Attribution: The Missing Link for Influencer Marketing?
Marketers have been tracking attribution for owned and paid media for years. The effectiveness of attribution tracking and modelling has been so unambiguous that it has led to a massive increase in digital spend relative to other advertising channels.With the rise of social media and influencer marketing, however, brands are having a more difficult time solving the attribution problem. Without certain tools to show how influencer marketing directly affects revenue and sales, advertisers have been unable to properly manage their marketing mix.The question of marketing mix – the practice of allocating spend across various marketing channels according to their effectiveness – grew considerably more complicated with the rise of social media. In the early days, brand-owned social media accounts were popular and ubiquitous as stand-ins for lifestyle content in the eyes of many consumers. Facebook cemented its dominance as the world’s leading social media network with its acquisition of Instagram in 2012. Then came the great Facebook realignment of the last several years, whereby the company refined its algorithms to de-emphasise brand-owned content (which didn’t generate much revenue) in favour of updates from friends and family in users’ news feeds.With the diminished value of owned social media accounts, brands had a harder time reaching their customers on the channels that were increasingly demanding more and more of the world’s attention. This set the stage for the social media influencer. Born, perhaps, with the rise of the Kardashians, the era of the social media influencer has enabled a generation of savvy entrepreneurs to develop their own relationships with brands and audiences. Armed with follower counts that could rival the reach of linear TV, social influencers could deliver more nimble results at a lower cost by incorporating banded content. The social media influencer now serves as the connective tissue between brands and audiences on the dominant platforms where most people spend most of their time and attention.