Evaluating the Influence of Influencers

April 11, 2017

Evaluating the Influence of Influencers

The word Influencer evokes a withering feeling in many. Huge numbers of ‘followers’ are the subject of Modern Myths…with people repeating the throw-back line:
“A million followers? Yes, but aren’t they all old men somewhere overseas just ogling at the posing girls?”

Criticism and reality checks are always part of the evolution of a new way of working. As with everything there’s good and bad. Companies and agencies have to make their own decisions by evaluating engagement and the comments and conversations at the bottom of an Influencer’s post. If you’re a brand spending money on a campaign with an Influencer; always measure the ROI. Here we find out about a new way of measuring what works and what doesn’t.

What defines an Influencer? There is no doubting the impact that Influencers are having on trends, culture and on brands, but how do you measure the influence of Influencers? Edelman Australia, Associate Director, Content, Pauline Linton, shares the latest insights on influence.

"Targeting and reaching consumers has become increasingly difficult for marketers. There is no end to the amount of content, information and entertainment competing for our attention. Marketers have been forced to rely on paid advertising and sponsored posts with Influencers to ensure their content is seen – but even that is rife with obstacles.

In this crowded and confusing environment how does a brand effectively apply its media spend in a way that surpasses these obstacles as well as consumer skepticism? Trusted Influencers. According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, 65% of respondents rate “a person like yourself ” as a credible or extremely credible spokesperson. So, by partnering with the right Influencers, brands can create content that their consumers want, ultimately increasing trust and engagement for the brand.

Edelman has spent the past 12 months studying Influencer trends and mapping and has launched a proprietary Influencer Mapping Tool, to help brands better drive their Influencer strategy for more meaningful and measured results. Here are our top predictions for Influencer marketing in 2017.”

1. More brand-owned and led programs:
So, you have a list of ‘Influencers’, they all have big followings, and you want to do something with them. Stop. Wrong way. Go back. This happened and failed way too many times in 2016. This year, we’ll see brands starting with the end in mind. Thinking first and foremost about what they’re trying to achieve, what their consumers want, what they’re talking about and with whom, understand the forces (today and tomorrow) that are impacting the brand as well as consumers and design a program accordingly. And it’s only then that we’ll see them casting the right Influencers for that program. Most importantly, owning the program makes it easier to measure; and with increasing pressure for marketers to rationalise spend and prove ROI, Influencer marketing will need to become much more measureable. 

2. The “mass Influencer” deal has become more complex than ever: 

As the popularity of mass Influencers increases, the approach to such deals will need more scrutiny than ever. Brands should consider the value of the overall program when evaluating an expensive Influencer partnership. With return on investment being a top consideration, brands should weigh the total cost of talent, production and promotion against specific deliverables including total engagement, conversation volume and conversion. Think: is paying that beauty blogger, who claims to have 1 million followers on Instagram, your entire campaign budget to post an image you have no say over, the right thing to do?  In 2017, brands will smarten up to the complexities around legal and business affairs as these will only increase. As agents get more involved with Influencers, points such as usage, exclusivity and content ownership will be key elements of the contracts.

3. The Rise of Micro-Influencers:

Micro-Influencers are classified as social personalities with 1,000 to approx. 10,000 (100,000 in the US) followers and often have deeper engagement and therefore actual influence over their communities than ‘Mass Influencers’ do. Their audiences generally act with more passion as they feel a greater sense of relatability and connection to the ‘Influencer’. Rather than partnering with one person on a major activation, we’ll start to see brands develop strategic, scalable, always-on programs and work with several Influencers over the course of their marketing calendar.

4. Influencers have become/created their own brands:

While some Influencers will use their personality to create a brand and publishing ecosystem, others will pursue ventures ranging from clothing to tech. This year, brands will embrace the Influencers’ own thoughts, opinions, pens and cameras and work with them in more of a co-creation capacity, rather than simply as amplifiers. It’s vitally important that brands don’t let the Influencer’s ‘brand’ outshine their own. In 2017, we’ll see a lot more genuine collaboration and partnerships between brands and Influencers.

Key take-outs

The key take-outs for a successful Influencer program are:

  • Don’t let Influencers be an afterthought.
  • Don’t rely on the size of their Instagram following to dictate your approach.
  • Do familiarise yourself with the shifts in the Influencer landscape and know what they mean for your brand and your marketing plans.

In this crowded and confusing environment how does a brand effectively apply its media spend in a way that surpasses these obstacles as well as consumer skepticism? Trusted Influencers. According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, 65% of respondents rate “a person like yourself” as a credible or extremely credible spokesperson. So, by partnering with the right Influencers, brands can create content that their consumers want, ultimately increasing trust and engagement for the brand.

For further information on Edelman’s Influencer Mapping program, contact: Pauline Linton, Pauline.Linton@edelman.com.




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