A measure of influence: Can you trust influencer marketing to deliver real engagement that leads to sales?

Influencer rankings aren’t so simple as looking at follower count, or even engagement rate. It’s really about the quality of an influencer’s following, and the likelihood that the following will engage with any sponsored content the influencer shares.

Influencer marketing specialists Lumio launched its proprietary Quality Score, which ranks the actual quality of an influencer’s followings. This is an essential metric for any marketer looking to use influencers in a campaign. According to the company’s announcement of the initiative, the score “shows how traditional metrics like the “engagement rate” and “total following” are less reliable when attempting to determine whether an Influencer is influential.”

Truth is that the metrics available to marketers on social platforms are quite limited — and this is by design. Social media companies want to control the ‘free’ metrics available publicly to those who aren’t buying ads on the platform. There’s no clear financial incentive to help marketers to identify influencers for campaigns paid for outside of the platform.

So it’s even more important for marketers to move past vanity metrics when selecting influencers to work with!

What’s in a score

It’s not so easy to find out how influential an influencer actually is. Influencer marketing is not yet an exact science. A score helps determine how valuable a network could be to a marketer. Or as Lumio CEO Dan Anisse puts it,

When an Influencer has better a Lumio Quality Score, the probabilities of the Influencer’s post actuallyreachingvaluable followers increases to your benefit. Similarly, when an Influencer has a lower Lumio Quality Score, this increases probabilities of the Influencer’s post being lost in the black hole of ever-growing Instagram feeds.

The analysis shows how many followers an influencer has that are loyal and engaged, as well as the overall blend of engagement rates.

The analysis also identifies how many of the following are influencers themselves — a sign that a particular influencer could be of a higher grade (or a part of a pod, see below). This analysis then makes it much easier for brands in the planning stage of a campaign to begin to build the right mix of participating influencers.

A Lumio influencer analysis.

Choosing influencers

The more valuable followers an influencer has, the more return a brand may get for its investment. It’s basically all about measuring the cost per valuable follower, rather than just looking at raw audience size, says Annise:

What we what we urge brands to do, instead of going ahead and spending money with 20 influencers, which will almost be $300-400 an influencer, we say let’s first analyze those influencers and then decide whether or not we’re going to go negotiate and actually run a campaign with them. You want to get a minimum of 100,000 followers, out of all your total influencers, to be able to drive an effective message.

Certain influencers also participate in what is known as ‘pods.’ These are groups of influencers that band together to comment on each others’ posts. This artificially inflates the engagement rate.

Thus, it’s essential to look at the percentage of an influencer’s following that also has a significant following themselves. While some influencers are just following others ‘at their level,’ a large group of influencers is something to investigate. Pods warp the true effectiveness of influencer marketing and can lead to serious wasted dollars. Always be suspicious of an influencer that appears to be engaged in pods. Look for repeated/automated comments and comments that don’t really appear to have anything specific to do with a post. These are likely bots or pods.

Why this matters to marketers

ROI is critical for all marketing. While there’s certainly a learning curve to most channels — and an allowance for some experimentation — ultimately marketers will move on from channels that do not perform. Influencer marketing is at that critical stage: some brands are wildly successful but many others have not seen the right return on the investment in influencers.

Chuck out all the fake ones who are charging an excessive amount of money, so we want to clean up that aspect. You want to make sure that we standardize it, almost like the Nielsen ratings so that people know what they’re paying for. And also to help facilitate a more sort of transparent transaction between the influencers and the brands.

Lumio hopes to integrate into platforms that rely on influencers, such as Instagram. This could lead to a sort of owned ‘Neilsen ratings for influencers’ that help both platforms and influencers codify their value to marketers. While this is a big ambition, it’s a necessary step as influencer marketing evolves. As more and more marketers get burned through low-performing campaigns and wasted budgets, the entire ecosystem is challenged. Buyer beware!

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash..

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Nick Vivion

About the Writer :: Nick Vivion

Nick helps brands blog better at Ghost Works, a boutique blog management service. Nick was previously the Director of Content for tnooz, where he oversaw the editorial and commercial content as well as producing/hosting tnoozLIVE.

 

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  1. Gramgenius

    Influencer really helps us a lot in terms of making our instagram accounts grow and gain more engagements so for me what I can say is choose the best influencer so we can make our account grows fast and safe.

     
 
 

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