Influencer marketing sits at an inflection point. An oxymoron. It remains an early adopter category and yet the term ‘influencer marketing’ is more Googled than the phrase ‘social media’.
This month Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer resource company, held its inaugural London conference. We were there to share opinions on current and future trends with other influencer marketing technology companies, brands and marketers.
Here are some of the key takeaways we took from the one-day event.
Artificial Intelligence-powered influencer identification
Using artificial Intelligence (AI) for influencer identification and activation enables marketers to discover and measure strategies in real time.
Lyle Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Mavrck, and self-described data geek and hacker, explained how AI is transforming the future of influence marketing strategy, design, and performance.
Challenges marketers face when surfacing relevant influencers
Lyle also outlined six key challenges facing marketers when surfacing relevant influencers to work with:
- Single persona support
- Influencer inventory size
- Audience insights depth
- Follower fraud detection
- Hashtag & text reliance
- Brand safety
Influencer marketing more searched for than social media
Lyle Stevens shared the killer stat of the day, too. Globally the term “influencer marketing” is now searched more often via Google than the term: “social media”.
According to Google Trends, the tipping point came in February this year.
Influencer Marketing: From Experimentation to Transformation
And yet only 29% of companies have implemented, or are currently testing, structured influencer marketing programmes, according to Nicolas Nicolas Chabot, SVP EMEA, Traackr, the influencer management platform.
Nicolas argued that influencer marketing, as a discipline, goes beyond the comms function. During his session titled: ‘Influencer Marketing: from Experimentation to Transformation’ he shared research that shows at least three departments engage with influencers in most large organisations - predominantly marketing, social media and PR.
Influence is bigger than any one group, though, believes Traackr. It is about people and relationships. The opportunity for consumer engagement spans the entire journey.
Rather than battling over ownership, influence should look for cross-functional leaders with the ear of the C-suite. Nicolas believes influence should be elevated above the tactical to the strategic level.
Today less than a third of companies are using influencer marketing in structured programmes. By 2021 more than half (57%) of brands surveyed believe influencer marketing will be integrated into all marketing activities.
How to combat fake followers
Buying followers instead of organically building a loyal community is just one fraud issue influencers are using to grow their visibility. It’s becoming one of the biggest challenges marketers and platforms have to face when working with influencers.
"Don’t burn your money!", implored Simon Staib, co-founder at blogfoster, an influencer marketing platform. Simon explained some of the ways to identify, monitor, and solve the problem of fake followers and other fraud issues in influencer marketing.
How to spot fake followers:
- Spikes in follower growth
- Low engagement rates
- Implausible follower origins
- Unrelated comments on posts
- No or low follower activity
- Following / followers ratio
ROI Deep Dives
Understanding the return on investment (ROI) with influencer marketing can be complicated. This, despite the mountains of data available to marketers and brands.
Jesse Leimgruber, founder of platform NeoReach, had a pragmatic view of ROI. He distilled it to its most corporately realistic. To the survey question: ‘What is the most important metric for ROI?’ 56% of respondents replied ‘keeping a client or manager happy’.
‘Ignorance is bliss’ runs an old saying. To counter this the influencer marketing discipline needs to educate these same clients and managers about what questions to ask and what metrics to look for from influencer marketing campaigns.
With increased influencer marketing spend comes a greater need to demonstrate value ROI. This means accurate data and robust, independent campaign performance evaluation.
CampaignDeus is the leading independent provider of influencer marketing campaign data for Instagram and YouTube. Our platform identifies and classifies brand sponsored influencer campaign performance metrics, tracking hundreds of thousands of posts.
We use this data to provide Brands & Agencies with industry insights across verticals, benchmark campaigns against vertical & competitor averages, and equip clients with in-depth reporting and recommendations on how to make campaigns more effective. Get in touch for more details.