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Ed Keller

Member since December 2006Contact Ed

Ed Keller is CEO of The Keller Advisory Group. He is one of the foremost experts in word of mouth, influencer marketing, and consumer insights. As both an entrepreneur in social data & analytics and a top exec in leading insights agencies, he has built and sold businesses, launched data and insights platforms and products, acquired and integrated businesses, managed global teams, and worked with many of the world’s leading brands. He is a sought after board member and advisor for SaaS, data/analytics & MRX companies. Ed has been called “one of the most recognized names in word of mouth” and is inducted into the Word of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame as well as the Market Research Hall of Fame. The publication of his book, The Influentials, has been called the "seminal moment in the development of word of mouth." His second book, The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, was named the Best Book in Marketing by the American Marketing Association.

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  • Celebrity Endorsers Are Not Influencer Marketing by Ed Keller (Marketing Daily on 05/24/2017)

    Thanks, Paula.  Read the comment that follows you from Ed Papazian.  It's not necessarily the case that marketers wouldn't do paid celebrity social media endorsements if they didn't pay off.  Marketing dollars get spent in all sorts of ways where the impact is unclear but it gets done anyway.  I'm not saying this never works, but in appropriating the term 'influencer marketing' it has overshadowed what the term has meant for a long time (and was popularized by Gladwell's The Tipping Point), and has thus blinded many marketers to the opportunity to engage with this powerful sector of consumers who pick up early on trends, talk about them with others, and can drive brand performance.  And they can be activated at scale through a variety of means.

  • Celebrity Endorsers Are Not Influencer Marketing by Ed Keller (Marketing Daily on 05/24/2017)

    James, thanks for the feedback.  Let me address your second question, to begin.  I agree it's not just about volume of conversation.  It's about volume + sentiment + impact with the latter point coming back to the credibility of the recommendations.  We have done research in which we have analyzed the impact of conversations people have with influencers versus non-influencers and find the financial value of a recommendation from an influencer (in the way I define the term in the article) and find it is 4 times the value of a recommendation from an average person.  This is because of the enhanced credibility.  As for the first question, I don't have stats to even venture a guess.  However, I would say that any brand running a campaign with paid influencers could achieve significant (additional) value from a focused strategy designed to unleash the power of the "influencers next door." Many of these people are sitting right in their CRM databases enbabling them to engage with them efficiently and effectively.  However, many marketers have lost signt of them as the definition of influencers has shifted toward the paid celebrity endorsers.  

  • Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Doesn't Always Match Social Media, Online Results by Wayne Friedman (Social Media & Marketing Daily on 12/08/2016)

    Chris, We have been tracking offline word of mouth for ten+ years and have a proprietary method for doing so that involves daily surveys in which consumers report to us on brand-related conversations during past 24 hours across a variety of categories.  That dataset has now been integrated with social media conversations to form TotalSocial, which is discussed here.  Thanks,Ed Keller, CEO of  Engagement Labs and Keller Fay Group (an Engagement Labs company).

  • Can't Buy Me Love: Social Media Needs Creativity, Not Money, To Buzz by Laurie Sullivan (Online Media Daily on 03/11/2011)

    Perhaps advertising is not correlated with brand mentions on Twitter, but that may say more about the types of brand-related "conversations" that take place on Twitter than anything more generalizable. Research conducted by the Keller Fay Group (@kellerfay) and Universal McCann finds that there is in fact a correlation between advertising and word of mouth more broadly. Our research, published in Admap, found "word-of-mouth and advertising are tightlyconnected to each other. Word-of-mouth isa key outcome of advertising, but also a keyfactor in advertising’s success," The admap article can be found here:

  • Teen Girls: Sisterhood, Not Social Media, Sells by Sarah Mahoney (Marketing Daily on 03/15/2010)

    This research is a powerful reminder that the vast majority of word of mouth takes place offline. We have seen this consistently during four years of continuous tracking research about word of mouth. But everytime we share it, the question is asked, what about teens. And our answer, as Euro's research shows too, is that even among teens offilne word of mouth dominates. Further, offline word of mouth has higher levels of credibility and leads to greater intent to purchase. What is maybe most important for marketers to know and understand is that the brands that get the most talk on social media are quite different from those that the get the most talk offline. As brands begin to adopt "listening strategies" this new research is an important reminder to listen to offline conversation in addition to mining what is talked about online. The research tools are available to do both.

  • Death Of The Influentials? by Pat LaPointe (Metrics Insider on 01/27/2009)

    As co-author of the Influentials, this discussion is particularly interesting to me. Recent research by our firm on influencers causes us to remain convinced of their efficacy, for reasons already discussed here – efficiency and effectiveness. They have larger social networks, which helps them to engage in more conversation each day about products and services (90% more than the average), and their opinion is sought out and offered more often. Whereas Guy’s argument against influentials is primarily related to the democratization, or flattening of information, our research finds that influencers are twice as likely as the average American to expressed themselves, online or offline. They are more likely to post messages on blogs, post opinions on review website, upload videos to YouTube or photos to Flickr. In other words, they are the ones who are taking the greatest advantage of the opportunities that the new technologies afford, so their voices are more prominent than others. You can see the research at New academic research supports the power of influencers, too. For example, a recent study by Don Lehmann of Columbia concludes that “Contrary to recent arguments, social hubs [defined as people with an exceptionally large number of social ties, i.e., influentials] adopt sooner than other people . . . because they are exposed earlier to an innovation due to their multiple social links.” Further, Lehmann's research says, “Adoption by hubs speeds up the growth process and directly influences eventual market size.” Professor Barak Libai of Tel Aviv University finds that influencers not only adopt new products earlier, but that because of this acceleration in the adoption process a firm can increase its profitability by between 6% and 14% by targeting influencers over the alternative of targeting random customers. And it can increase profitability by 11% - 44% by targeting infuencers via word of mouth versus the alternative of no word of mouth seeding at all. Finally, I encourage readers to look at the WOMMA Influencer Handbook (, particularly the discussion of types of influencers and the need to define terms clearly. As I read Guy’s post I suspect he is referring to media or cultural elites when he talks about influentials, whereas we are talking about consumers who are socially connected when we talk about them -- in the Influentials, and in our current research. To be continued . . .

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