Influencers Media Measurement Social Media

The ‘true human influence’ manifesto: leveling up influencer marketing measurement

By Ben Jeffries, chief executive officer



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

Find out more

August 15, 2023 | 7 min read

Ben Jeffries of agency Influencer lays out his vision for a step change in influencer marketing: new ways to understand and measure ‘true human influence’.

A finger, knocking over a row of dominos

How can marketers get closer to understanding the true nature of human influence? / Bradyn Trollip via Unsplash

The greatest marketing comes from people we know. When you’re looking for your next purchase, friends and family that you trust, telling you about something they love, will always be more convincing than an impersonal ad. In fact, word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends is the second-highest driver of discovery of new brands and products.

Unfortunately, the authenticity of word-of-mouth advertising from friends and family can’t be done at scale. But influencer marketing provides a close and scalable alternative.

Creators now sit in social feeds side-by-side with friends and family, and the lines between friend, family and creator are increasingly blurred. This authenticity that creators have with their audiences means that influencer marketing can generate what I call ‘true human influence’.

What drives true human influence?

True human influence is what we achieve when we build meaningful relationships between brands, creators, and audiences. Crucially, it’s about going beyond likes and impressions. Maybe you can’t remember the last post you liked on Instagram, but can you remember the last TikTok creator review your friends were talking about, or the product you bought after seeing your favorite creator recommend it?

True human influence looks at this human impact of creator content, whether that’s audience reaction, improved brand metrics, or higher sales and ROI.

When brands work with creators, true human influence propels them into spaces where audiences are more receptive to them. Creators have generated genuine trust and real influence with the communities and consumers that they connect with. 85% of gen Z report that social media impacts their purchase decisions and influencers are among the biggest drivers of purchase decisions amongst gen Alpha, second only to their friends. True human influence spotlights this impact of influencer marketing, and shows that the role of creators in the consumer purchase journey is becoming increasingly important.

The collaboration between creators and brands is expanding beyond organic social media posts, as creators increasingly appear in content across traditional channels like TV and out-of-home. Working with influencers is no longer a short-term test or experiment but a key creative and marketing tactic in its own right, and it’s becoming critical to long-term strategy.

Measuring influence

Unsurprisingly, investment in influencer marketing is set to grow and grow. In 2022, influencer marketing was a $16.4bn industry; that’s predicted to increase by 29% in 2023 to $21.1bn. As the category takes up more of global marketing spend, brands are demanding more from the measurement of their influencer marketing investment. While consumers have built clear trust in creators, brands still need evidence of the true human influence that their campaigns are delivering.

Social media metrics, such as likes and views, can provide indications of overall campaign performance, but they only go so far. To measure true human influence, existing measurement techniques around audience response and conversion need to be adopted more widely, and more traditional methodologies such as brand lift and creative effectiveness must be adapted to measure creator content as well.

These new approaches are providing us with a clear understanding of the creator-consumer relationship and the impact of true human influence throughout the marketing funnel, whether it’s increasing brand awareness and changing brand perceptions, or driving conversions, sales, and ROI. By measuring true human influence, we can provide brands with an accurate understanding of how their creator campaigns are impacting consumers, and the impact of the relationships that creators are forming within communities around their brand.

It’s crucial that measurement of true human influence is made a foundational practice in building creator campaigns and partnerships, providing brands with full visibility of the impact of those campaigns, and generating a wider picture of the scale, impact and success of influencer marketing in the wider market.

The power of measuring the True Human Influence of creator campaigns is pivotal for the future of marketing, and the brands that successfully achieve it will reap long-term success.

Suggested newsletters for you

Daily Briefing


Catch up on the most important stories of the day, curated by our editorial team.

Ads of the Week


See the best ads of the last week - all in one place.

The Drum Insider

Once a month

Learn how to pitch to our editors and get published on The Drum.

Influencers Media Measurement Social Media

Content by The Drum Network member:


We are the originators of influencer marketing.

Influencer is an agency built at the intersection of creativity, data, and technology with a unique ‘people...

Find out more

More from Influencers

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +