Big CPG companies are losing market share, getting beaten up by challenger brands that have found smarter ways to connect with consumers. Without the budget to throw at friction-filled digital channels, these upstarts focus instead on creating engaging content and leveraging earned media channels to get it in front of audiences. It’s clear that for brands that want to grow, the future of consumer engagement will be ruled by earned media.
The marketers we work with find that social media and influencer marketing help them avoid digital advertising’s easily ad-blocked path. They’ve learned how to get messages in front of consumers who connect with branded content as a matter of course while swiping through selfies.
Digital advertising is an extremely high-friction medium. Banner ads and pre-roll video are interruptive, taking users out of their experience -- until they install an ad blocker. While I may not want to be advertised to, at the same time, tactics like influencer marketing are powerful because I’m happy to engage with an influencer’s content. If that content happens to sometimes contain an endorsement for a brand, that message is more powerful because it’s lower-friction and it has the endorsement of someone who matters to me.
Brands only become masters of low-friction marketing when they learn to measure and optimize their activity across every social platform and the web. Brand-created, user-generated and influencer-shared posts are nearly always reposted, re-embedded and shared, moving from Facebook to Twitter, then to Instagram and Pinterest, and so on. It’s really onerous for marketers to go it alone and stitch together the random metrics of each individual platform to rationalize and make sense of how content is performing. The success metrics vary for every brand and for each network. Content and audience engagement, reach and virality are all accounted for on the platforms in unique ways, whether by growth in followers, retweets, likes, favorites or shares and reshares.
We counsel brands to focus on earned media value as a cross-platform KPI for the content in their branding outside of paid and owned media. This allows them to uncover the value produced by the content they’ve spent time and budget to produce, distribute and seed with influencers. That KPI is layered together with the deep insights marketers get from earned media optimization software like ShareIQ’s. This gives a complete picture of how their visual content gets shared, re-shared, engaged with and generates value for the brand across the web. We’re helping earned media grow up and be just as measurable and accountable as paid media -- just in time for the brand marketers who need it.