Influencer marketing is more and more popular day by day. Success stories and nightmares abound. Sadly, even some of the success stories read as nightmares when you look at them closely. It seems just getting a campaign out the door is deemed a success - metrics and results be damned.
Influencer Evaluation Criteria
One of the biggest issues with influencer marketing is that people are either unaware of how to evaluate influencers, or are too scared to call them out when something doesn't seem right.
So you don't get burned on your next influencer project, here are a few ways you can approach evaluating influencers to see if the ones you have in mind are worth your time and money.
Authenticity is a key success factor for influencer marketing. If the influencer is not authentic, their audience will not buy whatever it is they are selling. A big indicator of authenticity is how well an advertiser and an influencer fit together. If the two don't pair well together, fans will feel as though they are being sold. No one wants to feel like that.
The influencer will come off as greedy and only in it for the money, not actually endorsing brands/products they care about. Examples of good fit.
It is critical to verify that the influencer reaches the audience segment(s) relevant to you. There is no sense in working with an influencer who cannot reach - let alone influence - your target market(s).
- Gender Identification
- Geographic Location
- Income Bracket
- And more...
Clearly define your target market's demographic characteristics, and make sure it aligns with the influencer's engaged audience.
Just as important as demographic characteristics are psychographic characteristics. If the influencer in question has an audience that actively goes against everything your brand/product stands for, then it is unlikely any campaign will be successful at converting them into customers.
- Political Views
- And more...
You should have clear psychographic profiles drawn up for your target markets in order to compare with the influencer's audience segment(s).
Content Performance Statistics
It is imperative you check the influencer's content performance statistics so you know what you are buying into when you work with them. If you take it on faith that their success is real and thorough, you will most likely be burned at some point. A little due diligence goes a long way.
Content Completion Rates
If you pay for an integration and it appears at the 6 minute mark of a video, but the audience drops off at the 4 minute mark - you just wasted your money. Understanding average completion rates for different types of content the influencer publishes is important to your placement within the content.
Not all influencers are actually influential. Again, you should have an understanding of the average engagement statistics on the influencers content and campaigns. If the views are sky high, but the rest of the metrics (likes, shares, comments, CTR on CTAs, etc.) are non-existent, it is likely their views are padded by bots/fake accounts.
A truly influential influencer drives action - hence the term "influencer".
Influencers do fall from grace from time to time. Understanding the current climate around the influencers you are interested is very important. Even some of the world's biggest influencers have had severe issues causing brands to pull their advertising/sponsorships.
How well does the influencer's audience take to advertisers/sponsors? Even if all other factors are acceptable, if the audience hates that the influencer is beginning to align themselves with brands, your campaign may be ineffective in the end.
How well does the influencer resonate through their respective communities and media? The scale at which an influencer is influential varies greatly. When an influencer such as, Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins, announces a new endorsement/sponsorship - the media at large writes about it. However, a micro-influencer with only a few thousand fans will go unreported.
Previous Campaign Success
Not to be confused with content performance statistics, you should make sure that running a campaign has a high probability of success. Asking about previous campaigns, and what their outcomes were compared to content and spend will tell you whether or not it is worth it to run a new campaign with them.
It will also give you a clear idea of how the influencer monitors success from their end, and what capability they have to do so. Some influencers have no idea how to properly monitor the campaigns they run, and unfortunately brands do not always have the tools to do so from their side.
Again, not all influencers are created equally. Their success as an influencer does not mean they are necessarily capable of doing the work requested. If it involves graphics, extensive travel, familiarity with specific topics, advanced editing skills, acting, etc, it may be too difficult for the influencer to achieve.
How open is the influencer to sharing all of this information? When it comes down to it, some influencers keep this information to themselves as it would reveal they are as influential as a sack of potatoes. Other influencers may be relatively inexperienced and not know how to monitor and keep track of all of this information for potential advertisers/partners.
We hope this helps you on your next campaign. We are always interested in hearing about brand's stories of interacting and using influencers - whether they be a success or a nightmare. Let us know what your thoughts are on influencer marketing!