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How to ace the influencer marketing game in 2020

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Influencer marketing has proved to be a reliable marketing resource throughout the years.

A number of companies have allocated a large portion of their overall marketing budget to influencer marketing activations. It is a great way to get user-generated content, feedback from users/customers, improve brand awareness and increase sales (especially when a specific discount code or time-sensitive offer is used by an influencer in a TikTok video, YouTube video or Instagram story).

Yet, as we enter a new year, agencies and brands should be aware of the biggest challenges the influencer marketing industry will face in 2020. They should pay attention to the following:

  • How much do I compensate influencers?
  • What metrics should I track?
  • How to be truly authentic?

As the campaign budget expands, it becomes even more crucial to gauge compensation to the influencer and calculating payment isn’t as simple as one may think. In fact, calculating an amount per post published that is based only on the number of followers would not be accurate, since it is fairly simple to manipulate that metric (for example buying fake followers). A good number of brands and agencies pay influencers based on the number of followers and engagement rate. This is also additional metric that is easy to manipulate by purchasing fake likes or participating at engagement pods (private groups where influencers exchange comments to each others social media posts).

With that being said, a brand or agency should take more factors into consideration when it comes to compensating influencers and I’ve listed some of the main factors below:

  • Country of the influencer
  • Geo-location of the audience of the influencer
  • N. of followers
  • AQS (Audience Quality Score) that can be calculated using free tools online that analyze a sample of the followers of an influencer to find any fake profiles or follow/unfollow pattern
  • Quality of the comments: Are they related and specific to that content or just generic and full of emojis?
  • YouTube videos: are they strong for SEO? What’s the traction of a specific video? You can use a tool like VIDQ to make an- in-depth analysis
  • Time spent in: creating the storytelling, shooting a video or a series of photos, editing and post-production, number of contents sent to the client or agency for approval

Once you have decided on the amount that you are going to pay a specific influencer or group of influencers, it becomes crucial to track the right metrics that will determine whether or not your campaign will be successful. Before even beginning the campaign, the agency and the client have to be on the same page to avoid any miscommunication. KPIs and metrics have to be decided. KPIs and metrics depend on the type of campaign and goals of a specific campaign, but some examples could be:

  • Organic reach
  • User-generated content
  • Sign-ups generated on the client’s website
  • Number of download of the client’s app
  • Sales on an eCommerce
  • N of. Time a promo-code has been used during the campaign

It is important to remember that an influencer marketing campaign is not directly associated with generating sales or signups of an app. In fact, influencer marketing is one of the many touch points to get in contact with potential users and customers that will see the promotion from one of their favorite influencers, and they might activate and become paying customers or download the client’s app in a second moment. Results can even be seen weeks after the marketing campaign has been completed. For that reason, is important not to compare influencer marketing with display ads, programmatic or remarketing activities, as they are completely different ways to communicate to the users.

Lastly, It will be even more vital for influencers to be authentic in 2020. Users are enjoying less of the same perfect and aesthetic Instagram content. In turn, starting to prefer more raw photos and videos. TikTok is the best example of how to be authentic and relatable: Gen Z users want to feel accepted and share their emotions and feelings with other peers of the same age around the world. Less photoshop and more “be yourself” will gain some wins in 2020.

Alessandro Bogliari, co-founder and CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory.

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