Sramana Mitra: Yes and no. 1M/1M, for example, is entirely marketed through content in our media work and social media.
Jai Rawat: But you are not trying to sell something.
SM: We are and we are not.
JR: It is content.
SM: It is content that can stand on its own two feet, whereas typically brand generated content can’t.
JR: Exactly. They are trying to sell something. They are blatantly saying, “Here is a pair of shoes. Go buy it.” That is very different from generating meaningful content that is useful. That is a very different marketing strategy. When you are sharing a post or blog that is relevant to me, I will read it. The marketing part is a bit more subtle there.
SM: The brand is getting created on top of the content. Our brand is a content-driven brand.
JR: It is very hard for retailers to write content on a pair of shoes. Some people succeed in creating a story around that, but the thing that works the best is when you pay attention to what your friends are doing. That gets more attention. It is much more powerful if you can get users to generate content about your brand. That is where we succeed really well.
SM: Do you enhance that with Facebook’s own promotion capabilities?
JR: Yes. We found that if we take these users and their posts, and convert them into sponsored stories, we can boost those posts – we can get around 1.5 click-through rate on that. It is very powerful. Facebook now makes sure that these posts don’t get seen by a lot of friends, and if you want them to be seen you have to pay them. Facebook is a business and they need to make money as well. If you take a brand post vs. a user post and you look at the CTR, there is a tenfold difference.
SM: I guess you can´t take a user’s post and boost it from the user’s page.
JR: We can´t, but we are getting the user to generate that post using our application. They authorize our application, and we generate the post.
SM: Can you then tie into Facebook´s promotion capabilities and boost that post and it looks like the user is making the post as opposed to the brand making the post?
JR: There are two ways for the user to post. One is that they post natively. That is more authentic. But if they do that, we don´t get access to that post and we can´t automatically boost that post. The other way is that the user authorizes this Facebook app to post on their behalf. So it still gets posted as if it was posted by the user, but the post says that is was posted via this or that app. That is something we can boost automatically.
SM: This is getting quite complicated to manage.
JR: That is true. We are trying to allow the retailers to manage it very easily. Mostly users are doing all the work. Using our dashboard retailers can easily change the look and feel or change any promotions without having to write any additional code. Overall the maintenance has become very minimal for them, because the users end up doing all the work for them. Once it is all up and running on their site, the users come, interact, generate posts and generate content.
SM: I can see that this is very powerful for retailers. The one use case you would probably find interesting and where I see this making a lot of sense is Café Borrone. Café Borrone is an institution in Menlo Park. It is probably the most profitable instance around the area. They generate around $5 million a year. They are doing a really nice job of Facebook promotion. They do a very nice job of keeping their community engaged and wanting to come. That to me is good content marketing.
JR: I totally agree. The things that usually work well are really nice pictures, for example. But the content that works really well on Facebook is appetizing in case of restaurants – images of food that you look at and you immediately say, “Wow, what is that?” Then you get engaged. If you look at all the stats more than actual text, you first need to lead with an engaging image.