Lucy Hitz from SimplyMeasured.com posted an article on their blog (back in January so it shows how up to speed I am on my reading!) about Attribution for social media and Dark Social.
These are two hot topics in social and they both drive me bonkers. It’s crazy to me because Facebook launched in 2004 and Twitter in 2006. It’s over a decade later and social marketers are still trying to avoid accountability for their expense within the marketing mix. Don’t get me wrong, SimplyMeasured is trying to provide that accountability but the part I find fascinating is in their article about attribution – they introduce this “Dark Social” factor which is not possible to measure. Is that providing social marketers a way to fill the gap between measured numbers and their expense?
Fez.Media is about direct results. The concept of Dark Social is not new, television, radio, PPC, content marketers, basically ANY method of marketing results in Dark something. I like to call that branding. Does social marketing contribute to your brand? Definitely! Should the social marketing contributions to your brand be considered in the evaluation of your social marketing expenses? Well… consider this:
Direct response marketing has never considered Dark conversions in it’s evaluation. Whether it’s direct mail, infomercials, PPC, or any other channel where you can track direct sales – success is determined by sales. Why do we afford special consideration for social marketing? If a sales person doesn’t close the sale, they don’t make commission. Period.
I believe in that approach for social marketing. If your social marketing team can’t close the sale with social then you need to change your approach. I feel most social marketing campaigns are not designed to close sales and look to other measures like different attribution calculations or “dark social” in order to justify their expense. That’s the part that drives me a little nuts. The effectiveness of social marketing IS trackable! You can capture the direct effectiveness of social marketing with unique landing page domains, special watermarks and a myriad of other ways. So why aren’t all social marketers doing that? Perhaps they sold their clients on the awareness and reach of social marketing.
Branding is great but we consider the sales from Dark Social gravy. We feel the “meat and patata’s” of any online marketing is closing the sale and that’s how it should be measured.