There is a need within the influencer marketing discipline to provide rigorous, third-party monitoring and evaluation of campaign success.
Two companies, Ahalogy and Sylo, have both launched new influencer marketing measurement products.
A key quote from this Digiday article reads:
“Influencer marketing is increasingly a big piece of our content distribution strategy, as we see these creators as partners of the brand helping us to build deeper connections with the young millennials who look up to them,” said PepsiCo head of brand marketing and media strategy Obioma Enyia. Enyia added that robust tracking and social media metrics have made the medium more transparent, and it is important to be realistic and specific on what “success” means. “While it’s easy as marketers to rely on benchmarks and traditional online metrics like views, we have to take into account others that might signal more engagement through actions taken.”
Marketers and brands must move away from their fixation with theoretical reach, and page impressions.
Engagement is more worthwhile, but, better still is tracking actions that people take once they’ve consumed a piece of branded content. For example, how many people clicked through to a company website.
Measurement is about setting effective objectives upfront. Quantifiable measures which are aligned with business objectives. Know what success looks like before you start working with influencers.
Rebecca Stewart explains in The Drum how Boots took a completely new approach to product development by integrating advocates into every step of the development process.
It’s a story about how the pharmaceutical giant took three years to bring to marketing its first own-brand skincare range in over 20 years.
Kirsty McCready, global director of consumer brand PR at Walgreens Boots Alliance, told The Drum:
“The community has chosen everything – they worked on the brand name, the packaging as well as on the [product] scents and the textures.”In fact, she said, the transparent, white and gold colour scheme was not one put forward by the brand but picked out by the panel of women, who came to have a very strong sense of brand ownership.
This approach to product development echoes an article I commented on last week.
“Influencers should be incorporated into every aspect of marketing — from product creation to market research and all the way through campaign planning and marketing execution. Integrating influencers into every step of product development is the future of the industry.”
The benefits of this approach include:
- Nurturing a core of sustained advocacy between users and the brand.
- Having a ready-made fan base to promote the product as soon as it’s launched
- Increased likelihood of high engagement rates. We know that people take the recommendations of friends and family before those of ‘experts’ or the brand itself
There are three key takeaways from BrandChannel’s interview with Intel’s Global Brand & Innovation Communications Manager, Nicole Smith.
Influencer marketing is best when co-created over the long-term
“We also maintain consistent relationships with influencers we work with. Successful influencer marketing is not just asking for content, but it’s a true give and take relationship based on trust and an open sharing of ideas.”
Measurement and evaluation need to be tied back to objectives
“Is your goal to enhance brand perception and introduce your company to a new audience in a unique way? Or is it to drive immediate sales for something available for purchase? In some cases, it might be a little bit of both.”
Engagement wins over, reach
Smith explains that reach and impressions are a poor proxy for measuring success. Instead, Intel measures the engagement levels of their sponsored content and compares that against the engagement levels enjoyed by the influencer’s organic content.
“We measure success in a variety of ways, but the primary indicator is engagement. I am less concerned with how many views something received vs. how many people engaged with the content. Did people share, comment, or click through to a website link we provided? If so, is the number on par with the influencer’s original content?”
The article also explains that Intel’s social and digital influencer strategy has saved about $3.3 million and created 150 new influencer relationships worldwide. I would have liked to have learned more about these figures.
It was not immediately clear from the story whether the $3.3m represented a cost saving generated from cutting out agencies and working with influencers directly – or whether money was saved via diverting spend from different marketing areas – i.e. digital advertising.
In this guest post for Mobile Marketing Watch Harvey Schwartz, EVP Talent & Founding Partner of WHOSAY writes about the importance of authenticity in influencer marketing.
Schwartz advocates influencers sign a ‘Statement of Authenticity’ which acknowledges that they have both used and enjoyed the product they’re due to promote.
Ultimately successful influencer marketing is co-created between influencer and brand. Campaigns work best when brands lay out the messaging touch points within the creative brief and allow influencers to develop the creative content which both touches the brand messaging whilst appealing to their followers.
Schwartz says you can’t measure authenticity in advance. However, you can benchmark organic posts that follow a similar theme to the brand campaign and look to achieve similar results.
This means tracking back through a short-listed influencer’s recent posts and ensuring the:
- Ratio of sponsored to organic content is in synch.
- The influencer hasn’t worked with your competitor recently.
- Tone of voice and values are commensurate with your brand.
According to Schwartz:
It’s important to review past social feeds for content that falls in line with the brand theme, as well as look at previous sponsored posts. And the single most important tip is to have an actual call/discussion with the influencer to address any concerns and fully understand if they are the right ambassador for the brand.
Successful relationships between influencer and brand evolve over time. The essence of influence is the human spark an influencer can ignite with his/her followers. For influencer marketing campaign work to flourish a similar human spark must be present between brand, marketer, and influencer.
There’s a lot to agree with in this Forbes article by Nichole Brandt, VP of Influencer Marketing at XOMA:
Influencers should be incorporated into every aspect of marketing — from product creation to market research and all the way through campaign planning and marketing execution. Integrating influencers into every step of product development is the future of the industry.
Brandt then provides four good reasons to do so:
- Influencers are super consumers
- Influencers are subject experts
- Influencers create compelling content which resonates with their following
- Including influencers throughout the marketing process turns them from influencers to a more-credible brand advocate
The key to reaping these benefits is two-fold:
- Contracting with the most appropriate influencer
- Forming a long-term partnership between brand and influencer
Contracting with influencers
First brands must effectively identify the most appropriate influencer(s) to work with. Marketers need to look beyond the obvious metrics of reach and relevance and ensure that the influencers’ tone of voice and values are aligned with those of your brand.
Brands should also track back through the published content of each short-listed influencer to get a feel of the ratio of branded vs organic content. Too much-sponsored material from too many disparate brands is turnoff for followers.
Influence is accretive; it strengthens over time. To generate the most effective influencer work brands must trust their chosen influencers to create the content they know will resonate the best with their followers.
The relationship must be a true partnership – mutually beneficial. As the two entities get to know each other they can expose each other to new thinking and new creative approaches.
Most 16-24-year-olds don’t trust social media influencer endorsements says a new report.
Gen Z consumers condemn influencer endorsements as putting fast cash above credibility.
According to the Youth Report by Protein – a marketing consultancy – young consumers see today’s influencer landscape as characterised by “monotonous and inauthentic ‘paid-to-post’ mechanisms”.
“When a celebrity or influencer endorses a brand or product on social media, 62% of the youth think the individual doesn’t care about the product – they just want to get paid,” according to Will Rowe, Protein’s CEO.
There is a wide – and growing – gulf between influencer marketing, influencer advertising, influencer relations and celebrity endorsement. If the umbrella discipline of influencer marketing fails to develop best practice it will kill the golden goose.
Data on top influencers shows they’ve been posting less and less on Snapchat in the last six months.
The sample size used in this report by Mediakix is not statistically robust, but the results may indicate a direction of travel for influencer marketing on Snapchat.
Both the combined number and average number of Snapchats posted by 12 top influencers fell off a cliff over a six-month period.
Mediakix first tracked the influencers’ activity for February 2017, then again in August.
The total number of Snapchat posts in April versus August dropped from 1906 to 1275 for all 12 influencers collectively across 30 days. The average number of posts per day per influencer dropped from 9.9 to 3.5. In April, 4 out of the 12 posted more often to Snapchat than Stories; by August this dropped to one out of 12.
Many influencers are leaving the platform in favour of Instagram citing a seeming lack of support for their work by Snapchat according to research by Mediakix.
Test curation post
Bill Sussman is President of influencer marketing firm Collective Bias, an Inmar company.
He thinks that blah, blah, blah is the only way forward:
“Earned media value (EMV) should no longer be the standard for the influencer marketing industry. Here’s how influencer marketing measurement has evolved and what new benchmarks for ROI mean for the future of the industry.”
Bravo. Absolutely, EMV is the bastard child of the dreaded advertising media valuation. A practice which is, thankfully, being eradicated from all worthy public relations professionals by AMEC, CIPR and PRCA.
Can influencer marketing content really make an impact on factors like foot traffic, basket size and coupon redemption?