Are branding campaigns only for the rich and famous?
Branding advertising does not just have to be for the large, multinational brands of the world. Branding can also take place at a local level -- it isn’t just the big spenders that can build out a brand presence. A good example of this is the grocery store. Most grocery brands are regional, e.g. Publix, Kroger, Stop & Shop, and most any grocery shopper tends to have the local brand that they are fiercely loyal to... The local brand affiliation can be so strong that if someone from Florida moved to California and was looking for a local grocery store, five will get you ten that their first question would be “What is your local Publix?”
So I would say, don’t discount the idea of branding advertising, even as a small and local business, as your ability to deliver brand messaging which resonates with you audience, even at a local level, can have the latent impact you are looking for (brand recall, favorability, likelihood of purchase, and the like).
Local brand advertising doesn’t require the same scale as multinationals, but geo-targeting capabilities make it so that local brands can have a heavily targeted strategy that will deliver real brand value in their respective markets.
What's the primary conversion metric for social media?
What you really should be doing is starting out by defining your success metrics and what you intend to get out of it. Is “sales” the most important aspect? Or are you looking to create a consistent feedback loop to communicate with your customers and solicit their input on product? Customer relations?
Once you define exactly what you want to get out of the investment, you’ll be in a much better position to truly quantify your social media efforts and determine your best strategy on a systemic basis. The problem for many brands is that they go about it backwards; they allow the multitude of available social media metrics to dictate their strategy, rather than thinking about what they want to achieve and then determining the best metrics.
As for a primary conversion metric, most companies you talk to will focus on sales. In the end, that is why most businesses exist, right? If that’s the case, then you need to take steps to connect your social media efforts to ROI. Whether that be with a primary research study that cross-references your shoppers, their loyalty cards, and their purchases, or simply offering a coupon code that is specific to the social media site, there are ways to both implicitly and explicitly attach ROI to social media marketing.
What's the gold standard digital attribution model?
It would be naive to say there’s a gold standard for digital attribution, since the science is still evolving at the same time the landscape is fragmenting into an increasing number of touch points. Properly attributing the marketing response – whether that’s sales or brand lift – continues to be one of the most significant challenges for marketers, and one that isn’t so easily solved.
But it does seem that the media industry is evolving in some way that should help improve attribution modeling over the long term. First, we have greater metrics consistency across platforms, which helps facilitate market-mix modeling.
Next, we are moving toward a viewable impression standard in digital, which helps improve alignment with TV by basing the different media on the same “opportunity to see” standard.
Finally, the integration of big data analytics into traditional media measurement has the potential to produce more granular insights from attribution models. Take all these things together, and I think that we are just at the tip of the iceberg for where attribution is going to go. It should become a lot more sophisticated in the coming years.