The metrics that matter in influencer marketing: ROI and brand safety

Nick Hinchley
By Nick Hinchley | 9 March 2022
Nick Hincheley

As influencer marketing scales at pace, the discipline needs to move beyond likes and shares to metrics that matter to marketers – ROI and brand safety. MediaCom Group Digital Director Nick Hinchley outlines how new tech and accountability underpins the growth of influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is growing globally at a rapid pace, according to colabster’s ‘2022 Influencer Marketing Report’ the market grew 42% year-on-year  globally in 2021 and its projected that this will grow to a USD $15 billion market by the end of 2022.

The reason for this surge is twofold, first consumers inherently trust the influencers they follow for brand and product recommendations with most consumers more likely to buy a product that is promoted by someone they follow compared to seeing a traditional ad. Also 2021 saw Apple crackdown on data collection impacting platforms like Facebook and Snapchat. As a result, advertisers who were dependent on social ads were forced to investigate other methods to get in front of consumers and influencer marketing became a preferred method of advertising.

But as marketers and brands adopt to this new channel in their media mix, how do they approach measuring ROI and brand safety?

Many brands have reported uncertainty about the ROI of influencers, a WARC survey of over 1,000 marketers in 2021 found that three quarters of brands ay they are unsure about the bottom-line return of influencers.

Issues around transparency, verification and exactly what brands mean when they talk about success are highlighted. There are multiple metrics that can be used such as reach, engagement rate, follower count but many of these can be calculated in different ways or may not show a true representation of the performance of the campaign.

It becomes hard to compare influencer marketing with other channels, having no apples to apples comparison other than reach. With the main two barriers to influencer marketing being reach, ‘am I actually reaching my target audience when I work with influencers?’, and ROI, ‘how do I track return on investment in a way that’s comparable to all my other activity?’

While this channel is growing there is a clear opportunity for a better measurement approach. As part of our work with AiMCO, MediaCom has introduced standardised metrics across influencer marketing. This is aimed at providing more consistency and transparency in the metrics that are commonly used to make them comparable across all activity and with other channels.

At MediaCom we have a tried and tested approach to deliver on influencer campaigns which includes; Audience Planning, Profile & Creative, Contracting & Technical Production, Activation & Optimisation and Analytics and Insights.

Here in Australia platforms like INCA are being developed to help tackle some of these issues with market specific solutions for advertisers. INCA is GroupM’s creator marketing platform which helps streamline the campaign process and can work to fixed deliverables agreed at the start. Allowing brands to better understand who they are reaching ands how many people, giving them a clear and standardised metric across influencer marketing.

GroupM’s creator marketing platform INCA also addresses the issue of brand safety, using tech to assess each influencer’s relevance to a brand/campaign by tracking their past posts and campaigns across other brands, ensuring that brands don’t engage with influencers that don’t match their brand values or safety requirements.

All of this combined allows us to understand a brand’s audience, ensure that we have the right influencers for both brand safety and campaign objectives, have correct contracts in place with influencers for usage, optimise the campaigns to the best performing content and report based on a combination of influencer metrics, media metrics and beyond.

This framework aligns influencer marketing to work alongside other marketing channels in a holistic and measurable way. We believe in seeing the bigger picture, taking a step back to ensure that a brands marketing is having a significant impact on their marketing investment. This means moving away from metrics that are vague or unclear and work towards driving tangible impact to brand building or generating sales. Just like any other marketing channel, we can talk about reach and engagement all we like, but if a campaign is not impacting the reputation of a brand or growing their sales, is it really working?

Nick Hinchley, MediaCom Sydney Group Digital Director

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