The power of a brand tribe in marketing comes down to the level of engagement by the tribe members. That is why marketers who believe in the positive impact of tribes on their business are drawing increasingly on engagement metrics.

According to Adam Furness, RhythmOne (formerly RadiumOne), Asia Pacific Managing Director, many of these metrics are already familiar to marketers outside of the world of brand tribe: “Marketers can look at how many shares they have across all of their digital media,” he said.

They can track likes, follows and retweets, and aggregate these metrics to see if they are growing their total fan base.

Sign-ups, downloads, responses to competitions and promotions, engagement with loyalty channels and newsletters, content shares and click throughs are also important metrics. And it is now possible to track these actions across all digital channels.


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Importantly, by connecting all their activity over paid, earned, shared and owned assets, brands can build a totally connected view of their tribal followers.

Engagement metrics also measure a deeper, richer, connection with the brand and its product or service.

They also offer marketers insights into how a brand, product or service makes the consumer feel, and can tell marketers whether their campaign content helps to create a stronger sense of brand affinity.

Danielle Uskovic, Head of Digital and Social, Lenovo APAC, said such engagement metrics are critical, but they are often seen as ‘softer’ measures by senior stakeholders. “Commitment to growing and nurturing a tribe has to be long-term, so don’t over promise what a tribe will deliver in terms of short-term ROI and direct connection to sales. It is a commitment by the business but one that – if managed well – will have huge upside.”

But there’s the challenge – drawing a linear connection between Brand Tribes, affinity growth and sales is difficult, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Follow the money

As with all marketing activities the amount of effort put into building and maintaining a tribe is determined by the return on your investment.

“At RhythmOne, we see sharing of content as a powerful signal of interest, intent and passion. Looking at more than 200 campaigns across APAC, we know that tribe members over-index in sharing content and we also know that sharers are nine times more likely to convert than non-sharers” [refer to the graph below]. When marketers focus on moving consumers through the ‘passion funnel’ – from fans to tribe members, this elevated status pays off,” says Furness.

Take for example the experience of the organisers of the 6 Nations Rugby tournament earlier this year in the UK.

R1, a partner for the tournament, discovered that passionate rugby fans who shared content, were six times more likely to engage with the tournament’s advertising.

“This higher level of brand engagement drives advertising effectiveness, which fuels campaign ROI. We see similar advertising engagement results for sponsors too. The knock-on effect is powerful,” says Furness.

This experiences proves the value of reaching consumers with relevant brand messaging while they are in a highly engaged state.

Data technology and capabilities continue to evolve rapidly and marketers draw a direct line between tribes and sales.

According to Simon Pereira of Datalicious, a global analytics agency; modern algorithmic attribution approaches are well suited to help marketers understand and leverage the impact of a tribe on their brand and conversions.

“They reflect the reality that tribal engagement may be effective at more than one point in the customer journey, not just at or near the point of conversion. Measuring the effects of this type of activity requires us to look beyond last click, to consider the entire path to purchase.”

By taking this approach, brands are able to assign conversion credit across the multiplicity of platforms, devices and engagements, he said.

“It is also important to choose a solution that encompasses strong cross device tracking. In a recent attribution study with Facebook, we observed that almost half of all converting paths are cross device, with mobile having a significant role in moving people into the early stages of awareness and intent.”

Given mobile’s strength with social channels, where tribes are engaged heavily, cross device tracking ensures you don’t underestimate the value your tribe has on conversion.

About the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit

Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. RhythmOne , which produced “Welcome to the World of Brand Tribes ” is a corporate member of the DIU. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply .

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