How to Get the Full Measure of Earned Media Value

Brian Killen, CEO

It took some time, but marketers are finally getting the full picture of the flaws of a strategy that’s over-reliant on paid media. Ad fraud, bots and media scandals have shown the risks associated with digital advertising. Banner ad tactics are not meeting the challenge of filling the marketing funnel and driving consumers from discover to buy. As a whole slate of indie, start-up challenger brands have shown us, the way forward is to make earned media a significant component of the marketing mix. However, brands that care about ROI have found that an emphasis on driving consumer engagement via influencer marketing, content and social media marketing often raises questions about quantifying earned media value.

Luckily for the brands we work with, ShareIQ has built the first platform giving a full view of the lifetime value of visual content. Just as you can put a dollar value on a paid-media impression, we do the same with earned media through technology that sees the pathway images take from ecommerce, to PR and social; and from influencer to sharer.

In an attribution-focused marketing world, brands need a clear window on how their earned media is performing, how it lifts other marketing metrics, and the return on investment. Some vendors have tried convincing marketers that finding how many times their logo appears on social media is good enough. Since less than half the time a brand’s logo is in a piece of visual content on social media, that tells far from the whole earned media story. When you combine all the possible forms of brand content that could be out there -- from official social media posts to fan-posted user generated content (UGC) -- there’s a lot of content to track and analyze. It’s a good thing we have the only technology that can ingest and analyze more than 800 billion images and counting.

But, even if a brand is on top of all of the above, there’s often a whole piece of the picture missing. There is no company other than ShareIQ giving marketers the depth of analytics and insights about earned media value. We show brands the lifetime value of content, not just an individual social media post. It’s easy for you to determine, for example, that Adriana Lima’s picture with your product got 10,000 likes on Instagram. But, what happened later? What about all the re-posts to Tumblr and re-pins on Pinterest? What happened after the 72 hours the post was hot on Instagram? Some of the major brands we work with have had images surface and resurface across numerous social media platforms for months, generating significant engagement, marketing opportunity and earned media value that they would never have known about if they didn’t use the ShareIQ platform.

For a great example, look no further than this Instagram post by H&M (above). While it generated more than 100,000 likes on instagram and more than $45,000 in earned media value for the brand, what’s really compelling is what happened in the weeks and months that followed. All told, through numerous pins and re-pins by fans on Pinterest, this piece of content created more than $400,000 in earned media value -- engagement value and ROI that H&M wouldn’t know about, but ShareIQ did.

Our clients previously had hardly any insights on the value of their content and no view whatsoever on what happened to a post like that post later, outside of the first post on the first platform on which it appeared.

This situation is terrible for brands and influencers alike. How does a brand know what value to attribute to its earned media, and what ROI it’s getting for its influencer marketing campaigns; and how would an influencer know if they’re being underpaid?

It’s great to see there are smart software companies making inroads in the space. Tech provider Cision is helping brands, PR agencies and marketing departments get a handle on the value of their text-based earned media. Imagine the power that a marketer has at their disposal when they add a solution like Cision’s to the visual content data and analytics from a platform like ours. We’re at a time when brands are able to tie together insights on consumer sentiment, brand discovery and intent -- all from earned media.

As the old chestnut goes, “what gets measured, gets managed.” We built ShareIQ on a commitment to helping brands understand how their visual content is measured, so that it can be managed more effectively than ever before.

Find out how to make your earned media more accountable.

It took some time, but marketers are finally getting the full picture of the flaws of a strategy that’s over-reliant on paid media.
Brian Killen, CEO

Brian is the founder and CEO of ShareIQ, and splits his time between the Berlin and New York City offices.