Frequently asked questions​

The common questions our customers ask us about Herdify.

More about Herdify

Herdify is a predictive analytics monthly SaaS tool, spun out of 15 years of research from Bristol and Cambridge universities, which helps brands to uncover a completely untapped area of marketing influence – offline word-of-mouth.

Put simply, those super-powerful recommendations and conversations happen every day in the pub, gym, or school gate. We connect your first party dat, run it through our portal, and give you a monthly set of insights and recommendations.

Yes. We don’t listen to conversations directly but detect them in the footprints left behind in your first-party sales data.

One of our founding tenets is privacy first. The data we collect from customers is non-Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and the modelling outputs we use are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), using standards set by the Office for National Statistics.

You can read more about our approach in our privacy policy.

Our data science team is headed up by Dr Edmund Barter, a graduate of Oxford and Bristol Universities, alongside Dr Tim Drye, who sits on the board for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and is the former Cambridge ARU university head of applied stats.

Meet the Herd

We are currently headquartered in the UK and conform to the stringent compliancy of GDPR law, but we have plans to work globally in the coming months.

We’re a SaaS platform that gives you a monthly set of insights and recommendations that easily connects to your ad platforms.

We partner with a number of agencies we can recommend that you work with and are fully briefed on how to maximise our recommendations in all areas of marketing.

If you’re an agency that’s interested in being part of this network, please do get in touch.

There is no other company doing exactly what we are doing, however from a strategic or budget perspective, we believe that our tool aligns with:

Social listening tools: We can help businesses keep tabs on offline customer conversation and sentiment analysis. If sentiment changes about a business in a particular area, we will see that reflected in your word-of-mouth sales data.

Demographic data sets: The problem with demographic data is that customers are likely to ignore your ad because the product is unfamiliar to them. With offline word-of-mouth targeting, customers who may have ignored many ads about this product in the past, are now primed to notice all of your marketing cues because they recall that powerful word-of-mouth recommendation and want to follow the herd.

Influencer marketing: Influencers are brilliant seeders of word-of-mouth and much of their influence happens offline where it can’t be tracked.

Reputation management: We’re all aware of what this means online (review sites, UGC, third-party endorsements). We can help to manage offline reputation, which is arguably just as powerful, if not more.

How can I work with you?

We can easily connect with most data platforms, including Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, Stripe and Hubspot. If you don’t see your platform on our connectors page, please contact us here to request a connection.

We’re here to help! Email us at hello@herdify.co.uk and our team of data scientists will jump right in. 

You definitely do not need to be a data scientist or even an analyst!

It’s a straightforward process to connect your data to our portal – simply have the login details for your data platform (Shopify, WooCommerce etc.) to hand.

We’ll then quickly generate our insights and recommendations, and hand them back to you in an easy-to-digest format every month.

We partner with a number of agencies who we can recommend that you work with, and who are fully briefed on how to maximise our recommendations in all areas of marketing. If you’re an agency who’s interested in being part of this network, please do get in touch.

We’re happy to work directly with your agency to easily setup the data connections and optimise our recommendations. We’ll work with you and your agency in whatever way works best for you.

We’re here to make agencies’ (and your) lives easier and to complement the tools that you already have in place.

We simply provide a list of postcodes to target, and we can tailor-make these recommendations to apply to your budgets.

Getting results

We’ve worked with Xbox, Red Carnation Hotels, Comic Relief and more to untap the influence of word-of-mouth. One ecommerce business saw a 600% increase in online activity, and 192% increase in online sales.

We can help you:

  • Buy profitable traffic
  • Increase conversion rates
  • Boost repeat purchases
  • Reduce wasted ad spend

Herdify is here to help if you are:

  • Struggling to reach and retain new customers
  • Seeing diminishing returns on ad performance, especially as privacy controls are tightened
  • Experiencing decreasing conversion rates and average order values
  • Struggling to understand offline brand reputation and intent
  • Unable to understand the whole picture about your customers
  • Bored of your current marketing strategy and unable to impress your boss!

We only work with first-party data – your sales location data – and are 100% not reliant on third-party data.

Our SaaS tool helps you to maximise your first-party data and to target people who are already open to hearing about your business or product, because they have heard how great it is through the power of word-of-mouth.

In a marketing world where ad response is diminishing, we can help you to use your first-party data to be much more targeted.

We make it very easy! We connect directly to your ad channels – Facebook Ads, Google Ads, CRM platforms and more – to plug in postcode recommendations to target your ads or campaigns. That means that you can spend less and see improved performance, by targeting the right people who are warm to your message.

But there’s more you can do! We can also help you to plan for future growth (new products, locations etc), monitor your brand health, get better community insights and personalise campaigns with clearer local knowledge. See our use cases section for inspiration.

Yes, but that uplift could be negligible if there is no real targeting behind the campaign. Simply put, you get better ROI with word-of-mouth targeting.

For most customers, this starts around 1.1 – 1.3 times the amount you spend with us, which is 10-30% extra with each pound spent compared to elsewhere. You’ll see the campaign effect last for longer, and you’ll also see more repeat purchases in those areas.

Much of the effect of word-of-mouth marketing happens below the surface of your CRM. It sparks conversations and recommendations that later trigger a marketing action, for example, a click on a Facebook ad or a brand email.

Ultimately, you are highly likely to see an uplift in all marketing activity and we guarantee that you will see overall ROI within three months.

In short, yes – but we say that you’ll see ROI within three months. We’re not changing the total audience every month. We’re looking for those areas where WOM has increased, but we may come back to areas if they drop off.

The tool is designed for speed but we can work to your timeframe for data-led long-term targeting and also medium-term strategic planning.

How it works

Step inside our black box.

We analyse your first-party sales data to spot those transactions that have been triggered by word-of-mouth and then make recommendations to amplify that impact in the future.

Word-of-mouth leaves a very different footprint compared to sales driven by other factors, such as advertising campaigns, press coverage or Google ad spend.

Our algorithm is trained to pick up the patterns that are unique to your brand. It’s an approach we spent 15 years developing with some of the UK’s best data scientists.

Think of it like a wildlife tracker… Yes, we love an animal analogy at Herdify. Wildlife trackers are trained to spot tiny changes – patterns – in the wilderness, such as track marks, broken twigs, changes in the grass direction. That’s exactly what our data scientists do with your data.

Once we’ve identified where word-of-mouth conversations are happening, we’ll provide you with recommendations about where your campaigns will have the biggest impact – now and in the future.

It’s an approach that leads to an immediate uplift in ad performance and sales conversion time, all thanks to the power of word-of-mouth.

We analyse your first-party sales data to spot those transactions that have been triggered by word-of-mouth. Sales driven by other marketing activity leave a very different footprint to word-of-mouth sales, and our algorithm spots the patterns that are unique to your brand.

Think of it as our secret sauce – developed by 15 years of scientific research by leading data scientists.

There are Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) and Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs).

LSOAs are built from groups of Output Areas (clusters of postcodes) and have been automatically generated to be as consistent in population size as possible. On average, the population size is 1,500.

MSOAs are built from groups of LSOAs and are also as consistent in population size as possible. On average the population size is 7200.

The data sets are converted from a download of geography data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

We can work to the level of either data set, depending on the volume of your data and your strategic objectives.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK. They class output areas as the lowest level of postcode numbers that are GDPR-compliant.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent authority setup to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. Our registered number is C1103520.

Yes, they do. It varies though – they may change 15-20% or sometimes as much as 60%. The targeting is all about where and when. It’s not always the right time to target, and our recommendations allow for monthly change to capture intent and influence at the right time.

It also depends on the medium, and we can be flexible with this. For example, Out Of Home activations are longer term for example, so we would look for more stable areas, whereas digital can be every month. In every case, we’ll help you activate the recommendations and find the best way to use the data.

We can slow down the frequency if required. Monthly is as fast as we go, but if this is too fast then we can adapt accordingly.

We generally advise against demographic filtering. If you think about how word-of-mouth transmits, the message isn’t always spread by the target demographic.

An example we like to share… Our CEO Tom is a Foo Fighters fan. When their last book was released, both his mother and mother-in-law saw an advert for the book and sent a message to Tom about it. Neither would be in the Foo Fighters demographic, but they played an important part in the subsequent sale.

Filtering by demographics can inhabit information flow. On a national level, we realise it’s ridiculously expensive to remove demographics, but it’s much more achievable on a local level.

There’s no fixed rule, it depends on audience size. We look at what you’re looking to spend and we prioritise the audience accordingly.

We do not model individual behaviour – we model group behaviour and network effects.

One person in a group buys something, others become aware and start to consider it – by the time a few more have purchased the rest of the group will likely purchase without much thought. This is the pattern we look for, the complication being the time and distance between each sale is different for each brand. This is essentially our USP.

Google has announced it will delay the removal of third-party cookies in Chrome until 2024. It’s the world’s most popular browser so the change will lead to a marked shift in the way that brands allocate their ad spend.

When Apple moved to allow iPhone users to decide whether or not they were tracked by apps in 2021, it made targeting new customers that much harder. Platforms such as Facebook have lost billions in advertising revenue and small businesses have had to deal with rising prices and diminishing reach.

With less access to third-party data, digital ads just aren’t as effective as they used to be.

Marketers are understandably concerned about Google’s planned changes. One survey found that 41% believe they’ll struggle to track the right data, and many predict they’ll need to increase advertising budgets by as much as 25%.

There is another way.

Herdify helps businesses optimise their first-party data to become much more targeted in their ad spend. Using an approach developed from 15 years of behavioural science modelling, our data team take a brand’s historical sales and identify where word-of-mouth is generating activity, to predict where those audiences are who are most primed to be targeted next.

Real actionable insights to turbo-charge your marketing strategy – now and in the future.

Data & privacy

“Big data” has become synonymous with data projects, but you don’t only need big data to extract value. We’ve built our tool to use “small data”. We need three core fields – a customer ID, a date of sale and a billing address. This is data that usually sits inside an ecommerce order system or CRM system. We’ve also got numerous data connectors to make it super simple to get the data to us and if we don’t have a connector for your platform, our team will work with you to make it a breeze.

Good question, and frankly we can’t tell you. That’s why the first step of our process before signing any commercial agreements is to provide an audit on the data we need to see if it’s intact. If not, we’ll tell you and delete the data. If it is, we can move forward with a commercial agreement. That said, because of the small amount of data we need, most data we see is good to go. 

87% of data projects never make it to production so this is a valid fear, however we’ve designed our output to be used by marketers, not data scientists. Our data is pre-formatted for consumption by the CMO with a strategic narrative, and our implementation data is pre-formatted for the tools that marketers use, such as Google and Facebook ads.

Often data insights are provided and then they need interpreting. We’ve taken a different approach and provided a recommendation of next steps and data formatted in a way to activate them. We provide a data set each month and you should need to spend less than 30 minutes working with our tool.

Privacy is a founding tenet of the business, we’ve built our tools to be GDPR compliant from the ground up. This means the data we are requesting does not contain any Personally Identifiable Information (PII), meaning we can’t identify any individual customers.

One of our board and oversight team sit on advisory boards for the Office For National Statistics, so it’s safe to say we take data and privacy seriously. On top of that, we have an annual third-party review of our data processes and have the required documentation to provide compliance teams with the evidence to show we follow compliant working methods. Our Information Security owner is happy to talk to your compliance teams as needed.

A minimum of 100 sales records per month.
We need a unique customer identifier, a date for the transaction and a postcode.

Tell me more about WOM, data science and behavioural science

Have you ever bought something just because a friend or family member told you it was great? Perhaps you didn’t even do any research first? Or waste time looking at customer reviews? That’s word-of-mouth in action.

Word-of-mouth marketing is estimated to generate $6 trillion in revenue for retailers every year, driving up to 200 times more sales than traditional advertising. There are 64 million brand conversations every minute and three in four consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.

Of course many of these recommendations happen offline, making them harder to track. It’s the activity happening underneath the waterline on an iceberg.

Unlike the sales driven by organic search, direct traffic, email marketing and paid search, which can be captured in your CRM, those triggered by a text from a friend or face-to-face conversation with a relative are much harder to see.

Word-of-mouth marketing is about creating a buzz around your brand, product or service. It is not forced – people talk about you because they genuinely want to. If you can harness the power of those organic discussions, you can drive higher customer loyalty, build more lasting brand trust and create more effective advertising campaigns

Offline and online word-of-mouth can complement each other. A good example is influencer campaigns, which usually help to seed offline word-of-mouth conversations and should be activated with local campaigns that help to drive a bigger buzz.

A recommendation received by word-of-mouth triggers something in our brains. Suddenly that brand or product or service that you’ve just been told about seems to crop up constantly. Scientists have called this branch of behavioural science the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, or the frequency illusion.

Your brain is excited that you’ve noticed something new and subconsciously looks out for it, meaning you notice it even more. Customers who may have previously ignored ads about a particular brand are now primed to notice all of its marketing cues.

The most powerful networks are offline. Offline networks are just as large and as connected as online networks. The geographic reach may not be the same, but the number of people reached is very similar.

In 1967, psychologist Stanley Milgram demonstrated the closeness of social networks with an effect that would later come to be known as six degrees of separation.

Milgram’s initial experiment asked 300 people in the Midwest to send a package to a Boston stockbroker. However, they could only send it to one acquaintance, who would then forward on to another acquaintance and so on, until the package reached the stockbroker. This took an average of six steps.

Put simply, networks map out the behaviour of objects that influence each other. In the marketing and sales context, this can show how we make buying decisions based on others we know or trust. Networks increase the chance someone has heard of you when they see your advert – important for Baader-Meinhof. This can happen naturally, but it’s very much an outcome of working with us!

Is this GDPR compliant?

Yes. We don’t listen to conversations directly but detect them in the footprints left behind in your first-party sales data.  

One of our founding tenets is privacy first. The data we collect from customers is non-Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and the modelling outputs we use are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), using standards set by the Office for National Statistics.

You can read more about our approach in our privacy policy.

GDPR compliant at all stages

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Outputs

We do not collect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

We are not modelling individual behaviour .

We output to the lowest compliant geographic level permitted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Friends in conversation | Herdify

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