Woolworths marketer says brands need to start tracking sales metrics from blogger spend

From left: Lorraine Murphy, Olympus Imaging marketing manager Kristie Galea, blogger Chantelle Ellem, Woolworths senior brand manager Melanie Baker and blogger Lorraine Elliot

From left: Lorraine Murphy, Olympus Imaging marketing manager Kristie Galea, blogger Chantelle Ellem, Woolworths senior brand manager Melanie Baker and blogger Lorraine Elliot

Brands will start to carefully scrutinise their return on investment of working with bloggers after admitting their metrics so far have revolved around customer “engagement” more than bottom line sales.

The change in approach was flagged by Woolworth senior brand manager Melanie Baker, who told a panel discussion at The Remarkables Influencer Forum yesterday the supermarket works with several bloggers within the group but currently measures success based on “engagement, shares and likes”.

“But we need to look at how can we track it to sales,” she said, adding it will look towards exclusive coupons and offers to monitor its ROI. “We are in a place where we can offer that, that is the next step for us, to add weight to what we are doing.”

the founder of the blogger agency Lorraine Murphy conceded to Mumbrella that as brands increase their spend with bloggers, marketers will come under pressure to demonstrate it as money well spent.

“The budgets are getting bigger but the budgets can only get so big before the business says ‘ok how is this relating to our bottom line?’,” she said. “At the moment we know engagement is there but I agree, you need to start linking that through to sales which is what we are working on.”Murphy said “our big goal is to join the dots” with Woolworths and to translate likes and clicks through to in-store. That can be done through a mix of couponing and tracking brand metrics, she said.

She agreed that once brands start to gauge bottom line results it would be a crucial time for the worth of bloggers’. But she stressed it was also important for brands to use their “listening software” and determine how much their brand is being talked about.

Research conducted by The Remarkables Group among 12,000 blog readers claimed 53 per cent read branded content and trust the blogger they follow to provide useful and relevant information,

“Conversation is really important, especially in the run up to Christmas when Woolworths and Coles are battling for share of voice,” Murphy said.

But she insisted the channel was gathering momentum with media buyers now talking directly with The Remarkables Group and providing briefs. She declined to reveal revenue growth.

“Rather than us having to fight to get bloggers on a buying plan, media agencies are coming to us and saying they have a line item for X amount and we are going to brief you.” Murphy said. “They are not coming to us saying can we have a chat, we want to know more about the space. They are saying we have got this brief and we want to take you guys through it.

“It’s like mobile was two years ago. It was optional and now it’s on the plan and we are starting to see that, specifically in the last six months. It’s just there, it’s a line item.”

Murphy said the bloggers were collectively working with 20 brands at any one time, most of them returning clients, with the members free to work with, or turn down, any brands if they don’t fit their reader audience.

She revealed she has rejected content deals with a fast food chain because bloggers weren’t comfortable with the product. She dismissed any move to effectively force members to accept marketing partnerships.

“The reason we are successful at what we do is that the bloggers have freedom, they get to work with the brands they want to,” Murphy said. “If we change that and we start to dictate we would not have those relationships [with our members].

“We are more about the long term. We could take $50,000 from a fast food chain but ultimately that is going to lose us three bloggers and that’s just not going to work.

“The challenge for us is to find bloggers who are happy to have those relationships rather than force existing bloggers to do it.”

Murphy said The Remarkables Group’s four-member board are fully aware that revenue is turned away, and denied she was under any pressure to force through deals.

“It’s never going to be a case of the board telling us to force a blogger to do something,” she said. “They have a lot of trust in me and it is up to me to think about how we can bring bloggers on who would be happy to do those sort of campaigns [that we turn down].”

Steve Jones


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