In 2009, Offerpop launched a marketing platform to help brands find and engage audiences on Twitter. This expanded to Facebook shortly after and now Offerpop have 15 apps on Facebook and five on Twitter that help companies run successful campaigns on both social media platforms.

We had a chance to catch up with their CEO, Wendell Lansford, and CMO, Mark Cooper, when they were at SXSW to share a little more about what they do and what they think brands need to plan for this year.

What do Offerpop do?

Our turnkey product is a self service platform. It allows you to upload images and text for a campaign, make adjustments and publish on Facebook and Twitter. It’s all built from a conversion stand point. Users can create promo codes or generate coupons with unique barcodes and auto serve as their consumers participate on Facebook or Twitter.

Everything is tracked and can be wrapped into ROI and there is an API adapter that allows marketers to pull campaign information into their own CMS. 

How did you come up with the idea of Offerpop?

We started as social media took hold and became pervasive. We thought: how do businesses take advantage of this opportunity? In the nineties it was email. Using that as an example, we wanted to create a tool to help businesses scale in social media with ROI attached. 

We believe you have a similar set of challenges in social. What tools do you need to reach fans and customers? It’s very different compared to email where you own the list. With social you have a fan base, you can communicate with them but you have to nurture influencers and bring them back into the mix.

With Offerpop, we stayed focus on the tools and platform. We’re not an agency or consultancy, we wanted to be a platform provider. And the most important thing for us was ease of use. How can we equip marketers to be effective on their own whether they are a large global brand, small to medium sized company or working with an agency.

The value around self service resonated really well with the companies we spoke with. People want to log in and use a service. The feedback that we were getting from large companies is that they wanted to be able to quickly run campaigns. So we made that possible. 

How much has Offerpop grown?

Since we launched in New York in 2009, we now have 1500 paying customers and 35 staff. We work with a global customer base and offer 17 languages to enable local language campaigns. In fact 50% of our business is outside of the US and 25-30% of bookings and revenue comes from outside the US.

What are the benefits to using Offerpop?

1) Growing the community:

We facilitate exclusive coupons, sweepstakes, contests and refer a friend campaigns. Companies can use this to acquire emails as well so they can send content directly to an engaged community. There is also a set up for fangating. This is an option built into our apps where someone has to like your page in order to access content. We’ve found it to be a key mechanism to acquire new fans.

2) Engagement:

Offerpop gets fans to participate in ways that reach their friends. You can keep track of what degree are they helping. Are they retweeting, tweeting with hashtags, sharing, etc. You can then measure at a campaign level what degree those fans are driving friends back in. It’s a great indicator to see what is working or not in real time.

3) Driving conversions:

By creating experiences native to the platform, you are using natural ways to get customer information. As people start to participate, they want to give more. Companies can get email address or opt ins and this gives them actionable things to remarket. Companies are also getting information that is usable and can be applied to future campaigns. 

What results have brands and agencies seen with Offerpop?

We’ve had tremendous uptake. Last year was really about fan acquisition. For instance, during national tea day, Lipton used the Offerpop referral app on Facebook instead of street teams to introduce a new flavour. If a customer would sign up on Facebook, they’d get a free Iced Tea. If they got a friend to sign up, they’d get three. In six hours, Lipton had 30,000 email contacts and opt-ins.

Modcloth, on the other hand, have a regular and consistent approach with social at its core. It has daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly campaigns such as sweepstakes and refer a friend. These are different than huge one-off campaigns and become something fans look for and expect.  It’s like being a programmer on a TV network. They have to think about continual engagement which is episodic compared to the standard disruption approach. 

What does the next year hold for Offerpop?

At a broad level, we will continue to enable customers to run campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll also innovate based on the platform changes such as Facebook timeline and sponsored stories. We want to find the right approach and package it to help individual marketers use new technology quickly and easily on their own. 

What should brands be focusing on this year?

A big key will be understanding key moments in people’s lives and sync up with those. If a milestone falls in June, you have to be geared up to be a part of that.  That’s a step that marketers need to look at. Social will become the strategic core of marketing programs. Bigger programs will branch out through social media and then be reinforced with rich media.

Brands also need to consider a daily approach and look what are people actually responding to. All brands have to think about how they can become a daily part of consumers’ lives. To succeed, they need to analyze what group of people is responding to what content and understand who is the most engaged and then enable them. This way brands will naturally become a part of conversations.

Lastly, brands have to look at the end to end campaign. How are they promoting, what inventory is that creating (social inventory), what is driving the most interest and then how are they amplifying that. Once you think end to end, you can build and take advantage of new opportunities. With data being measured more precisely on the back end, it’s now about wrapping our heads around it. It’s the year of focus.