There are mainly two challenges in the influencer marketing industry; finding the right influencer and measuring the effect of the influencer campaign properly. I agree but I feel it is getting easier to find the right influencer thanks to many marketing tools. On the other hand, I think there are still many challenges and problems with the measurement side of things.
Many companies across the world have provided an influencer tool, and as a result, the advertiser can discover and then reach out to the right influencer through the platform. They can check out not only the number of followers but also their follower demographics at a glance, for example.
The most important thing for marketers is whether the influencer is right for the brand. If there is a massive gap between the demographics of influencer and brand, the influencer campaign would fall down sooner or later, so the number of followers makes no sense nowadays.
Moving beyond vanity metrics
In my opinion, the measurement of influencer marketing is especially challenging. There are many metrics like the number of likes and comments, engagement rates and so on in influencer marketing, but some of them are vanity metrics. How should we measure the success of an influencer marketing campaign? Which metrics should marketers pay attention to?
Of course, ideal metrics depend on each client and their campaign but many companies hope the cost of influencer marketing and sales profit are linked. When it comes to influencer marketing, adopting proper measurement is the key to success.
You might think this is a ridiculous question, but can we measure the offline impact of an influencer campaign? Influencer campaigns have an impact not only online but also offline. For example, the consumer who was influenced by their favorite social media influencers might go to a store and then purchase the item offline in the real world.
As a matter of course, we can’t track their behavior through technology as of now but we should include such a result as the performance of influencer marketing campaign. This kind of concept falls into not only influencer marketing but also other forms of digital advertising.
If we try to measure the offline impact of an influencer marketing campaign, there are two ways that we can adopt now. In a strict sense, these methods are not offline tracking, however, I think they can measure a total effect.
Earned media value (EMV)
When I have meetings with foreign partners, I often ask them a question about offline tracking. In many cases, they answer my question with the term, EMV as they think EMV is a useful metric. It is not difficult for the advertiser to estimate the total value of the influencer campaign with this metric.
It seems that EMV is already a common metric in the international market, but EMV is not common in the Japanese market that I operate in. Of course, many marketers already know its meaning, but we barely use it in the actual reporting. If we try to adopt EMV in influencer marketing, some clients might struggle to get accustomed to this strange word.
Brand lift survey
A brand lift survey is another way to estimate the impact of an influencer campaign comprehensively. Brand awareness is one of the most important results for brands and it is not difficult to use survey platform like Google Survey. The company can use a Google Survey service at an affordable price. In fact, Greg Jarboe, a Rutgers Business School instructor recommends this method in the Influencer Marketing Strategy course on Coursera.
A brand lift survey is one of the standard methods used in the Japanese marketing field. The downside of this method is far away from the sales profit. If the company focuses on the impact of their sales figure, this method won’t move them emotionally. This point might be an obstruction for some companies that want to measure how much influencer marketing contributes to sales figures.
Reviewing the gap between sales simulation and results
Though this is different from the above two methods, I want to introduce a unique case this Japanese company has adopted. Trenders is one of the major influencer marketing companies in the Japanese market. It has adopted a very unique method to measure the success of influencer marketing campaign. In particular, they give great weight to sales simulation.
They make a sales simulation before the campaign, and then review the gap between the simulation and results carefully. According to their strategy, reviewing the process is critical to an influencer marketing campaign. They say the influencer marketing campaign should be conducted through the PDCA process like other adverts.
The most interesting for marketers is how they try to make a sales simulation in their influencer marketing campaign, which you can see below:
(Awareness Conversion Ratio)
Assumed Brand Awareness Acquisition
(Purchase Conversion Ratio)
Assumed Quantity of Purchase
Assumed Sales Figure
Though there might be some controversy in their method, I believe making a hypothesis and then reviewing the gap between the simulation and result is excellent. I want to revert my eyes to their strategy and performance hereafter.
I believe offline tracking has massive potential in not only influencer marketing but also other digital marketing fields. If we can measure the effect offline, many companies including FMCG should decide to allocate their advertising budget to the digital marketing region more than now. The so-called influencer marketing industry will increase more and more. Of course, this is not easy. We have to get over many hurdles to achieve this goal. Is this a dreamy idea? I don’t think so.
As technology develops, we have overcome many barriers that we thought were impossible. So, to make our dreams happen, I believe we have to overcome our fixed mindsets. Who decides prematurely the effect of online marketing is limited within online? I think we should imagine an ideal situation at first, and then try to deal with these challenges without a fixed mindset.