Thought Leadership


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Apples to Oranges: Comparing Your Brand's Social Engagement to Your Competitors'

Planning your brand's social marketing strategy

Planning your brand's social marketing strategy without taking your competitors' campaigns into consideration is like shooting into the dark. While customer insights help you determine how your brand meets customer needs, market intelligence allows you to:


  • Brainstorm marketing ideas from competitors' offerings, creative, deployment methods
  • Develop campaigns using time-tested strategies
  • Create enticing counter offers, in real-time, that beat current promotions in the marketplace


After implementing your marketing programs, you can evaluate your engagement metrics versus your competitors,' but to define whose efforts were a 'success', wouldn't it make sense if there was some industry average on which to base your decision? Let me paint you a picture with an example.

In a recent study, we tracked 20 leading retailers over a three-month period (Jan - Mar 2012) that heavily target the important 18-35 age demographic. The graph below measures Facebook engagement based on volume--volume meaning the total number of 'likes' and comments each campaign gained. By just glancing at the graph, you may think that Ralph Lauren's campaigns were significantly more engaging than Eddie Bauer's however is there more to this story?

Now, would you change your mind if I told you that Ralph Lauren had about 4.9 million Facebook Likes while Eddie Bauer had about 73,000? Is it fair to compare the two brands' engagement metrics based on volume alone? Didn't think so. 

At Yesmail, we realized that in order to truly compare brands' social engagement, you have to control for the number of brand followers. After developing an algorithm that adjusts for the size of a brand's follower base, we crafted another graph that compares apples to apples and conveys more meaningful information for marketers.

effectiveness of their digital campaigns in relation to their competitive market. In turn, they can then identify areas of opportunity and improve their marketing strategies accordingly.

So, how are you comparing your brand's digital performance to your competitive set's? Are you for or against an industry standard of 'brand engagement'? Leave us a comment below or send a message to @Yesmail on Twitter.

Author Bio

Jason Warnock

Jason Warnock is a seasoned veteran of digital marketing. After creating successful email applications for Canadian bank CIBC (2004), Jason initiated and managed Deliverability Operations for Digital Connexxions (2006) implementing several key strategies for major publishing clients. After a successful acquisition of Digital Connexxions in 2006 by infoUSA, Jason proceeded to become Director of Deliverability for Yes Marketing (2007) followed by VP of Deliverability Services for Yes Marketing (2011). Jason has transformed Yes Marketing's Deliverability into an industry leading solution through enhanced offerings of technology and client services. Jason has designed successful technical and business strategies for several large Fortune 500 companies including: HP, Coke, Kodak, Facebook, eBay,, and United Airlines.