Why brands are failing to measure influencer activity and what to do about it

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By Stephen Firth - Managing Director

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THE PROBLEM

Although 89% of advertisers are working with influencers only 29% have results to prove it’s effective. This strikes us as unbelievable and possibly even irresponsible in an industry demanding attribution and ROI on all activities. And especially when influencer marketing is experiencing exponential growth with estimates that it’ll be a $5-10 billion market by 2020!

In the study we recently conducted in association with ISBA (Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) even of the 29% who have results 85% of those are relying on simple and inconclusive metrics such as Reach and Engagement.

With the average brand spending £50k per campaign, running on average 5 campaigns last year and with 80% looking to increase investment in influencers this year this is another case of the marketing industry jumping on a bandwagon with no real evidence of its impact. In the research only 40% even felt confident that their activity was working.

Quite frankly not good enough! There really are no excuses for brands and agencies not to be measuring the impact and proving the business case for further investment (or not as the case may be), or simply making activity more focussed and effective.

We believe that it’s a critical first step that KPI’s and measurement infrastructure are developed as part of the initial strategy, considered throughout the campaign development process and reviewed on an ongoing basis once the campaign is live. Based on the research data this well established discipline seems to have been forgotten when it comes to influencer activity.

THE SOLUTION

As a native digital and social agency we’ve been working with influencers from our humble beginnings over 10 years ago. They’re not a new fad for us, although the volume of work we’ve done has grown exponentially over the years, they’ve simply been part of our everyday vocabulary.

From working with street artists to create limited edition bikes for Specialized in 2007 to getting independent product reviews in the top 10 natural Google search for Philips in 2010 to more recent collaborations for car launches with Hyundai. Influencers are simply part of what we do when the brief and objective calls for them.

As an agency that ‘Thinks’ first we developed an Influencer Accountability Framework that is based on our experience over many years and which helps us plan and execute measurement for all our influencer campaigns. The approach will of course depend on the main objective and budget however using this framework ensures an informed and educated conversation, clear plan of action and management of stakeholder expectations throughout, and more specifically at the end of the campaign.

THE APPROACH

As with most of these things it doesn’t need to be rocket science however understanding different measurement methodologies and how influencer activity actually works is imperative. The real skill comes in the actual set-up and management of the measurement frameworks created.

We apply the ‘See, Think, Do, Share’ model to the framework. It’s simple to understand and everyone is familiar with it. One caveat with this however is not to take it too literally as it creates structure for the framework only. You’ll already be aware that the linear purchase funnel is anything but and that all brands need to consider the ‘Shoppertunity’ throughout and at the most relevant times within the customer purchase journey.

From the funnel stages you are then able to ascertain the Goal at that stage, the most appropriate KPI to measure success for that goal and the different methods available in order to provide quantifiable results.

Using this model and our own research we’ve been able to identify what ‘Uplifts’ you might expect when running influencer campaigns compared to standard campaigns. It’s based on some primary research that we conducted during 2017 for influencer activity across hundreds of brands and campaigns and provides a benchmark to work from. The uplifts correlate with the activity that we run for our clients with the usual outlier that outperforms considerably.

THE EVIDENCE

We’re implementing the framework for a number of clients including Visit Britain who work with literally hundreds of influencers from different parts of the world each year. The complexity of their activity is staggering however through our model and the creation of a bespoke dashboard we are helping them makes sense of the data and make better and more effective decisions when it comes to working with influencers.

Five different data feeds from different sources feed our analytics system and create a KPI dashboard which can be filtered by various variables such as market, influencer typology, audience and channel, providing actionable aggregated and detailed data driven insights.

The consideration and application of this framework is enabling more robust measurement and we’re on a mission to help educate brands with the objective of next years research with ISBA making more positive reading with a swing to quantifiable influencer impact rather than a lot of head scratching or gut feel.

If you would like to find out more feel free to get in touch.

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