As influencer marketing matures, it has moved from being perceived as an experimental marketing activation to being an established part of brands’ long term marketing strategies. Now, it is settling into its new stage of maturity as a marketing solution that drives customer engagement at every point in the marketing funnel. With this new level of maturity comes new perceived challenges, namely measurement.
Earlier this month, following their panel at MAD//Fest, Rob Sanders, Director of Measurement at Influencer sat down with Max Osborne, Co-Founder of ThisThat, an influencer marketing measurement and insight solution, to discuss the role of measurement in influencer marketing, how it is empowering brands, and why it's so important as the industry scales.
In the influencer marketing industry, metrics have always been front of mind, yet the way that this looks is really changing. As the industry has developed, so have expectations around measurement; brands are signing off bigger budgets and subsequently, requesting more clarity around campaign measurement.
Creators are experts at driving relevance within their community and are champions at building advocacy, two reasons why influencer marketing is so compelling for brands. But although its ‘effectiveness’ can be perceived as difficult to measure, the measurement of this marketing is no longer limited to just awareness, consideration, and conversion in campaigns. The metrics that we use to measure influencer marketing and its reach, engagement and value have evolved to reflect the changes in what we’re measuring.
As the industry has matured, Rob Sanders notes that we have seen a clear shift away from “vanity” metrics, such as likes, comments and follower numbers. Rob highlights the move by brands towards metrics that go deeper, instead measuring efficiency and scale, audience reaction, and business impact. But while these metrics provide a clearer picture of an influencer marketing campaign, both Max and Rob also emphasise the importance of a standardised and transferable set of metrics, in order to make campaigns easily comparable.
Capturing exposure data from brand lift studies can explain how to optimise future campaigns. Data from creators’ communities across key touchpoints, including platforms, paid and organic content, and ambassadors, is integral to painting a clear picture of the effectiveness behind brand campaigns; if the campaign increased awareness, shifted perceptions, drove relevancy, and whether that had an impact on purchasing decisions. Embedding these improved data sets and the whole host of richer insights found within, unlocks a plethora of opportunities that can collectively eliminate guesswork and allow brands to optimise future campaigns. This data is pivotal to the growth and success of measurement, and it's easy to immediately see the advantage that using this data brings.
Influencer marketing is predicted to see a 30% year-on-year growth, right through to 2030. To accommodate this growth, and drive efficiency throughout it, there is a real need for stronger adoption of brand lift as a measurement metric. Max delved into this, noting that “performance can be amplified, but effectiveness can’t, and to drive repeatable and scalable success, you need to understand why.”
To make this a reality for clients at Influencer - agencies and brands alike - Rob outlined that for Influencer, collaboration is pivotal: “We have the knowledge and expertise to make a campaign a success, but that works best when we are brought in early, when we can advise on strategy and creative, and when we can align our measurement goals and methodologies with the campaign objectives. This is how we work with our clients and what drives the biggest campaign successes for them.”
When campaign measurement is considered from a campaign’s inception, as Rob outlines, the objectives can be aligned with the KPIs that get measured, allowing the process to be both transparent and effective. It’s clear to see how Influencer’s collaborative approach to measurement naturally synergises the measurement focus of ThisThat.
An investment into insight is something that Influencer is championing and ThisThat is empowering, as the industry moves from early adopters to the mass market, selling on anecdotes isn’t good enough; we can provide evidence, and we should be. Stakes are higher, budgets are higher - guesswork is too big of a risk and no longer excusable. The industry needs to be providing confidence that is grounded in insight and quality data. As the industry scales, brands must consider measurement as primary for sustainable and long-term marketing growth, leaning on companies that are equipped with reliable and pioneering frameworks to empower them through the process.