The science of referral marketing

The Science Of Referral Marketing

As the world’s most advanced referral marketing platform, we spend all day every day digging into what makes people share invites to their favourite brands and retailers and what makes their friends shop. Over the years, we’ve acquired a vast wealth of insight... now it’s time to share it with you.

In this dispatch from our labs, you’ll learn which sharing channels, rewards and incentives work best. We’ll identify which kinds of customers refer the most, the best time to get them involved and how long their referrals can take to come in. And we’ll debunk a myth or two along the way.

All the data in this guide is gathered from studying the results and trends across our hundreds of clients over the 12 months leading up to June 2017.

Ready? Just put your lab coat on and click through the slides below to get started...



Download as PDF (2.MB)

If you're thinking about launching or improving a referral programme, or you fancy even more insight from our experts, just get in touch. We've got a


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How to offer discounts without trashing your brand

How to use discounts without trashing your brand

"The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself," said William Churchill and, given that he reputedly drank 42,000 bottles of Pol Roget champagne in his lifetime, you'd hope there's some truth in that. Here's a little nugget of purest nonsense we stumbled upon recently, based on research carried out by The Logic Group and Ipsos MORI.

According to their survey of over 2,000 customers, people are more likely to be motivated to shop by earning loyalty points (27%) than they are by discounts (11%) or offers (9%).

We smell a rat. A fishy rat. We're not saying that the survey isn't 100% accurate, but there's no way those 2,000 people answered that question that way, so maybe something's been lost in translation (from English to... um...). Loyalty schemes are great, but no one's going to accrue rewards tomorrow instead of reaping benefits today. It's just not going to happen.

But here's where we do agree with The Logic Group (quoted here): “Brand Britain has become eroded as a result of rampant discounting across the board. By ‘flogging’ merchandise through widespread discounting, the prestige of many British brands is being compromised.” That's absolutely true because,


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A GREAT Social Commerce Infographic

social commerce report

Wow. The US-based 8thBridge just released an absolutely enormous 111-page report on social commerce, which we're going to spend a lot of time devouring. But the headline findings are already very interesting:

  • 70% of respondents would rather hear about a new product from a Facebook friend, than from a brand

  • 57% have asked their friends on Facebook for advice before purchasing a product

  • 64% said that more Facebook “likes” on a product do not increase the likelihood that they will buy that product

  • 35% of companies researched had apps on Facebook that were not functioning and/or were out of date

  • Growth areas include website social apps, Facebook custom open graph integration  and social logins

  • The most social companies are 17 times more likely to incorporate social functionality into their websites

  • Rewards are critical to encourage sharing and customer referrals

  • The past was about driving brand awareness. The future is about driving commerce.

Here's some of those findings in a nice, print-out-and-keep infographic. And stay tuned - we'll be deep diving into this behemouth of a report over the coming weeks.

Robin Bresnark

Infographic Via 8thBridge


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Turn on your Facebook (*shocking stats inside*)

Shocking Facebook Stats

Some amazing stats from the Mediabistro AllFacebook Marketing Conference this morning, where Vincent Sider, VP of Social Media for the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, bemoaned the impact of Facebook's new EdgeRank algorithms. For anyone who's not run into this problem, Facebook recently tweaked its backend settings to prevent so much corporate content from reaching Fans' News Feeds. As a consequence, some brands' posts are now reportedly seen by as few as 6% of their Fans. Yep, just six percent. Pretty hard to get return on that investment.

This has hit BBC Worldwide hard. Vincent reported that Facebook's EdgeRank changes resulted in 27.8% fewer visits from Facebook to the Top Gear website, while average daily reach as a % of fans plummeted from 38% in July to just 14% in October. The net result? A loss of revenue of £139,755 for Top Gear.

Facebook's solution? If you want to reach more people, you should consider promoting your great content with sponsored stories and paid-for promoted posts. That's fair enough - they're a business. But, Vincent Sider reckons that he'd have to spend £300,000 each and every month to make up the shortfall in referral traffic, which is simply


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Two thirds of bosses think their marketing team "continuously fail"

Two thirds of bosses think their marketing team

Do you work in marketing? Well, sorry to break the bad news, but chances are your CEO thinks you're a waste of space and only keeps you around out of a sense of "tradition". That somewhat brutal insight comes from research recently published by the Fournaise Group, and it doesn't end there.  Other hard to swallow home truths state that:

  • 69% of CEOs admitted that, over time, they had stopped imposing specific business-focused KPOs and KPIs for marketers to achieve.

  • 67% of CEOs admitted they may be guilty of not holding marketers accountable enough (or at all).

  • They expect [little] more of marketing than branding, look-good / feel-good ads and running promotions.

However - and this one's a little more positive, so we can stop with the dramatic bullet points - 20% of CEOs do consider their marketers to be ROI-oriented and these are the ones they plan on "grooming for bigger things".

As ever, then, ROI is everything in the real world. We already discussed earlier this week how pointless it is just to chase 'Likes', but let's broaden that out to all soft metrics - brand awareness, media impressions, social reach, online sharing. At the end of the day,


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