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4 Ways Social Attribution Will Change How Publishers Use Social

I know it’s only October, but I’m making my 2017 prediction today. Next year, the social media industry is going to be all about attribution. Historically, social media has been left out of most major marketing conversations, because these conversations focus on business value and revenue.

Conversations to Conversions: How to Measure Anything on Social Using Simply Measured

But social attribution is the new, critical analysis on the block, and all media publishers should take notice. Why?

Understand the TRUTH About Your Social Audience’s Preferences

For publishers, understanding what your social audience shares is extremely important. This data can inform your entire social strategy and impact other parts of the marketing organization as well. However, many publishers’ understandings of this are very limited because of Dark Social.

Approximately 70% of social shares are dark, which means that publishers are missing out on a TON of data that could inform crucial content and social strategy questions. Which content should you post? Which copy is resonating with your audience?


Attribution allows you to look at the complete picture of your social sharing, rather than just the visible 30%. This is a huge problem facing this industry that social attribution will solve in 2017.

Give Social the Credit It Deserves

While revenue might not be the goal for many publishers, there are other goals that are extremely valuable, like newsletter signups, podcast subscriptions, etc. How does social contribute to these growing audience metrics? Prior to social attribution, the map to unlocking this was riddled with gaps and challenges.

Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 2.05.45 PMNow, with attribution, publishers can see exactly how social is contributing to their publication’s goals and associate a dollar value with that goal completion. The days of publishers only being able to bring social’s engagement and impartial traffic metrics to the table are over.

Identify Your Influencers (Based on Business Value!)

We all know it’s important to identify your influencers, and that analyzing social performance and referral traffic can help with that. But social attribution introduces a whole new layer of sophistication.

Now, when an influencer shares something from your publication, you can trace the impact (visits, business value, revenue – you name it!) back to the post level.

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We can certainly expect to see publishers begin to tailor their content and social media strategies more around influencer marketing, a realm of social marketing that has been lower on their totem pole–until now.

Find the Correlations that Matter

Once publishers can understand the truth about how social impacts goal completions and business value, they can learn how to optimize for it. Social attribution’s ability to follow the social user’s journey gives marketers greater insight into their behavior on their pages, and correlations between various metrics, like visits and page views, with goal completions.

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Being able to analyze your social media presence and impact with this level of granularity is a game-changer. Publishers are going to have so much more information about their pages’ performance, audience, and activity.

We can expect to see the ripple effect of this spanning over multiple marketing teams: design, web, content. With all the innovations coming to social via attribution, we can expect tons of brands and industries to make big changes to how they run their social programs. Download our Social Attribution 101 Guide below to get a head start. 

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Social Attribution 101: The Beginner’s Guide


Jade Furubayashi

My name is Jade and I'm the Social Media Manager for Simply Measured. We can find common ground in Beyoncé and Chipotle burrito bowls.

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