Can we talk about influencer marketing measurement?

Brands must continue to find ways to be relevant in today’s world if they are going to break through the litany of messages confronting consumers and interrupting nearly every moment of their waking day. Today’s hottest method is influencer marketing.

Vendors have been quick to connect brands with influencers, but not as quick in providing those brands with comprehensive measurement. In order to become viable, influencer marketing needs to up its data reporting game. Social-only metrics (i.e. engagement rather than brand KPIs) fall to the bottom of the list of marketers’ priority, yet are currently the primary metrics measured by both providers AND marketers alike:

That is part of the reason brands look to agencies and other third parties to serve as guides throughout the process.

Because, at the outset, it seems easy: Pay an influencer to hock your wares and share it on social. Job done.

Not so fast.

 

INFLUENCER MARKETING VENDORS & MEASUREMENT

Good vendors might just be able to find the right opportunity for a brand to communicate directly with its consumers when they will be the most receptive to the message. That doesn’t mean just shouting at them; rather, it means offering something of value. Culture and conversation change as quickly as the next gif comes along to tell a story, so brands must be nimble in finding new avenues to achieve relevancy.

Influencer marketing has filled such a need, but feels a little hollow once a campaign’s complete. Questions generally linger:

  • What did it do for you or your brand?
  • Shares, likes, comments are nice, but what about the bottom line?
  • Did you move units, shift consideration, or increase brand awareness, even just a little?
  • What was your ROI?

That fact is, four out of five US marketers want measurement of influencer marketing ROI to improve and consider determining ROI the number one challenge facing influencer marketing:

Currently, you sure aren’t getting this type of reporting from influencers or their representatives. Not yet anyhow. It took Facebook until February of 2017 to deliver advertisers a deeper and more transparent measurement offering. If this is any indication, it could be years before influencer marketing companies start following suit.

 

HOW CAN BRANDS IMPLEMENT INFLUENCER MARKETING MEASUREMENT NOW?

Unfortunately, someone paid by the impression, engagement, or SaaS platform license simply isn’t incentivized to (and in many cases, even capable of) prove impact on your bottom line. They’re busy stocking the pond of choices for the next brand that comes knocking.

Brands and agencies are ready for influencer marketing providers and the space in general to reach a measurement maturation on par with the rest of digital and social. But we cannot wait around for this to happen. It took years of taking social media companies at their word before advertisers finally demanded change, and even then, it was only brought about slowly after these platforms admitted to shortcomings (take a read of MRY’s post on the subject here).

For influencer marketing to truly be a viable solution for brands it must ultimately drive engagement and acquisition as well as ROI. Through proper measurement and third party tracking, we will be able to evaluate true performance, optimize elements of the campaign, and prove ROI. At present, this is not something readily offered from influencer partners. As it had to go with the world of social advertising, it’s going to be up to agencies and their clients to insist upon and implement proper tracking and measurement. Eventually, influencer marketing partners will come around, but we’re not waiting.

 

SOURCES & FURTHER READING

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