Influencer marketing is evolving. For sure, newcomers are multiplying on the market, and offerings are expanding. Yet, its core topics are shifting too. We are now moving towards an increased ethical involvement, and action-oriented campaigns. Not to forget that these changes impact each and every way we measure performance! Let’s see just how.
Making sense of the influencers’ metrics again
In a pre-COVID world, influencer marketing had high expectations.15 billion dollars were too be invested worldwide for 2022. A trend that the Kantar Institute read through ever-rising budgets.
Yet, our times of economic recovery have also changed the rules quite a bit. Investments in influence -like any other marketing spending- took a hit. Influencer marketing probably won’t stand for 45% of the overall marketing budget -as planned. The sanitary crisis highlighted nonetheless the agility and resilience of its solution. In that sense, it is striking to note that most of the influence campaigns were postponed and not cancelled.
And here stands the biggest paradox. This very credibility and trust have been built on inadequate measurement. The Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) that are used to track influence results have more to do with the traditional media -than the specifics of influence.
EMV and AVE are not enough
EMV (Earned Media Value) and AVE (Advertising Value Equivalences) are among them. These methodologies are often likes because they translated the results of an influencer campaign into traditional media language.
Quite a tool way to ease the dialogue with the brands which are tiptoeing into the influencers’ world.
If these indicators are useful, for certain. Still we can count 2 limitations.
The authority of the source and the quality of the content are rarely taken into account. And those have a direct impact on the final results delivered by a campaign (and an agency!).
By trying to measure influence just like any other media offering, the specifics of the influence mechanics are forgotten. Because activations are often generating a diversity of content and (no 2 comments are alike!) new criteria could be put in place to measure influence properly by its own standards.
Until now, influencer marketing relied on two main KPIS : reach and engagement.
On the one hand, brands and agencies keep an eye on the Reach that is all about audience tracking and inherited the radio and TV’s culture of audimat.
On the other hand, the Engagement rate , which remains very “social media”-related, has been put forward since Reach got increasingly unpopular.
To sum up, influencer marketing, in 2020, still has no KPIS of its own.
How to be sure that we are, indeed, tracking performance with the right indicators?
How to “Marie-Kondo-ize” the influencer sector?
With the quarantine, the end of the ‘vanity metrics’ – number of followers, likes and comments – has not been so certain. ‘Stay safe, stay home’ gave a good boost to the socials traffic and the engagement rate per post upped to 61% in comparison to the usual (good) performances.
With the context, brands could have very well decide to pick only high following major influencers with high following. As consumers were locked-in, the priority could have been to ‘play safe’ and slide in favor of the safe-bets type of public personalities.
This has not been the case.
Firstly because figures show that influencers incomes have not increased during the period. Also, engagement and audience are not related that simply, and brands mainly wish for more engagement from their consumer community.
Margot Leblanc and Justine Oriol, micro influence experts at Talent Web Academy confirm that campaigns can over-perform without counting of famous youtubers or big PR budgets.
“We tend to hear that influencers with big following and high reach tend to have less engagement. It is correct but also not correct! We have the possibility to obtain good results with any size of following by targeting. This is why some micro influencers have only 2% of engagement while some mid influencers count up to 10% of engagement rate.”
How can we identify the profiles that will stand out? By igniting a deep cleanse within what we look for in profile and KPIS.
For both, the aim will be to separate buzz-effects from immersed criteria.
From Performance Indicators to Relevance Indicators
Quarantine or not, the goal would remains the same. A brand recruiting an ambassador should be able to access a ‘net popularity’. The ‘net popularity’ is simply the recognition that exists without the use of bots, purchase of views, and the highjacking of algorithms.
It is, simply put : ‘Popularity minus opportunist behaviours’.
Nowadays, our social media use quite a fair numbers of crawlers to detect fakeness. Some brands are careful enough that they asks to consult analytics from their remunerated influencers. They ask for a guarantee on their investment into real performances.
The angle could be completed since the beginning. The moment of recruiting could be as crucial for the conclusion as the writing of the post itself.
That is why you may want to consider Key Relevance Indicators instead of the usual Key Performance Indicators. Here are examples of what they could look like:
Regarding the Influencer Generated Content there first could be a scoring to evaluate the matchability of the profiles with the brands, its short and long term goals. Criteria?
–Editorial Relevance: beyond the influencer following, the content has to offer an added value or a continuity to the brand vision. A scoring could be useful to grade the alignment between both influencer and brand codes and values.
–Emotional Relevance: beyond the influencer content, beware of the emotion and intent that are put behind the message. You want just the right dosage. Content has to drive an experience that makes sense, feels right to the audience and has, therefore maximum impact.
–Occupational Relevance : the degree of professionalisation (or amateurism) of the influencers should match the campaign goal. You do not want high quality Instagram posts all the time. For example, a micro influencer feed, with a very edited aesthetic is not relevant to you if you only care about upgrading the sales and conversion rates. Nano influence is a better choice in this case as it plays on imperfect spontaneous feedback from the consumer.
Eventually, even with marketing spendings, “only keep what sparkles joy”. Return on Investment may be a satisfaction clue. Yet, influencer marketing is way too human focused to forget the creative and emotional side of the business. Rates are just not enough.
Looking for relevance is the challenge of today. It’s a means to add to business indicator that are already available today. It can also help secure the latter. Finally, Key Relevance Indicators may be the beginning of a different vision of the influencers, beyond figures and into accuracy and value-sharing: words that resonate spectacularly into our post-COVID landscape.
To learn more, contact us!
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