How Does Esurance’s Social ROI (On $1.5 Million Spend) Stack Up?

Having saved $1.5 million on airing their commercial (which was hardly even a “commercial”!) after the Super Bowl (versus during the big game), and spending this money on a “prize fund,” Esurance certainly did something innovative, as well as bridged the gap between the offline (TV) and the online (Twitter, YouTube, website), and also reaped some interesting results. The online stats that the ad campaign yielded were disclosed by their agency Leo Burnett earlier this week.

Here’s what they tell us of the prices Esurance paid versus what these results normally cost:

  • Hashtag price: $0.28 per use (based on 5.4 million uses of the #EsuranceSave30 hashtag) versus $? (I couldn’t find any data on this one)



  • Twitter follower: $5.75 per follower (they’ve had 261,000 new followers join the official Esurance Twitter account, yielding an increase of nearly 3,000%) versus the Twitter Promoted Account ad’s “recommended bid” range of $1.50-$2.20 per follower as quoted by Lisa Raehsler in her recent Search Engine Watch article;


  • YouTube view: $4.52 per view (they reported 332,000 views of the Esurance commercial on YouTube) versus $0.045 per view that Matthew Peneycad‘s test buy of YouTube TrueView ads yielded (more on Social Media Today), and the $0.07-$0.08 range that I’ve seen quoted elsewhere.


Within the first hours of the sweepstakes they also had a 12x spike in website visits to the Esurance’s site. But for this one, we are missing some other important pieces of the puzzle (e.g.: the exact number of newly-acquired visitors, and/or the conversion rate at which these visitors turned into Allstate customers) to make any sensible conclusions.

Of course, the above calculation is based on very simplistic math (merely dividing the $1.5 million by the number of results yielded automatically excludes all the other results from the ROI) and limits itself only to the results registered during the campaign (i.e. before the prize is awarded). It does not and cannot (yet) measure the post-campaign effect, or the brand benefit(s). Nonetheless, however, the Esurance case yields some interesting food for thought that marketers may want to keep in mind when putting together their TV-to-social/online initiatives.

What do you make of this? Was this a successful campaign? Would you go the same route had you had the $1.5 million to spend on a marketing campaign? If not, what would you do differently?

Prussakov’s Fall 2013 Affiliate Marketing Speaking Engagements

In the next 16 days I have three exciting speaking engagements lined up, and I would like to bring them up to your attention today.

Here they are in chronological order:


Date: October 22, 2013
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm EST
Place: Online
Title: “Tips & Tricks for Running Successful Holidays Promotions”
Description: In this interactive webinar, hosted by Avangate, myself and Catherine Preisler of CBS Interactive, will walk you through the ways to maximize your affiliate marketing efforts during the holiday season. I will focus on the advertiser side of things, while Catherine, who leads partner development at CNET, will focus on thins from the affiliate perspective. Learn more about the webinar, and register here. All attendees will get a free copy of my latest “Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing.”


Date: October 23, 2013
Time: 6:00-8:00 pm EST
Place: Baltimore, MD, USA
Title: “How to Land More Customers with Affiliate Marketing”
Description: After a successful speaking appearance at the DC Chapter of the American Marketing Association (in front of associations and non-profits) in May of this year, I have been invited to speak on a similar subject in front of businesses at the Baltimore Chapter of AMA. We’ll start from the basics, and walk right through the building, launch and management of an affiliate program that sells. More at AMA Baltimore website. My award-winning “Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day” will be given away for good questions.


Date: November 6, 2013
Time: 9:30-10:30 am CET
Place: Madrid, Spain
Title: “Affiliate Program Conversion Optimization: Practical Ways to Improve Performance”
Description: This will be my first time in Madrid, and firs time in Spain. This will also be the first time that OMExpo is running their OMWeeks (in Madrid in the beginning of the month, and in Barcelona at the end of November). I am honored to have been invited to keynote their first-ever Performance Marketing Day where I will share my practical ideas on how to increase the conversion rates of your affiliate-referred traffic. Learn more about it here, and hope to see you there.

The full list of my past and upcoming speaking appearances may be viewed here. If you’d like me to speak in front of your audience, drop me a line today.

Affiliate Marketing Book Becomes E-commerce Bestseller on Amazon

Things like this just don’t happen every day…

Late on the evening of August 15 I published “Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing” — my newest book, aimed at aspiring affiliates, and everyone interested in learning how to make money through affiliate programs.

On August 17 it became the #1 “hot new release” in Amazon’s E-commerce book section [screenshot here].

And on August 19 the book turned into the absolute bestseller on E-Commerce and Web Marketing (in under 4 days!)

Then a number of business and marketing heavyweights picked up the news spreading the word about it and Tweeting:

The sales are still going strong, reviews rolling in, and if you haven’t yet picked up your copy, I am now selling the (originally $4.99) book only at $1.99. Order your copy here.

Top 100 Executives Magazine Email from Benjamin Morrison is Scam

It’s that time of the year when numerous executives in English-speaking parts of the world are receiving emails from a “prestigious magazine,” congratulating them on making the list of candidates for publication in it. I got one too:

Three problems on the very surface of it:

1. It came from and domain resolves to a one-page website which at the time of this post has one word: “Hello.” Also, the domain information is protected (read: all real contact info hidden) by Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.

2. When I search for “Top 100 Executives Magazine” I find another one-pager – – which hosts a form to harvest personal information.

3. CAPS and UNDERLINED CAPS isn’t normally a part of a serious “professional magazine” orthography.

Furthermore, if you dig a little deeper you will realize that this is a classic spear phishing scam which “lures professionals into parting with personal information, such as phone numbers, email addresses and job titles, by appealing to the executives’ vanity.” [source]

If you get an email like this, take a deep breath and breathe out. Relax. You haven’t been shortlisted for anything. Just steer clear of Benjamin Morrison’s email.

Entrust Marketing to Experts! Localization Disaster Example

I’ve been in marketing for so long that very few people remember (or even know) that, first and foremost, I’m a linguist and a translator. Having spent over 7 years of my life training for, and working in this area, I am particularly sensitive to translation and localization mistakes. And while many of them can be justified by complexities of grammar, the banner that I’ve spotted today was plain hopeless.

Checking my Yahoo mail earlier this morning I was staggered by what I saw in the sidebar. A banner which was clearly localized (the concept was likely American, the original ad copy was in English, but since I was accessing Yahoo from Russia, I was served a “Russian” version of it) contained 7 mistakes in 7 words:

What is even worse, all of the above are mistakes made by elementary school children.

When you need a surgery, you go to a medical doctor, not to a plumber whose mother is a nurse and he knows a medical thing here and there (and may even have similar tools). Why, then, when it comes to marketing, would you even think of hiring anyone but a professional? When you are marketing, you are putting your brand (your most valuable asset!) on the frontline. Do you really want to have it associated with low quality?

The above example has once again reminded me of Aldo Gucci’s “the bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.”

Entrust your marketing to experts! Unless, of course, you want your brand to be associated with dilettantism.

Failure is an Integral Part of Success (in Business)

I am a big soccer fan. My team is FC Zenit St Petersburg (Russia). It is a good team (holder of UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup 2008, Champions of Russian Premier League 2007, 2010, and 2011-2012), but it didn’t win the Russian championship in 2012-2013 (coming to the end just one point short), and now that they have instituted a joint tournament between the most popular soccer teams of Russian and Ukraine it has already lost two (of the first) games: 0:1 in the game against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, and 1:2 agaist FC Dynamo Kyiv.

Tomorrow they are playing their third game in the tournament, but the team spirit is at an all-time high. Everyone at FC Zenit is optimistic, and ready to fight to the end. Knowing them I am also fully confident that their chances of finishing (this tournament) well are pretty high.

Why am I so confident?

Because I have come to treat defeats as an integral part of success. Any business(man)/(woman) can learn a ton from athletes here. I’ve mentioned soccer already; but here’s how the legendary Michael Jordan once put it:

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Remember how Steve Jobs was raising back up from his failures? Remember what he achieved as a result?

Failures and defeats should be treated as opportunities for learning and strengthening, not as excuses for whining or quitting.

The wise Sir Winston Churchill is known for saying:

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

So don’t let any momentary failure get in the way of your longer-term success. Press on… Don’t lose passion (or optimism)… Overcome, persevere, and succeed!

Prussakov on 2013 Affiliate Marketing Awards Judging Panels

Earlier this year I had the privilege of judging the 2013 Performance Marketing Awards in the UK (for the third time in a row). The winners were announced in London a month ago [see the full list here].

This month I am judging for Rakuten LinkShare Golden Link Awards 2013 in the USA. This is my second time [see last year’s news here] serving on LinkShare’s judges panel, and I am truly honored to have been invited.

The Golden Link Awards are going to be presented on Monday, June 17, 2013 in New York City.

10 Free University-Level Online Courses in Business and Marketing

Did you know that there is a number of universities (including some of the world’s top schools) that offer free access to their courses?

Below you may find my compilation of business, marketing and entrepreneurship-related courses that are currently available for free access:


  • Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies with Dr. James V. Green (University of Maryland): on Coursera
  • Introductory Probability and Statistics for Business with Fletcher Ibser (UC Berkeley): on YouTube / iTunes
  • Supply Chain Management & Logistics: An Introduction to Principles and Concepts with Richard Wilding (Cranfield University): on iTunes
  • Surviving Disruptive Technologies with Hank Lucas (University of Maryland): on Coursera



  • Entrepreneurship and Business Planning with Mark Juliano (Carnegie Mellon): on iTunes / Feed
  • Entrepreneurship Through the Lens of Venture Capital with multiple instructors (Stanford University) on iTunes / YouTube
  • Technology Entrepreneurship with Chuck Eesley (Stanford University): on YouTube / iTunes



  • Marketing 321 with Elaine Daussy (Texas A&M): on iTunes



  • Search Engines: Technology, Society and Business with Marti Hearst (UC Berkeley): on YouTube
  • The Future of the Internet with Ramesh Johari (Stanford University): on iTunes


If you know of any other ones, please post links to these via the “Comments” form below. Please make sure that they are full courses (not merely previews/teasers)

American Marketing Association DC Seminar on Affiliate Marketing

While I love speaking to audiences who are savvy in affiliate marketing, I also really enjoy discussing it with people who are not new to marketing, yet aren’t too familiar with what affiliate marketing is, how it works, and what an affiliate program can do for their business as a marketing tool. Three of such seminars/workshops of mine are coming up in the month of May. This coming Wednesday (on May 1) I am speaking in Washington, DC at a seminar organized (for advertisers) by the DC chapter of the American Marketing Association:

This is going to be a one-hour crash course on making affiliate marketing work for your business. If you live/work in the District, NoVA or SoMD, I hope to see you there at 6:30 pm on May 1.

If Europe is closer/better for you, I am also going to be conducting similar seminars in Romania and the Netherlands later this month [details here].

First Comprehensive Affiliate Management Book in Chinese

Less than a year ago I announced that Wiley “signed a contract with a Beijing-based publisher for the translation and publication of my ‘Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day‘ book.”

In 2012 China’s population of Internet users rose 10 percent adding 51 million to the previous number of 510 million users. “Chinese leaders encourage Internet use for business and education” [source], and the Internet penetration is nearing 50 percent of the country’s population [source]. I am extremely excited that at a time like this my “Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day” has come out in Chinese:

The Chinese translation of my book has been published just two weeks ago, and is now hitting bookshelves.

This is the first comprehensive affiliate marketing book in Chinese, and I am looking forward to flying to China for book launch activities (exact dates TBC).