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What does the future of influencer marketing look like for advertisers?

Influencer marketing has evolved over the last 10 years and dominated the modern-day market. As the market has grown, with Forbes citing brands are set to spend £7billion+ on influencer activity by 2020, there has become a greater demand for ways of buying influencer activity. Initially, this involved going directly to an influencer with a proposition to promote a brand or product. However, networks quickly caught on to the growth of influencer activity and have since adapted.

Now, buying influencer activity is more accessible than ever, and on a much larger scale. Networks have developed audience technology and tools, that help to plan activity and identify credible influencers that will align with the campaign’s objectives. Impact, for example, utilises a database of over 84 million global influencers that helps to locate and recruit the most relevant influencers for a campaign.

Largely, brands were using influencers to primarily build brand metrics, which generally are softer measures such as likes and shares. However, as the way we buy influencer activity has evolved, the process of measuring this activity will need to catch up.

Nielsen has launched a solution, which evaluates the effectiveness of influencer marketing and helps advertisers to determine the impact of their influencer campaigns. The tool will help to measure the ROI of an influencer campaign, rather than relying on softer engagement metrics: likes, followers, shares and views. The effectiveness will help brands and agencies to measure success against the likes of ad recall, brand awareness, favourability and purchase intent. The tool will also help to align brands and influencers based on content metrics, which in turn should help to increase direct response within influencer marketing.

Nielsen’s methodology involves the responses and engagement of real people who follow influencers to determine how effective activity has been. Those that follow an influencer included on a media plan fall under a ‘test’ group, and those that do not follow the specific influencer fall under the ‘control’ group. During a campaign, a brand KPI survey is directed to both groups and the analysis is done by comparing the engagement of the test group vs the control group.

All Response Media viewpoint
Though the advancement of measuring influencer activity is positive, there will be challenges with attribution akin to, for example, online video. However, unlike online video, this is further amplified by the loss of control an advertiser has on an influencer’s behaviour. The tone of voice the influencer portrays via their content, format and channels could impact a user’s opinion on a brand they’re endorsing. Social monitoring tools have been around for a long time, but by Nielsen weighing in, it allows influencer marketing to adopt a more universally accepted language of measurement as other offline and digital channels. Nielsen also brings gravitas and therefore we can expect there to be greater trust in the way influencer activity campaigns can be evaluated.

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