New Byline: How To Make Retail Influencers More Accountable

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Our SVP of Partnerships Anshu Khurana has published a byline in Retail TouchPoints, shedding light on how brands can start to hold their influencer partners accountable for true business results. With influencer marketing investment continuing to grow year-over-year, it’s becoming more important for brands to see measurable results from the channel. Here is an excerpt from Anshu’s article:

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Anyone who has watched one or both of the recent dueling Fyre Festival documentaries was undoubtedly struck by one realization: Wow. Influencer marketing is powerful stuff. Of course, in this case, the success of influencers in driving paying attendees to the ill-fated festival isn’t a case study any reputable brand would be in a hurry to replicate. But the power of influencer marketing — particularly behind a reputable product — is undeniable.

Influencer marketing has been picking up steam for years now, and it shows no sign of slowing. By 2022, influencer marketing could reach anywhere between $5 billion and $10 billion. Even if you take the midpoint of that estimate, we’re still looking at a robust five-year compound annual growth rate of 38%.

As many as 65% of brands expect to increase their investment in the powerful channel of influencer marketing, according to research from the World Federation of Advertisers. That’s perhaps not surprising given that another recent study found that brands are seeing an average return of $6.50 on every influencer dollar invested. For some brands, that ROI reportedly reaches higher than $20 to every dollar.

All this growth and optimism around influencer marketing exists despite recently publicized concerns over lack of transparency within the influencer channel. Last year, Unilever CMO Keith Weed famously issued a call for greater transparency in the influencer channels, declaring that Unilever will not work with influencers who buy followers and would prioritize partners who increase transparency and help eliminate bad practices throughout the ecosystem.

Indeed, transparency must be prioritized within any growing channel if brand investment (and subsequent results) are to remain strong. And within a channel like influencer marketing, much of that transparency can be enabled through the right kind of measurement and incentivization programs between brands and their chosen influencers.

Unfortunately, to date, brands have struggled to hold their influencer partners accountable for true business results. The top success metrics employed in influencer campaign in 2018 were engagement (90%) and traffic and clicks (59%), according to BI Intelligence. True business metric impact metrics like conversions and product sales ranked lower on the list, at 54% and 46%, respectively. Meanwhile, the World Federation of Advertisers found that the main goals of brands in boosting their influencer investments included improving brand awareness (86%), reaching new audiences (74%) and improving brand advocacy (69%).

While awareness and audience expansion are noble pursuits, there’s no reason brands today shouldn’t be holding influencer marketing accountable for business results in the same way they do other digital channels. Part of the challenge is that some marketers don’t fully the possibilities for tracking and optimizing this important channel. Let’s dig into three areas where retailers have the opportunity to hold their influencer marketing spends more accountable.

 

Read the rest of the article in Retail TouchPoints.

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