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The Impact of Social Media May Be Under Reported by 100%, Says Report

As bloggers, we often speak about the impact our social media efforts can have for the brands we work with. But we might be underselling ourselves; according to an extensive study done by Adobe and released at the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit, the impact of social media on sales and brands is being under reported by 100%

Yep, you read that correctly: one hundred percent.

It’s important to note that Adobe commissioned this study to demonstrate the inaccurate measurement of social right at the same time that they are launching a brand new product called Adobe SocialAnalytics that claims to be the only tool that WILL accurately measure the ROI (return on investment) that a brand makes in social media.

With that said, the report does include some surprises. The key issue, apparently, lies in attribution.

The report says:

The term attribution refers to the models marketers use to determine the role that each marketing channel, such as paid search, social media, and email, plays in business outcomes: visitors, revenue, page views, and so on… The assumption that the marketing channel most responsible for a consumer’s behavior is the channel that the consumer last touched before a visit or purchase is called last-click attribution.

Last-click attribution is, basically, what most of us see when we look at “referrers” in our analytics, or the last page a visitor saw BEFORE coming to your site. This new study says that instead we need to zoom out our view, and take into account first-click attribution because social media behavior is about far more than the last site someone visited before coming to you. Here’s more from the report, focusing specifically on how first-click attribution changes the picture for social media referrals to retail sites:

Using first-click attribution for the retail websites we analyzed, the average visitor from social media sites delivered $1.13 in revenue. In contrast, when using last-click attribution, the average visitor from social media generated $0.60.

The report gives an example of someone seeing a pair of shoes liked by someone on Facebook, visiting the retailer site but leaving before purchasing only to purchase the shoes a few days later when they see an ad promoting a coupon on a search engine. The coupon ad alone was not enough to drive the sale; it was the earlier visit from a social media site that made 80% of the sale. But right now the marketing industry isn’t crediting the sale to the “like” on Facebook; they are crediting the CPU ad with the coupon.

Fascinating.

If you can’t get through the whole report (it is a bit eye-crossing), the highlights are in this great infographic. But I would recommend attempting, at least, to grasp what the report is saying and using this information to bolster pitches to brands you want to work with. This report DEFINITELY helps draw a straighter line from your blog posts to a brand’s sales, and after all, that is exactly why brands want to work with bloggers.

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