Influence Marketing brings out the creative and authentic dimensions of marketing, while marketers were increasingly asked to focus on numerical data. We explain why Influencer Marketing is not an exact science and why it is unwise to associate it with overly precise performance objectives.

 Online marketing, the race for performance

Since the advent of online marketing, advertisers have been able to take advantage of the data generated (number of impressions, clicks) to know the real performance of their campaign, optimize it in real time, and release complete and detailed reports, including the all important Return On Investment (ROI), so complicated to calculate when it came to TV ads or billboards. Then the profession became even more professional, with new data, delivered thanks to trackers. It was now possible to optimize campaigns based on conversions, even if they took place outside the initial advertising medium, thanks to cookies stored on the user’s computer (somewhat against their will).

 

With Influencer Marketing, it’s difficult for the advertiser to accurately forecast such basic performance indicators as conversion rate or ROI. (Photo Credit: Rawpixel, Unsplash)

A Webmarketer’s job was therefore getting closer and closer to that of a data analyst. Job offers looked for “ data-driven” profiles . The very title of the job of marketing manager was called into question by the emergence of a new profile: Growth Hacker, responsible for generating growth, albeit while still using marketing channels, but more especially through optimizing with the sole objective of growth. In short: sales volume, A / B tests, real time indicators, scrutinise the ROI with a magnifying glass… enough already!

The questioning of numerical obsession

Kerplunk! Influencer Marketing arrived on the scene. Its main advantage: boost brand awareness, a difficult to measure asset in essence. Data freaks were suspicious of this new channel; invest without being able to predict the performance in advance? No way.

 

Influencer Marketing has allowed marketers who have tried it to often achieve performance that exceeds all expectations.. (Photo credit : Samuel Zeller, Unsplash)

And yet, Influence Marketing demonstrated that it was more efficient than all the other channels. As a consequence, whilst the effectiveness of social advertising on Facebook tended to decline, brands using influencers reported a surge in sales. Soon Influencer Marketing, despite its volatile nature, had become a must-have channel for everyone.

Unreliable numbers

As it is, the data exists, at the top of which is the number of followers on social media, or the traffic for a blog or influential site. But it’s risky to base all ones hopes and performance goals on it. Indeed, with blogs, it is necessary either to trust the figures announced, or use tools that provide an estimation, like Alexa. In both cases, the estimation cannot be 100% guaranteed. With social networks, the number of followers should be taken with a pinch of salt: it may have been inflated artificially using automation techniques, or be inherited from some “past glory” even when the influencer is no longer really authoritative.

 

Only the engagment rate really counts in the end. As an underlying factor, we find abstract values​such as the influencer’s reputation, audience perception, and the trust they have in him.

Have you checked carefully the reputation of the influencer or blogger with whom you want to associate your image? (Photo credit: Noelle Otto, Pexels)

Let’s go further: The personality of an influencer or blogger is as important as the number of followers or the traffic. Indeed, by associating your brand with their voice, your image mixes with theirs.

A trend towards rationalization

With Influencer Marketing capturing a growing share of the total marketing budget, it is natural to claim orders of magnitude if you don’t have precise and sure guarantees about the expected performance. We elaborated on this in our Influencer Marketing trends in 2018 article. However, Influencer Marketing can never be as predictable as an umpteenth Facebook or Google Adwords campaign.

Consequently, for any campaign, there will always be surprises, such as a micro-influencer’s post generating much higher traffic than their social reach might have suggested, or a mega-influencer offering a disappointing return on investment compared to hopes based on his notoriety. This brings less quantified dimensions to the core of the webmarketer’s job, so much the better.

 

Photo credit : Startup Stock Photos, Pexels

That being said, to avoid unpleasant surprises, you can also go through an intermediary. On the influential media side, getfluence.com offers more than 2,000 handpicked partners. A way to significantly reduce the risk inherent in Influence Marketing…