PopularMedia launches social online Influencer Ads

Social media marketing services provider PopularMedia Inc. is now offering Influencer Ads to its clients. Within this format, marketers can create rich media and display ad campaigns that integrate social media elements.

“There’s been a lot of turmoil in the online media publishing industry,” said Jim Calhoun, CEO of PopularMedia. “Publishers need to innovate and do things that are more relevant to drive value beyond the banner. Our approach is to use the banner to kick-start the viral marketing campaign in a way that’s consistent with the way consumers live their life online today.”

When a user interacts with a banner, it expands to give the user the opportunity to share the offer or experience with friends using their existing address book and e-mail. They also can embed the offer to various social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo and MySpace. The recipient then sees a personalized invitation with the sender’s name on it. When they click on the invitation link they also are “welcomed” at the marketer’s site, by that same friend.

“Typically people blast out an e-mail to people, and there’s no sense of retaining that connection between the inviter and the recipient, but now you’re landing on a marketer’s site and you’re there with the buddy that brought it to your attention,” Calhoun said. “That’s very powerful from a psychological standpoint.”

That user can then create a viral loop and continue to pass the message on to others.

While social media tends to skew on the younger side, Calhoun stressed that this type of marketing isn’t only for younger demographics. “When you can use these techniques across all these publishers, suddenly you’ve opened up this method of marketing way beyond the confines of Facebook and MySpace.” he said.

Anti-aging skin care line NV Perricone MD, which targets women aged 40-60, has signed on to use the format.

The company previously tested Influencer Ads for a friends and family promotion and saw a 30% higher purchase conversion rate, said Neil Kjeldsen, VP of e-commerce and direct marketing at NV Perricone MD.
“Anything that helps tap into that word-of-mouth business, particularly when it’s a relatively small brand, is worth trying,” he said. “We saw enough result to want to go back to it.”

NV Perricone MD will utilize Influencer Ads permanently when it relaunches its Web site later this month.

“The Web is a very big place, so take advantage of the traffic and give users something socially relevant, compelling and interesting, “ Calhoun said. “[Then] you’ll become the excuse to create this connection between your customer and their friends.”

Influencer Ads are priced on a cost per thousand basis.

PopularMedia is working with ad network Rubicon Project to run ads across their network of publishers. Rubicon currently has 1,300 publishers and reaches a combined audience of over250 million unique users.

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