Herdify applies data science to help travel realise value of word-of-mouth attribution

Herdify applies data science to help travel realise value of word-of-mouth attribution

Former Red Carnation marketing director Victoria Murden says travel brands can amplify their marketing by understanding where offline peer-to-peer recommendations are happening 

A new digital agency is aiming to help travel companies understand the power of word-of-mouth by applying data science to better understand offline attribution.

Audience targeting platform Herdify, the newly launched branding for GDlabs, claims it can discern patterns in data to understand sales generated through consumer herd instinct.

The firm’s new chief marketing officer is Victoria Murden, who joined in June from Red Carnation Hotels, the hospitality operator owned by The Travel Corporation.

She believes travel has much to gain from the sort of insights Herdify is able to generate because so much business is influenced offline as people interact with friends and family.

“What we do is look for patterns in the data. Think about it in the same way that an animal tracker looks for subtle patterns normal people would not be able to spot in the wilderness.

“Our technology looks for specific patterns in the data to help our partners identify that this is a word-of-mouth sale.

“Every brand has a very unique set of patterns that helps us to define what is a word-of-mouth sale.”

Murden said attribution is fraught with difficulty because so much activity that is not directly measurable takes place under the surface of an above the line paid campaign.

She said a piece of PR or an influencer campaign can spark an offline conversation that leads to the first click on a paid advertisement.

And dinner table discussions can provide the sort of social proof that’s needed so the next time a targeted ad appears in a social platform newsfeed it’s not ignored.

Herdify has set out to apply data science to the problem of working out where those offline conversations are taking place and how they are impacting on sales.

The firm claims that word-of-mouth is 200 time more valuable than a paid media impression and it can amplify existing advertising by 15%.

Anywhere word of mouth is identified as happening, brands can then target that geographic area through targeted smart ads confident that customers have been primed.

“You can start to discern demand patterns and create advertising based on that,” said Murden. 

“And where you start to see world of mouth declining that would indicate there are problems in that area you need to fix.

“If you have areas where you know people are talking negatively about your brand you can go in hard into those areas to turn that around.”

The Herdify technology is based on 15-years of academic research that sought to establish the links between behavioural science and data science.

At the core is the herd mentality of the human being and the power of recommendations from our peers.

“I believe that for travel businesses the human recommendation piece is really important particularly now there is a level of distrust because we had such a period of upheaval.

“I know what marketers are looking for in these sort of tools and I want to make sure that they have a great experience when they work with us.

“We are heading into a difficult period for all sectors with the cost of living crisis and marketing is always the first area of the business to be cut.

“There’s so much noise out there and marketers don’t want to sift through loads of solutions and work out which ones might work and which ones won’t.

“I think the businesses that really push through and retain marketing budgets are always the ones that do well in the end.”

Murden warned that a lot of firms “have their heads in the sand” when it comes to the looming demise of Google third party cookies next year.

And she said firms must get hold of their first party data now to help identify valuable audiences as it becomes harder and harder to target them online due to privacy concerns.

Herdify offers its services for £995 a month for a 12-month term plus a one-off set-up fee of £995. 

For that users receive a monthly insight report and recommendations on how to target the areas identified with targeted advertising.