New research from Adobe suggests marketers could be underestimating the impact social media has on website traffic – sometimes by more than 90 percent.
No wonder many in the C-suite remain skeptical about social media’s “true value!”
The Adobe study specifically investigated the difference between last-click and first-click attribution models for gauging social media impacts.
Last-click attribution models credit a sale to the last place a consumer visited before converting. For example, if a consumer sees a paid search ad for a product, follows the link, and then purchase the product, the search ad will be credited with the sale.
First-click attribution models are significantly more complicated. As Adobe explains:
“Suppose [a customer] first noticed that a friend “liked” a retail brand’s Facebook post containing a link for a discount offer on shoes. The consumer clicked the link, visited the retail site, and explored the offer before leaving the site. Then, a few days later, the consumer searched for the site on Bing, saw the paid ad, and purchased the shoes.”
In this case, which website gets credit for the purchase? Most marketers measure their advertising campaigns using last-click attribution, so credit would go to the Bing ad. However, first-click attribution says Facebook deserves credit because it introduced the customer to the brand in the first place. This decision becomes even more difficult if several different channels converge to drive a conversion on your website.
For retailers that advertise on social sites, Adobe found the value of a visitor was significantly higher when measured using first-click attribution (76 percent to a whopping 785 percent higher across different social platforms). Changing the attribution method also changed the relative ranks of advertising effectiveness on social platforms.
The impact of content marketing across social media channels is also complex, and its effectiveness is similarly affected by the attribution model used. As Adobe points out:
Social media creates an environment in which brands can build awareness and engage with prospective and existing customers early in the purchase process. Prospective customers must first be aware of and engaged with a brand before they consider it, visit its website directly or via search engines, and respond to additional marketing communications. Likewise, the ongoing engagement and conversations that brands have with existing customers increase their loyalty and likelihood of making additional purchases.
By ignoring the value of these interactions, last-click attribution gives disproportionate credit to the marketing channels customers use late in the purchase process, undervaluing the role of other channels in building awareness, engagement, and ongoing relationships between customers and brands. In contrast, first-click attribution gives social media more credit for the value created by these earlier interactions.
See more details in the Adobe Digital Index Report here.