In part I of this double header we looked at a range of phenomena newly empowering publishers online.
But, what else is technology doing to help out much weakened publishers?
We know that social sharing is growing as an online channel to exploit.
Veteran digital marketer, Rupert Staines, also European MD at RadiumOne, advises that in the early days of the Internet, three per cent of total impressions resulted from the sharing of content, but today that number is seven per cent.
Against this backdrop of growth, technology is empowering marketers and publishers in exciting new ways.
Identifying your social super fans
Marketers have understood that not all social sharers are created equal. Within a publisher's flow of social traffic, there is typically a hardcore of fans.
But who constitutes this hard core? And, how hardcore are they?
New technology can now more powerfully answer these questions.
Provider of share tracking and sharing tools, GetSocial.io often finds that only a small percentage of site visitors generate hugely outsized business outcomes.
During our conversations, João Romão, CEO, excitedly told me about what he calls 'social super fans', a small number of site visitors that can drive over 50% of a site's traffic.
Too good to be true?
It sounded possible, but not probable; then João showed me the data.
For an anonymised site, I was able to see that during a week of 22,175 visits, 2,902 shares were made, by 1,375 visitors, mainly via dark social.
Six per cent of this site's visitors shared content, which seems about typical.
However, this six per cent drove 12,458 visits to the site, during the same time period, meaning these superfans generated over 56% of total traffic. (See chart below)
These social super fans appear to have immense power, in an example of Parretto's Power Law on acid.
Wow. Ok. But, marketers might rightfully ask how can we exploit this information further?
Activating and servicing your social super fans
After identifying these social super fans publishers and marketers need to be able to serve them better.
This requires new data to show in more depth who they are, how to contact them, etc.
These super fans should be the first to be offered deals, experiences and promotions. They should also the first consulted and surveyed about changes to product, service and websites - you lose them at your peril.
GetSocial is able to export data, so customers can enrich their CRM systems with it and give their socials super fans greater love and service.
Whilst GetSocial are still innovating with how they provide this information, working closely with businesses to understand their requirements, their initial product offers access to valuable new data.
However, it is not just startups offering products in this space. Ad tech leaders are innovating too.
Harnessing super fan engagement, in real time
Programmatic ad firm, RadiumOne, via it's Po.st tool and Data Management Platform (DMP), enables publishers to harness real time data and intent when a shared link is opened by a recipient, via any dark social channel. The link just has to remain unbroken.
Once a link is opened, RadiumOne's DMP works instantly to understand the nature of the customer, then working with its Demand Side Platform (DSP) to offer the source publisher an opportunity to serve ads and content to this user, as they continue their journey throughout the web.
The key to this ad tech is striking whilst the iron is hot and serving ads and content to interested customers, within a short time period of them initially opening the link.
Social signals, like tweets, have half-lives, to activate prospects within.
Check out this graph of ad performance RadiumOne delivered for a travel brand, where the overwhelming majority of conversion occurs during the first hour.
Amplifying reach through our personal social networks
Not only is RadiumOne's technology helping brands and publishers exploit the short window of most acute interest in content and products, it's also enabling a form of targeted, viral social network effect.
Rupert Staines explains that 'by identifying social users at scale, who are connected by a shared event, RadiumOne's patented ShareGraph™ technology is able to measure the strength, recency, frequency and context of a particular share.'
What this essentially means, is that RadiumOne can help a brand or publisher serve ads and content to your contacts and friends that are also deeply interested in a particular form of content or product, immediately after they open a link you have shared with them.
It sounds like programmatic lightening, rapidly striking through the most interested people in your social circles online, leveraging the power of social super fans instantly and even more greatly.
Can social overtake search as an online marketing channel?
As a marketer obsessed with social media, technologies like this makes me more confident that social media marketing could one day become as important as search marketing.
There is more innovation happening on this frontier too, which I'll blog about too.
Whilst social sharing is growing with the maturation of the Internet, 85% of search queries are informational, not transactional, and thus lacking immediate commercial intent.
New social media marketing technologies are enabling publishers to more accurately track where their content is shared, better leverage the most valuable sharers, in real time, to then amplify reach, out into their valuable and relevant friend networks.
This new tech is helping us do CRM, especially social CRM, even better too.
These trends represent welcome news for publishers, but they're also notable for brands and digital marketers generally.
New, valuable frontiers of digital marketing are being opened up.
Dark social is becoming lighter and social media is growing in maturity and strategic importance as an online marketing channel, newly enabling greater acquisition and growth.
Publishers and online businesses are truly being empowered.