Return on Advocacy


"How do we measure the value and ROI of Advocate Marketing programs?" Marketers ask me this question often.

Three key metrics for Advocate Marketing programs:

  1. Total Number of Recommendations: A recommendation can be a positive review, testimonial, answer to a prospect's question, tweet, post, or share. Most marketers inherently know that getting more recommendations is highly valuable. Recommendations drive sales, study after study shows.
  2. Advocate Reach: This metric estimates how many people have seen your Advocates' recommendations on shopping sites, review sites, social networks, your website, and elsewhere. We use Forrester's Peer Influence Analysis study to estimate Advocate Reach. According to Forrester, each time someone posts something on the social web, it's seen by 150 people. Forrester considers this a conservative estimate because of the inherently viral nature of social media (retweets, re-Pins, etc.)
  3. Impact on Sales: You can track this by giving Advocates unique promotional offers and coupons and track redemption rates from among their friends. The Zuberance Advocate Platform also enables you to track the number of referral clicks and referral leads as a result of Advocates sharing content and/or offers with their social networks.

Each Energized Advocate Positively Influences Three Prospects


Of course, tracking codes don't allow you to measure the full sales impact of Advocate marketing. This is because people often buy products or services as a result of friends' recommendation but don't use promotional offers and coupons. And you may buy something weeks or months after your friends recommend it to you. Cars and vacations are good examples.

We've created an attribution model for Advocate Marketing that takes this into account. In our model, each energized Advocate (an Advocate who recommends in one or more of the ways listed above) positively influences the purchase decision of three people. Here's the formula we use:

Total # Energized Advocates x Average Customer Lifetime Value = Total Advocacy Value

I've shared this approach with many CMOs and senior marketers. They've told me they consider this a reasonable way of estimating the value of Advocate Marketing programs.

Download: The Business Case for Advocacy Whitepaper

Your Turn: What metrics do you think are relevant for Advocate Marketing programs? I'd love to hear your ideas.