Marketers and agencies need to better represent the business impact of influencers, argues Lewis Shields, social media strategist at comms agency N2N Communications, in this opinion piece.
Agencies of all sorts have been quick to jump on the increased appetite of clients to include influencers as part of their campaigns. This free-for-all, which has really come to a head over the last 12 months, is producing some really interesting methodologies of best and not-so-best practice.
What’s interesting to see is that, although agencies are absolutely taking on these learnings and evolving their practices, for the large part we’re not seeing influencers develop more sophisticated approaches for how they work with brands – and ultimately it could screw up their opportunity.
Before I go on, I want to clarify two points straight up. First, I don’t claim influencers should have the marketing acumen to independently deliver insightful analytics and campaign reports (and many influencers do provide good campaign insights). Second, I’m not suggesting marketing colonises influencers, to bastardise their existing content to satisfy the requirements of their clients.
What I do believe is that both marketers and influencers must collaborate more closely to develop meaningful ways of analysing the communities clients are paying them to influence. Failure to do so creates risk that the market will move on as clients want to know that what they’re paying for works.
Do influencers need to back it up?
In 2015, can any marketer worth their salt really recommend their client invest money in a channel based on casual observations? “They dress well, have x thousand followers and their Instagram regularly gets hundreds of likes” is about the level of justification some agencies are putting up for big ticket activities. But unfortunately the truth is, at times, these observations are all agencies have to work with because many influencers aren’t capable of providing the level of audience insight we’ve come to expect from working with media and social.
As more tweens realise their aspirations of becoming ‘insta-famous’, the fickle nature of this digital fame gives rise to more opportunity for brands to engage influencers across the board. The Australian market is stand-out, in that influencers of all levels are incredibly commercially savvy when it comes to working with brands. What lacks, for the large part, is their savviness in backing this up with why they’re worth the cost – outside of likes and reach.
And here lies our problem – how can this influencer boom be sustainable if the majority of the individuals can’t effectively define nor evaluate their audiences in a meaningful way. The answer is they can’t – but is that really their problem?
Is it our agenda or theirs?
Preserving the integrity of the channel is a topic I do love to harp on about – but it’s especially true for influencers, because it’s people, not social posts or technology we compromise. For many, their passion for their area of interest is self-satisfying. Some don’t know the audience break down of their Facebook page, some don’t even have website analytics – but should they care?
In short, yes. If they want brands and marketers to engage them over a sustained period of time to support commercial activity – they need to give us the data for us to hold them up as a success.
But it’s not all on them.
We need to represent
Marketers must be more attune to the fact they need to give influencers the tools to succeed and demonstrate their worth. Without a doubt there are influencers who can represent themselves – and make a decent living by being an influencer. But there are others, who aren’t naive – they’re just less fazed – and don’t want to productises their passion project.
Regardless, if influencer marketing is going to be sustainable we need to define and implement ways of measuring which make it easy for influencers and meaningful for clients. The best approach to this analysis is actually emerging from the agency village scrum. Messaging insights from PR, earned chatter through social, referral traffic and conversion from digital and brand perceptions from ad land have the potential to turn influencer marketing into one the most sophisticated channels outright.
So while marketers develop the sophistication of their campaigns, we must also work to better educate influencers on our expectations on them to demonstrate the tangibility of their outputs, and broader commercial impact. However, humanising this approach is key – these are people, and we need to be responsible in balancing expectations with what’s acceptable. Ultimately, it’s up to agencies to support influencers and not screw up the value they create – otherwise no one wins.
Marc Collister (pictured) of P2 Content Creators spills the beans on his 2024 predictions drawing from two decades of experience in the advertising, film and television industry. I’m certain it will come as no surprise that in 2024, we can expect our industry to move at breakneck speed again. With even more rapid shifts in […]
Reddit’s annual Recap report has revealed the issues and moments that captured Australia’s collective mind over 2023 with, naturally, the Matildas featuring high on the list. The inaugural Australia-hosted Women’s World Cup saw Aussies glued to the footy (or, indeed soccer) with one enterprising user capturing the moment that Cortnee Vine scored the winner against […]
Zeno Australia has announced expanded creative design capabilities and the appointment of Jim Michell (lead image) to its senior leadership team. The new moves support strong growth in the region. Zeno Australia’s clients, including Abano Healthcare, Motorola and Yorkshire Tea, can now tap into a suite of creative design services to augment the agency’s work […]
Spikes Asia, APAC’s most prestigious and sought-after Award for creativity and marketing effectiveness, has revealed its 2024 Jury line-up today. The 93 industry experts from across 18 markets represent APAC’s leading talent from a diverse range of disciplines. 2024 sees the highest representation from brands, including Budweiser, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and, for the first […]
Assembled Media, is drawing upon the creative power of TikTok Creator Marketplace to help generate unique, impactful content for iconic stationery brand, BIC. The social activation campaign titled ‘A Pen for Every Side of You’ promotes the flexibility of BIC’s 4 Colours pen and is active nationwide on the BIC Stationery TikTok account. The campaign […]
Pinterest reckons jellyfish & moody cowboys will be big in 2024. Refused to be drawn on the return of shoulder pads.
IAB Australia has launched ‘Evolution in Market Mix Modelling’, the fourth module in its Marketing Measurement Innovation Series, which has been developed by IAB Australia’s Ad Effectiveness Council. The module explores what is driving the increased use of MMM and how the technique is evolving with advances in computing power and machine learning to provide […]
Scope3, the collaborative sustainability platform leading the decarbonisation of media and advertising, announced the addition of digital out-of-home (DOOH) to its emissions measurement. With DOOH ad spending predicted to grow from $17B in 2023 to nearly $24B by 2028, measuring this channel brings us one step closer to understanding the total impact of digital advertising […]
NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific, is now open for online registrations for the main conference. Jointly organized by the National Retail Federation and Comexposium, Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific will take place from 11 – 13 June, 2024 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore and is expected to draw thousands […]
Following a period of significant client growth, leading auto marketing agency, DBC2 has appointed Jason Fisher (lead image) to the newly created role of CEO. The appointment is part of DBC2’s long term growth strategy ahead of the agency announcing a brand refresh and expanded proposition in early-2024. As a new shareholder of the business, […]
Don’t treat regional media as a charity, but a real growth opportunity: That’s the message from Boomtown’s final masterclass of 2023, attended by almost 100 media industry representatives from across the nation. The masterclass was part of a series of educational sessions, delivered by Boomtown, the media collective championing advertising in regional Australia. The sessions […]