Social Media IRL: Facebook Starts Attributing Unattributable Revenue
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
The Social Marketer’s Guide to Social Media ROI
This quote, from John Wanamaker in the early 1900s, is such a staple in marketing and advertising that I cringed as I decided to lead this post with it, but I’m stubborn, so I did it anyway.
Wanamaker died in 1922, so he had no idea we’d be quoting him a century later, but here we are. And why? We have technology! We should be technologizing all the things! This should be easy!
The problem boils down to one word: Attribution.
In a multi-touch, on-demand, online/offline economy, shoppers in almost any category can buy what they want, where they want to buy it, and when they want to buy it.
As a social analytics company, we’re focused on helping Simply Measured customers connect the dots and correctly attribute web traffic, conversions, and sales that social influenced…but this isn’t a story about what we’re doing today. This is a story about what’s next. And it’s exciting.
Facebook Partners with GPS, Square and Marketo
Last week, with relatively quiet coverage, Facebook announced partnerships with point-of-sale solutions like Square and Marketo.
Why is this different than any other technology integration? With these partnerships, Facebook will be able to expand the value they demonstrate to advertisers. If you use this feature, you’ll be able to identify users who visit a brick-and-mortar store after seeing your ad, even if you don’t buy anything.
This is important, Facebook points out, because 45% of all shopping journeys involve mobile — a number that jumps to 57% when talking about millennials.
In an interview with Techcrunch’s Josh Constantine, Maz Sharafi, Facebook’s Director of Monetization Product Marketing, said, “When you think back to the beginning of online advertising, this is what advertisers have been waiting for.”
Time will tell how advertisers are able to leverage this data, but the focus on tying brick-and-mortar business to digital and mobile advertising is a huge step forward for attribution.
A nuance to this ability is that advertisers will be better equipped to measure the effectiveness of brand awareness ads on actual business value. While the focus of many attribution solutions is on direct funnel conversions, Facebook is setting its sights on something more nuanced, which will provide a clearer picture of holistic impact.
When you think about this ability to track in-store visits, paired with insight into private sharing and holistic, cross-channel social identities, marketers are poised to leverage social in ways they never thought possible.