6 Tools for Targeting Brand Influencer Look-Alikes

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targetThe type of word-of-mouth marketing that once took place inside coffee shops and around water coolers has moved online, as “brand influencers” — social media users with a significant reach — play an increasingly important role for companies of all sizes. Thirty percent of consumers now say Facebook posts have influenced their purchases, and 12% say Pinterest has influenced them, according to a survey by Technorati Media.

Now that brands have gotten better an identifying the influencers most likely to drive sales, they’re looking for their next targets — those online users most likely to follow so-called influencers. By finding “look-alikes” with the same characteristics as their existing customers, brands can identify potential new customers, drive conversions, and improve the ROI of their digital marketing programs. Here are six tools that companies can use to identify and target “look-alike” consumers.

1. Rio SEO: Send relevant messages to look-alike audiences.
Rio SEO has integrated with the BlueKai Data Management Platform and developed a way for marketers to target influencers and their look-alikes across the web. Brands can direct advertising toward social media users who are already sharing their content online, as well as users who behave in the same manner as those influencers. This increases the number of consumers that brands can identify as potential customers worth reaching out to. Brands can also use the Rio SEO Social Analyze tool to track the effectiveness of their influencer retargeting efforts.

2. Chango: Leverage search-data to find online look-alikes.
Chango is a programmatic buying platform that large advertisers can use for fully-managed or self-managed ad solutions. Chango captures website conversions for clients and develops profiles of each “converter” based on behavioral and demographic data. These “converter profiles” are then run against 300+ million user profiles, looking for matches between the traits of individual users and a brand’s top converters. Brands can then target the users in their look-alike audience through a combination of exchange-based inventory and through Chango’s network of publishers.

3. Facebook: Find look-alikes based on interests and demographics.
Since rolling out its look-alike audiences targeting tools in March of this year, Facebook has been able to help advertisers reach online users with characteristics that are similar to their current audiences. Marketers can use email addresses, phone numbers, and Facebook user IDs to find their existing customer base. They can then use Facebook’s tools to create “lookalike audiences” based on interests and demographics (including location). Facebook says its look-alike retargeting tools are useful for “fan acquisition, site registration, off-Facebook purchases, coupon claims, and brand awareness.”

4. Rocket Fuel: Promote engagement with look-alike modeling.
Rocket Fuel uses artificial intelligence to improve the effectiveness of digital advertising campaigns. One of the vendor’s tactics for maximizing conversions is “look-alike modeling,” which involves identifying a brand’s core set of customers, analyzing the features of customers in that audience, and looking for similarities in profiles or behaviors. Rocket Fuel uses the results of each analysis to identify new audiences that are likely to engage with a brand based on key characteristics. These new audiences can then be targeted with optimized online ads.

5. Quantcast: Target look-alike audiences based on their Facebook profiles.
Thanks to a recent integration with Facebook Exchange (FBX), Quantcast now provides brands with a way to target social media users with Facebook profiles that are similar to their existing customers. Using predictive targeting, Quantcast pinpoints the media habits of a brand’s existing audience and then runs that information through FBX. This, in turn, allows brands to find look-alike consumers on Facebook who have a high-likelihood of becoming customers based on their online activities and media habits.

6. Turn: Use previous conversions to find the optimum customers.
Turn is an advertising technology vendor that brands can use to find “high-value customers” inside their target demographics. Using the company’s look-alike modeling algorithm — dubbed the “Audience Extender” — marketers can pinpoint prospects that behave like their existing customers. Marketers are also able to execute programs based on defined targeting rules that take language, geography, day of the week, web content, and web context into account, and leverage data about previous conversions for future retargeting efforts.

Know of other tools that brands can use to target brand influencer look-alikes? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.