The 2017 Top 10 in Influencer Marketing, Social Media and Earned Media

Jonathan Gardner

As we get ready to say farewell to 2017, we’re having a look back at our greatest hits, the highlights of our first year as the premier platform for earned media insights and optimization. You may recall that though we’d been working on building our technologically unparalleledsoftware in Berlin for a little while, ShareIQ only officially launched its sales and marketing in July of this year. It’s been an amazing five months, a period of rapid growth and scale in which we added new products, capabilities and new brand customers (see more on our Influencer Tools, Custom Audiences, Competitive Analytics and Audience Trends product launches).

This year, we also started a blog that has become the key industry destination for brand marketers who want to learn more about leading-edge developments in influencer marketing, earned and social media marketing. We've grown this platform and in a short time, our insights now reach more than 12,000 marketing industry leaders each month. We’ve compiled this review to share with you the top 10 articles that got the highest reader engagement on the ShareIQ blog. Find out what trends and news were top-of-mind for your colleagues in 2017. Happy reading, and happy 2018!

  1. How to Survive a Retail Apocalypse - Amid all the gloom and doom about a potential “retail apocalypse” and threats from digital-savvy challengers, it’s clear that to survive, traditional brands desperately need to fix their leaky marketing funnels. The problem of a disconnected discover-to-buy consumer pathway is especially prevalent in the mid-to-high-end fashion category, where vulnerable old-school contenders are being outsmarted by young guns with social media chops. Read more here.
  2. Visual Content is Your Secret to Holiday Season Success - Cyber Monday is November 27th this year and most brands have obviously planned out their visual content strategies already, but at ShareIQ we’re seeing a few tactics employed by the savviest marketers to ensure the season goes from good to great. I want to share the top three with you. Read more here.
  3. How to Get the Full Measure of Earned Media Value - 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. Read more here.
  4. How Marketers Turn Earned Media Insights Into Paid Media ROI - The perennial goal of marketing is to drive the most revenue from the lowest investment. This drove the growth of spray and pray fraud-ridden ad tech tactics and broad-based strategies that proved inefficient for driving brand discovery. More recently, this has led brands -- especially up-and-coming challenger brands -- to embrace efficient, cost-effective earned media tactics such as influencer marketing, visual content and social media marketing. While it may seem these conflicting forces are trying to drive investment in either paid media or earned media marketing, the brands we work with are finding that new tools make investments work across their entire marketing mix. The rising tide of quality insights and data from earned media can lift all of a brand’s paid media boats, enhancing the efficacy of ad campaigns. Read more here.
  5. Here’s How Challenger Brands Can Save Retail Marketing - With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales estimated to have broken records this year, it would be easy to think that predictions of a coming “retail apocalypse” are overblown. I’m not here to up your fear factor, but all signs point to a seismic shift rocking forever how consumers discover and buy fashion products. One segment that could have things figured out: up-and-coming “challenger brands,” which are poised to successfully ride this wave and have a lot of lessons to offer marketers of traditional brands. Read more here.
  6. Pinterest Breaks Brands Free from the Google/Facebook Duopoly - Concerns about being beholden to an advertising “duopoly” have brands scrambling to find marketing channel alternatives to Facebook and Google. Luckily, customers we work with have discovered a powerful partner in the Pinterest pinning and re-pinning platform. While there is definitely value in advertising on the network, brands get a tremendous advantage when they use it to optimize content seeding and sharing strategies. And while, paid media can be helpful, marketers really don't have to buy advertising to drive awareness on the platform. Read more here.
  7. Cosmetics Brands Glitter, but who Wins Social Media Gold? -ShareIQ, the visual content performance platform for brands, today announced the results of an analysis of social media engagement in the hyper-competitive cosmetics market. Brands like Maybelline find that a smart visual content strategy can drive engagement that helps them glitter and shine ahead of the competition in the US $62 billion beauty industry. Read more here.
  8. The Rise of the Micro-Influencer - Continuing the thread from my post 2 weeks ago, as brand interest declines in celebrity-driven influencer campaigns, marketers are increasingly pursuing a data-driven approach to influencer marketing.  The realization that follower count does not necessarily imply influence has led savvier marketers to find out who is really driving the engagement they're looking for.  The best of the best are segmenting influencers into tiers based on variables like engagement rate, post and share frequency, re-share rate and volume of conversations with fans. And that's because these people tend to be authentic in how they express their interest in the things they love. Read more here.
  9. How to Make Your Earned Media More Accountable - Fears over fake influencer marketing may soon incite terror similar to what strikes the hearts of ad tech buyers plagued by fraud. However, marketers should take this opportunity to do something we believe strongly in: start demanding real measurement of the value of your earned media programs. Read more here.
  10. What Brands Can Learn from Celebrity Influencers - While there’s lots of talk about how much influencers get paid and whether they’re effective, it’s clear to me that brands themselves should start learning from influencers. I don’t mean that Mr.Clean needs to start doing duckface selfies, but the overarching goal of an influencer program is to get content -- and the brand messages within -- distributed to as many people in a target audience as possible. That’s something influencers can most definitely be really good at. Read more here.
As we get ready to say farewell to 2017, we’re having a look back at our greatest hits, the highlights of our first year as the premier platform for earned media insights and optimization.
Jonathan Gardner

Jonathan is vice president of marketing for ShareIQ, based in New York City.