Guest Post by Hannah Sollé
The search results around the terms ‚influencer’ and ‚marketing mix’ did not continue to soar throughout 2019 without reason. Businesses are increasingly investing in influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategies, but where are influencer marketing budgets really coming from?
The straightforward answer to this question would list the different sectors such as beauty, fashion and fitness and their proportional expenditure in the discipline. However, looking at where influencer marketing budgets are coming from on a deeper level, we can ask which marketing teams are investing in influencer marketing and how they are doing it. This aspect is oftentimes not considered but it can tell us much more about how the discipline is evolving.
Regardless of whether influencer marketing is handled in-house or externally, it has become clear that it is not only social media and PR teams who recognize the potential of spending their budgets on rising online stars; performance marketing teams are progressively devoting a higher proportion of their budgets in encouraging Instagram or YouTube personalities. Looking at who is spending in influencer marketing highlights the contrasting ways that it is being done.
Logically, these conversing approaches have their reasons in the cultures they stem from, yet exactly these divergences also illuminate shared learnings and a shift towards more universal conclusions about influencer marketing.
How to Measure the Success of Your Campaigns
Now that influencer marketing is no longer unfamiliar territory, the focus within the field has shifted to the establishment of viable partnerships with influencers.
The times when reach and engagement rates dominated as the single key performance indicators is a thing of the past, a factor clearly underpinned by Instagram’s test phase of removing likes on Instagram feed pictures. This test emphasized the experts’ rumble about the importance of a more considered approach towards the influencer business.
Furthermore, discussions at Germany’s 2019 Digital Marketing Expo and Conference (DMEXCO) highlighted the points of conflict arising in influencer marketing, namely the question of focus on content or its performance.
It is common knowledge that the key to measuring the success of influencer campaigns is dependent on a definition of a purposeful key performance indicator prior to the campaign, may this, for example, be brand awareness or sales generation. However, whilst the fundamental ‚how to’ component of measuring the success of influencer campaigns is dependent on the goals subjective to the specific case, movements in the industry have shown that isolating the two examples named above is indeed difficult and perhaps makes little sense.
Take an awareness campaign with reach as the predefined KPI. This campaign will, of course, generate sales for the advertised product. Likewise, a campaign focusing on sales generation cannot even exist without brand awareness. Therefore, it seems that separate approaches can be limiting and perhaps an attempt to unite the two provides a more lucrative ground for measuring success.
Joining these ideas could mean executing an influencer campaign with several key performance indicators, bringing branding and performance elements closer together. This strategy has already been floated but was often quickly dismissed, the reason being that influencers are not prepared to work with hybrid or performance-orientated models. Nonetheless, long-term success in influencer marketing is not only dependent on the progress of the given advertiser, but also of the collaborating influencer.
A too frequently forgotten factor in the measurement of campaign success is linked to the influencer’s insight of the success of their campaign, namely where certain transparency means that they are also able to understand how the campaign unfolded.
In order to achieve mutual transparency for advertisers and influencers alike, boundaries must be more clearly defined. Both advertiser and influencer need tangible results which enable them to make informed decisions, thus avoiding previous cases where collaborators may have been misled by the number under a picture, regardless of its importance in the success of the campaign.
In summary, whilst some say that many influencers are less inclined to take part in performance-related campaigns, an influencer’s creativity should not be a limiting factor to their knowledge of how the campaign worked. Advertisers and influencers must reciprocally understand campaign results to mark success and for this, professionalism and education is key. Don’t leave influencers in the dark!
How to Pay Influencers
Fairer and more transparently.
Conventionally, influencers are paid a fixed price in return for the desired service, whether that be a post, Instagram Stories or a YouTube integration. However, prices on the market are often obscure and little regularity highlights a need for clarity. Payment models allow grounds for uniting the content and performance elements of influencer marketing and offer a wide scope of flexible options that are beneficial for both sides of the collaboration.
Payment models should be attractive and risk-minimizing and this, yet again, for influencers and advertisers alike. Closely linked to how to measure success, the payment models of influencer campaigns can be combined just as well as the conceptual aspects.
Hybrid models with a fixed sum and a variable add-on recognize the influencer’s output and do not cap its potential.
Not only is the removal of likes important in this respect but also the increasing focus on Instagram Stories which facilitate tracking possibilities for more measurable payment methods. Advertisers and influencers must work together to find a satisfactory common ground and openly move forward together.
Hannah Sollé is Community Manager at hi!sharethat, a performance-based influencer marketing platform. Originating from London, she gained public relations experience in the beauty industry at a young age. Hannah soon developed a passion for relationship building, leading her to secure her first experience on the German market in the communications and social media team at GLOSSYBOX’s Berlin office. Seeing similarities in PR and influencer marketing, she decided to dedicate her career to the modern discipline. Starting in the influencer marketing industry with a stronger focus on awareness, Hannah then moved into the direction of performance marketing for a new challenge. Find Hannah on LinkedIn.