next board)
It’s not about a bell curve To date we have seen two strategies: find the very very few at the tippy top and treat everyone else like they don’t move messages. You can target the pundit and give everyone else a logo and a jingle. In reality, Diamonds are a marketers best friend Our findings put influence on a continuum with really very few people without influence and a very large group in the middle who have networks that connect to other networks that achieve real scale. BIG IDEA: Thinking that the only way to win in influence marketing is to look for some tiny group of mavens loses the tremendous opportunity to achieve scale with most of everyone else. Everyone is influential by degree. Take Away: Up front we talked about scale and sustainability. To gain scale you want to connect with large numbers of actively connected people meaning you need to go beyond the highly connected.
Turns out, people like to be needed and valued. And that many people we studied derived a lot of self-worth from helping their network. BIG IDEA: Influence is about having something worth sharing that members of your network thank you for and that makes you want to help again
It’s a balance between being asked for information and sharing information. Moderately and Highly connected individuals aren’t just waiting around to provide information they also actively seek it out. They take time to personalize the info based on the person they are sharing it with and their situation. This isn’t surprising when we think of the previous board and that providing info feeds their self worth and confidence. They want to be helpful and they want you to value their opinion. If they customize the info, it’s more valuable to the person and that individual provides positive feedback fueling the influencers self worth. Important to call out # of people in networks. Low connected only have 10 people so can only tell 10 people. But if have 50 people in network you can see the power of being connected.
It is human nature to have multiple interests. Contrary to some opinions, if you go to a tech site, that’s not all you care about. Everyone is well rounded. [call out numbers—10, 11, 11] People by nature like to discuss different topics. [share examples of those topics – autos, wine, etc] Measured 20 categories…the top 5 include: Technology and consumer electronics Electronics Wellness and healthy living Musice Television and films
I tend to read, watch or listen to almost everything in the media (i.e., TV, radio, internet, print, etc.) with a critical eye. 76% of highly influential strongly agree or agree I often share the information I find on the Internet with others. 73% of highly influential strongly agree or agree I only forward things I find online to specific individuals who I know for sure will be interested in them. 81% of highly influential strongly agree or agree
…so if it is not about being a know it all expert….how do these influential people tick? They rely on the one-two punch of finding unique places and communities where answers reside and know the differences between trustworthy material unique but unqualified OR qualified but not unique. Deliver on both cylinders and you get the critical ingredients to build enough confidence to open your mouth to tell someone else We build the brands that serve people and their passions - When we tell people about our content and communities in each passion area we scream unique. The fact that we have a rich heritage in making sure that our content can be trusted means that we are the wellspring – the fuel – the critical ingredient to product influence. BIG IDEA: Influence is not about targeting people…it is about targeting the places influential people go and participating in the information and community needs they have.
Cnet Networks Business Influencer Research
2007 Influencer Study A New Model for Influentials March 2007
Influence Is a Hot Topic It matters. It is not well understood.
<ul><li>What is influence? </li></ul><ul><li>How does it work? </li></ul><ul><li>What role do our sites play? </li></ul>
Approach <ul><li>Internet survey: January ’07 </li></ul><ul><li>CNET Networks Business sites: </li></ul><ul><li>Control Group: Use portals for Tech content </li></ul>
What Is a Personal Network for CNET Networks Business member? People you communicate with regularly Neighbors Adult family Co-workers Church/Civic groups Close friends Casual friends 9 7 13 4 19 9
Different People, Different Networks 11-99 Connections Average ~ 42 Moderately Connected Less Connected 10 or Fewer Connections Average ~ 6 Highly Connected 100+ Connections Average ~ 162 Casual friends Neighbors Adult family Co-workers Church/Civic Close friends
What Motivates Influence? Knowledge Confidence Influence Self-Worth
Flow of Information among CNB members PUSH PULL Less Connected Moderately Connected Highly Connected 56% 70% 74% “ Love to tell people about something new I’ve learned” 56% 70% 80% “ People ask my opinion and often follow my advice”
What Are They Talking About? Lots of Things. 11 11 10 Average # Topics of Interest Highly Connected Moderately Connected Less Connected
Emergence of the Sleuth <ul><li>Not an expert, but savvy at finding credible info </li></ul><ul><li>Enabled by the web </li></ul><ul><li>Often forwards links </li></ul>
In Their Own Words… Pete, CEO on 3 rd Tech Start Up Uses CNET and Tech Republic “ I would say influencing in a given week 20 to 30. Maybe more. Maybe 50. I think coming to me is maybe a little misleading because like I said I tend to put myself in the middle of these situations. I guess I get satisfaction out of it. Like I’m going through all of these different Web sites to get something for me but I tend to retain a lot of information and I just kind of sock it away. So when people present problems whether they directly ask or I just observe I want to put that puzzle together. I want to put that piece where it fits. I want to justify all of that time spent on the Web site.”
What Role Do CNET Networks Business Sites Play?
Unique “ Gives me information that most of my friends don’t have.”
Trusted “ I trust the information I find there more than on a lot of web sites .”
Builds Confidence “ Builds my confidence in my knowledge of things I am interested in.”
Feeds Influence “ I often find things I can't wait to share with other people. ”
<ul><li>A majority are interested in: </li></ul>CNET Networks Business Video Gaming <ul><li>Average personal network = 60 people </li></ul><ul><li>Asked advice on an average of 10 topics </li></ul>Tech/CE Music Wellness/Healthy Living Travel Money & Investing Restaurants Exercise/Fitness Cooking Cars and auto trends Outdoor Sports
What We Learned <ul><ul><li>What is influence practically speaking? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple categories of interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What motivates someone to influence another? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fuels emotional self-worth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Thrill of the hunt” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is CNET Networks role? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer unique information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be a trusted source </li></ul></ul>