InsightPool vs Traackr: Who Does Influencer Marketing Better?

Highwire Labs reviews the best in social influencer tools

 

In recent months, Highwire has seen increasing interest in influencer marketing and engagement from clients. While we currently use a platform called BuzzSumo to track influencers, we thought it could be time to kick the tires on other similar platforms.

The Highwire Labs team diligently looked into two of the leading influencer marketing solutions: Traackr and InsightPool. Here’s what we found:

Traackr

Traackr was founded in 2009 to serve as search engine for people in PR/marketing to discover influencers for a particular audience. Whether looking for influencers in “Big Data”, “Internet of Things”, “Future of Work” or “Artificial Intelligence”, theoretically, Traackr should be able to identify them in its platform.

Traackr has a stylish UX and looks a little like Tweetdeck on steroids. Agencies can use it for their system of record to track influencer engagement, determine share of voice and easily identify the number of interactions. The service features reach and relevance scores for influencers, and is platform agnostic so one social media platform isn’t prioritized over others.

The major con with Traackr is its price point. This is an extremely pricy piece of software that costs thousands of dollars annually for a subscription — all without so much as a trial period. Additionally, the baseline option allows for only three campaigns. Hard pass from these PR professionals.

Pros

  • Ability to track engagement and interactions
  • Share of voice metrics
  • Manual influencer profile upload
  • Manipulated search results in order to find the best fit, whether it’s by largest audience or an influencer’s reach

Cons

  • Price point and lack of trial option
  • Not user-friendly or intuitive – requires training
  • Sweet spot is B2B tech although Traackr works with consumer companies

physical web of influencersPhoto credit: Getty Images

 

InsightPool

Claiming to be the world’s largest social influencer database, InsightPool certainly didn’t disappoint in our initial demo. The company analyzes everything from social audiences and email database exports to uncover influencers and brand advocates that are most appropriate for client campaigns. What’s more, the platform allows users to sign up for a free trial before fully committing (Full disclosure: we’ve already signed up for two demos, both of which were able to meet specific goals outlined by our client).

Its user interface is easy to navigate, with cool features including scheduled social interactions, contact uploads and engagement monitoring. Once an influencer engages with you over social, you’ll also receive a notification in which you can schedule strategic responses via Twitter or Instagram. For example, after you receive a follow from a top target, you have the ability to slide into those DMs to personally thank them for being a fan of your content.

InsightPool also provides a unique social ranking system that ensures each and every influencer is right for your campaign. To do so, the platform scores each influencer in its platform using data sciences to determine true influence, including: Reach, Resonance and Relevance.

If we had to give it one critique, it would be its inability to easily compare share of voice among targeted influencers. While its segmentation feature provides analysis on what influencers are talking about, which brands are impacted and how their social network impacts your campaign, it could be presented a lot more clearly.

Pros

  • Influencer segmentation
  • Scheduled social engagements
  • Full-service trial period
  • Simple user interface

Cons

  • No SOV tracking
  • Complex presentation of analysis

Highwire Labs’ Take

If your clients are asking about influencer campaigns, get onboard with InsightPool — The free trial period should be enough to take care of any one-off campaigns. But consider making the investment if influencer marketing is increasingly being requested by clients.

Not only is the platform extremely user-friendly, the smart influence algorithms do a great job segmenting influencers, and its annual cost is significantly lower than that of its competitor. Believe the hype.

WINNER: InsightPool

 

Post co-authored by Haley Rodriguez, Account Associate, San Francisco

Haley Rodriguez is an account associate in Highwire’s San Francisco office primarily supporting consumer technology clients. She graduated from California State University, Chico with a degree in journalism and has experience in social media management, news production and copy editing.

Technology and PR: Why is PR So Far Behind Marketing?

The marketing technology landscape has been rapidly expanding over the past five years. In fact, Scott Brinker’s annual Martech Landscape Infographic shows more than a 2000 percent increase in marketing technology vendors since 2011. Yet, the PR section of his report remains relatively unchanged. What’s up with that?

I put this question to Altimeter Group marketing technology analyst (and the first writer to outline the battle field for the marketing cloud wars), Omar Akhtar.

“Tech is always ahead of people and PR happens to be an industry that’s dominated by people and relationships,” says Omar. “Technology has helped streamline and facilitate conversations but automation has been out of the question. However, it’s only a matter of time.”

Marketing Tech Landscape logo collage

Bottom left: PR’s slice of the marketing technology landscape as of 2016

The new era of measurement

According to Omar, measurement is generally the easiest problem for technology to solve in PR. It’s inevitable that the PR industry will be affected in the same way that advertising and marketing measurement has been overhauled.

Companies like TrendKite and AirPR are leading the charge when it comes to PR measurement technology and have been able to reduce time spent reporting by almost 75 percent (According to TrendKite research).

“Technology has led to smarter teams doing higher value work, with much of the drudgery now automated,” says Russ Somer, VP of Marketing at TrendKite.

He goes on to cite a recent presentation from the communications director at a major domestic airline who talked about allowing two days to turn around simple coverage reports and four days to deliver coverage reports with analysis.

“I felt like going up on stage to let her know that her measurement problems were over. Many leaders in PR don’t even realize that these tasks can be automated to the level in which we are doing it.”

Though not yet fully automated—TrendKite and other similar platforms still require customization of search terms to filter out low value media hits—the potential for artificial intelligence to essentially learn which coverage is of value to the company and which articles can be discarded will make instant reporting and analysis par for the course within the next couple of years.

These new measurement platforms are also starting to close the loop and show actions taken from articles. For example, being able to see how many website visits or sign ups are being driven by each piece of earned media.

According to Rebekah Iliff, AirPR’s chief strategy officer, PR’s legacy has been in surface-level metrics like impressions and advertising value equivalency (AVE), but digging deeper into the data can lead to insights for leadership and more effective PR programs.

“For example, a New York Times article might get thousands of eyeballs but fail to spark action with the target audience, while a smaller blog might drive a ton of sign ups and website visits,” explains Iliff. “Advanced analytics gives you the ability to see which outlets are generating better business outcomes so you can be more strategic in pitching media, investing resources to create stories for outlets that move the needle.”

Beyond metrics

Outside of measurement, it can be difficult to imagine how technology will be applied to an industry that relies so heavily on relationships and customized engagement. But one person wrestling with this is Joel Andren, CEO and founder of PitchFriendly.

Described by Andren as CRM for PR people, PitchFriendly helps PR professionals build lists and manage outreach in a similar way to Vocus/Cision, but rather than exporting lists it encourages teams to send pitches from within the app. Pitch templates can be put into the application with placeholders left for customization. Additionally, the system automatically flags media who have recently received pitches, and double-ups.

According to Andren, the company is integrating machine learning to automatically suggest media targets for a pitch based on the content of the pitch and analysis of recent articles by writers.

“Cision and Meltwater are all the same and, as a PR person, they don’t make you any better at your job. In marketing, the first technology is always about proving ROI. We are now building on this base layer of technology to improve how PR is executed,” says Andren.

“Think about every job you give to an intern. Those things should all be automated now, which can free up junior staff to invest more time in training. Technology has the power to automate the tasks that are causing all the employee turnover.”

Whether PR professionals embrace this in-app experience for media relations remains to be seen, and PitchFriendly enables users to engage with media via familiar interfaces like Gmail once the initial pitch has been sent – while continuing to track engagement behind the scenes. Gmail extensions like Mixmax offer similar functionality—the ability to create teams, assign contacts, schedule distributions and track clicks and opens—but don’t offer the deep PR-specific metrics on media engagement that PitchFriendly offers.

Will PR ever be fully automated? Not in the immediate future

PR is more of an art than a science.

Talking to the people driving advances in PR technology, it’s clear that the PR industry has a unique automation problem, which is also the source of great job security.

While data analytics, automation and artificial intelligence will certainly improve the efficiency of certain tasks within PR, the overall effectiveness of PR programs and campaigns will still largely come down to managing and drawing on a confluence of factors outside of the organization’s control. It’s more of an art than an observable and repeatable science.

According to Omar Akhtar, there will always be the need for Madmen and Mathmen (creativity in addition to data analysis)—we can’t rely on either one alone.

“There is always the chance that PR technology could replace people. But I’m convinced, there will always be a job for a clear and concise communicator,” says Akhtar.

“Technology could provide PR spammers easy low-value coverage, but it will be at the expense of the high-value media relationships. A higher level of [machine learning] discernment is needed before PR engagement can be automated,” adds Somer.

Even when it comes to measurement—the part of PR that is well-suited to automation—there are still intangible elements that make evaluating return on investment difficult.

“When PR is done well, there will always be an “X” factor and something that you can’t measure,” says Iliff. “But PR still needs to evolve in the same way that marketing and advertising have evolved with the help of technology.”

Where to Invest?

While PR wrestles with the complexity of relationships and colliding narratives, media budgets and headcount continue to fall. For instance, a negative byproduct of increasing marketing automation has been cut-price display ads and reduced advertising revenues for our friends in the newsroom. Just last month we saw more layoffs at eWEEK, InformationWeek and the Wall Street Journal.

As the pressure mounts for editors and journalists to do more with less, knowing how to break-through the noise of impersonal email to grab their attention will be increasingly valuable for PR people. Similarly, being aware of the digital shortcuts and tools media themselves are using to source content and story ideas is a key requirement for the modern PR person.

The data-driven insights that can be pulled from intelligent measurement and engagement platforms will go a long way to improving the effectiveness of human-to-human media engagement and showing the ROI of PR programs.

The technology we use at Highwire PR:

We’re interested in hearing from you. Where is your company/PR agency investing in PR technology? What new tools are you most excited about?

This blog originally posted on Bulldog Reporter.

Content is King: PR and Marketing’s New Focus

Content Becomes Lynchpin in PR and Marketing Programs for 2016

Those of us in content have been touting this claim for years, but it’s nice to come across data that validates content as king. A recent Marketwired survey of PR, IR and marketing professionals found the that content marketing is rapidly growing in importance.

Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents currently have a content marketing program in place, and a majority plan to increase (64 percent) or maintain (22 percent) those efforts throughout the year.

 

Other highlights include:

  • *  Blog posts (55 percent), images (29 percent) and news (24 percent) were identified as the most used forms of content.
  • *  Influencers and brand advocates are being used by 61 percent of respondents to amplify their content to reach new audiences and increase overall engagement.
  • *  At least half of respondents use visuals on a weekly basis, and an impressive 30 percent do so daily.
  • *  Visual content is most often shared on Twitter (75 percent), Facebook (73 percent) and LinkedIn (63 percent) with Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest being popular alternatives.
  • *  Most respondents do still believe that earned media efforts is a top priority, but owned media—like blogs, tip sheets, case studies, infographics, etc.—are a close second.
  • *  In all of this, seeing the returns on investment are important. As such 77 percent of respondents measure their content efforts—”what’s worth doing, is worth measuring.”

 

Ultimately, the survey validated the importance of content for PR and marketing campaigns, and key role in supporting overall business objectives. Quality content is rising to the top as more and more consumers seek out educational collateral that doesn’t sell them but helps them in their decision making process.

Are you telling personal brand stories, boosting customer advocacy and generating leads for your sales team with high-caliber content that attracts customers and keeps them coming back? If not, stop lagging and catch up because it’s ringing loud and clear: “Content is king!”

For deeper dive on the topic and survey, check out Marketwired’s infographic, “Will You Be A #ContentMachine in 2016?”

5 Takeaways from the Go-To-Market Leaders Product Marketing Panel

Last Wednesday evening, we had the pleasure of co-hosting the Go-To-Market Leaders San Francisco Meetup and Product Marketing panel with Akoonu. We were joined by TIRO Communications president and founder Patrick Spencer, Slack head of product marketing Harsh Jawharkar, Anaplan vice president of global product marketing Folia Grace and Jasper Wireless director of product marketing Theresa Bui Revon. These panelists discussed the role of product marketing in shaping conversations with prospects and in supporting sales.

Here’s what we learned:

Be a mini CEO. One of the GTM Leaders Product Marketing Panelchallenges of the job of product marketer is that there are no boundaries. It can be anything. The product marketer is the mini CEO of the product. It’s your job to raise awareness of your product and make sure all teams (customer success, sales, quality assurance, product marketing and content marketing) are aligned in their understanding of the product, message and business goals.

Keep your message consistent, but tailor your language. Your message should remain consistent throughout the sales and marketing process, regardless of the vertical you are marketing to. However, it is important to keep in mind that while the message should stay the same, the language should be tailored to match your vertical. The challenge for product marketing is to make sure you use a vocabulary that the customer is used to hearing—while keeping a consistent message.

Ask for feedback from your sales team. Product marketing is not solely about product design, it’s about experience design. And there is no team better than your sales team to understand what customers are doing, how they are doing it, and what they need from you (the product) to do it better. Feedback from your sales team is absolutely crucial to understand how you can tailor your product—and the experience you can give to your customer. Ask your sales team if they see any gaps in what you deliver and what customers are asking for.  And make sure both the marketing and sales teams understand how to tweak your messaging and content, which can be the most challenging part.

Appreciate the partnership between social media and product marketing.
The partnership between social media and product marketing is invaluable. Social media teams have the opportunity to monitor and track conversations in real-time. Conversations on social channels shift at an incredibly rapid pace, and your social media team should be updating product marketing to make sure that their messaging is in line with what’s trending. If your customers are talking about security and you aren’t, that’s a problem. Additionally, social channels can also add value to your customers’ lives beyond the product itself—especially for customer support.

Customer success is key. It can be a challenge to drive revenue from an existing customer. But with customer success, it makes this task a whole lot easier. It’s imperative to deliver value to your customer on an ongoing basis. It’s about understanding what the difficulties are from step 1, to step 2, etc. Customer success should be at the heart of what are you doing. And if your product marketing team isn’t talking to your customer success team, you have a serious deficiency that needs to be addressed.