Over at the industry leading publication, Talking Influence, StatSocial‘s Founder and President, Michael Hussey has written a piece entitled, “Attribution: The Missing Link for Influencer Marketing?”
After a brief outline of social media marketing’s evolution (leading us to our current, influencer-centric times), Michael writes about the degree to which reliable attribution is absent when assessing the ROI generated from influencer marketing campaigns.
He explains that brands know that working with influencers makes an impact, but currently the evidential connective tissue that would prove definitively in what ways, and to what degrees — what he equates to the “missing link” — is elusive.
He summarizes the difficulties as such:
The problem persists that earned media and influencer marketing have yet to develop effective attribution models. When a social influencer or blogger produces content favorable to a specific brand, the monetary value of that uplift has been impossible to track with any real accuracy because it doesn’t correspond with specific sales data regarding who saw it and made a purchase. In a world of diminishing ad budgets and rising costs, success or failure can depend on very slim margins of efficiency.
The answer? Identity solutions for influencer audiences. Michael concludes:
The evidence the market is looking for will arise when visionary data scientists apply the right technology to connect the dots. Once that happens, the influencer market with its proven attribution models will continue to change and evolve, just as other marketing channels do.
In order to make the influencer attribution equation work, a model needs to account for the quality and quantity of their reach on social networks, the nature and quality of their content, and other variables that tie influence to revenue. Ever cautious of their budgets, advertisers need better tools for influencer and social attribution if it’s going to take its rightful place in the performance marketing toolkit.