Every week it seems like a new influencer marketing provider pops up, many claiming to help address the criticisms surrounding the industry. From existing publishers to lounge room operators, everyone seems to be throwing their hat in the ring in some form or another.
But having more players in the space does not address the missing link currently facing influencer marketing. What we actually need is standardised best practice that all players follow.
At surface level, influencer marketing seems simple enough. Search social media and find influencers whose content aligns with your brand. Then just reach out to the influencer with a brief, negotiate a price, get the content published to watch the ‘engagement’ roll in. Simple right? There is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that make a campaign brand safe and successful. And without the experience, expertise or technology, it’s simply not possible.
Consider influencer brand alignment as an example. How comfortable would you be if an influencer you partnered with on a campaign had worked with a competing brand or perhaps, used an uncomfortable level of profanity in posts a year ago? Sure, you can manually vet an influencer’s content, but are you really going to go through every potential influencer, as well as thousands of their posts and comments to analyse each one? The sheer quantity of content and time-consuming nature of the process makes this impossible.
Once a campaign ends and you’re analysing your results, how do you measure them? You have 15 different influencers across multiple channels. They have a huge combined following, but where is that potential audience actually based? Are they in the target demographic? How many of these people actually saw the content and how is measuring that defined?
There’s a reason why some influencer marketing providers are investing big in R&D to develop sophisticated algorithms and AI technology that not only automates these processes but analyses and assesses data and other factors we simply can’t do on our own. This kind of data is so rich that it provides far more insight than other channels.
The industry is maturing. When due diligence is done right, influencer marketing is a safe and highly effective form of marketing. We regularly see influencer marketing campaigns well and truly outperform other digital channels and tactics, but it needs to be happening across the board.
We need industry standards that are demanded across the industry. Only then will the category be able to overcome criticisms and prove just how successful it can be.
Hypetap co-founder and co-CEO Detch Singh