Despite its popularity, influencer marketing is hard to get right.
The true value of influencers can be clouded by a lack of transparency in performance and actual impact on a brand. Many agencies aren’t helping this problem, either, as many like to puff out their chests and handwave superficial metrics around their influencer network.
How are brands supposed to get influencer strategy right (or differentiate between agencies) when these problems exist and their influencer marketing investment is at stake?
This is where an “always-on,” innovative approach to influencer marketing comes in handy, and one agency we spoke to, Ayzenberg Group, has developed their blueprint for it.
Ayzenberg is a full-service advertising agency with a focus on data-driven creative, digital, and social media influencer strategies. The agency’s influencer marketing is set up so that it integrates into an evergreen, long-term audience strategy for its brand partners. After all, why shouldn’t your influencer marketing work 24/7 for you?
We sat with the team at Ayzenberg to discuss their innovations behind this “always-on” strategy, and how it can help other brands and agencies maximize their influencer ROl, starting with three key steps:
- Understanding a brand and how an influencer strategy fits in
- Identifying like-minded influencers via metrics and overlaps
- Measuring outcomes and demonstrating success
Let’s dive in!
Focus on the Brand, Not Just Influencer Marketing
Does this pitch sound familiar? “We have thousands of influencers that would be perfect for your brand!”
It should — almost every agency attempts to prove their worth through their extensive network of influencers when brands ask about an influencer strategy that’s right for them.
Unfortunately, having thousands of influencers and creators doesn’t mean any of them are a good fit. As Ayzenberg’s team said, “Nobody should compete on influencer network size.”
Instead, agencies should approach influencer marketing with a thorough understanding of a brand’s ethos and goals before finding the right creative partners.
It’s also important for agencies to treat brand partnerships as long-term, “always-on” campaigns instead of just one-off projects.
“If we’re looking at how social is pivoting in the last 5-10 years, how are you creating evergreen content and how is the brand always in that conversation?” the Ayzenberg team said.
In order to do this best, an influencer marketing agency needs solid organizational alignment and operations working together towards this strategy. For example, Ayzenberg’s Influencer Orchestration Network (ION) blends art and analytics to help grade, identify, and integrate influencers into brand campaigns.
This is powered by Ayzenberg’s Marketing Science approach, which is an integration of traditional brand strategy and data intelligence. It’s a blend of man and machine pointed squarely at solving marketing’s toughest challenges, like influencer strategies, with the goal of crafting better brand-audience connection and more precise predictive capabilities.
From Ayzenberg’s perspective, these are the foundational elements of making social marketing work in today’s world. However, once agencies have this part down, they can move on to the next step with confidence: selecting the right talent.
Pick the Best Social Media Influencer for Brands
Identifying a social media influencer that’s the best fit for a brand can be tricky, but when they’re matched well, brands can reap huge benefits.
Ayzenberg’s ION team has built relationships with a diverse range of creators, and, as such, is able to provide a flexible selection process. Essentially, ION helps brands pick the best influencer instead of telling them who the best fit is.
Any influencer marketing agency that wants to do the same should ask themselves if an influencer’s audience overlaps with the brand’s. Do their audiences watch similar content? Are they creating similar content?
This is where data can inform an influencer strategy to make partner decisions with confidence. Ayzenberg relies on Tubular data for understanding variables which impact the strategy and approach of a campaign, including:
- Health metrics: What is the influencer’s long-term viability? Is their channel/online presence growing or is it stalling?
- Raw metrics: Ayzenberg considers the number of views, engagement, share of voice compared to other influencers, and the ability to reach international audiences and regions (since ION’s campaigns are international by nature, it’s very important to understand the health of the regions and their consumption habits).
- Brand fit: It’s more measurable than you’d think! Ayzenberg uses Tubular’s Audience Also Watches feature to understand audience overlaps and look at affinity charts in order to answer key questions like:
- How do influencers resonate with our current audience?
- Are the products that we’re asking them to promote within their wheelhouse?
- Can this influencer help us hyper-target and reach people we weren’t normally reaching?
With this information, Ayzenberg can assess the conversion efficiency of an influencer.
By looking at various time period correlations surrounding influencer activity, Ayzenberg can understand the impact they made on the entire funnel, from increased awareness to website visits to clicks, and eventually, conversions for products.
Once the right influencer is picked, the final step is measuring the outcomes of each campaign and influencer integration.
Measure the Effectiveness of Influencer Marketing
The art behind social media influencer selection and creative is important, but doing business with brands requires the ability to effectively communicate performance and ROI of influencer marketing efforts.
As such, benchmarking and reporting content is the best way to demonstrate long-term and repeated success.
Ayzenberg has implemented this benchmarking process down to a “T.” Having a wealth of information from solutions like Tubular allows its ION team to be able to go back to their brand partners and prove that a given influencer is reaching the people they set out to.
For example, Ayzenberg can say its influencer efforts are doing X-times better at engaging audiences than another given how big or small an influencer is. This helps them with micro-targeting certain segments that their brand partners are trying to reach.
Ayzenberg can also lean on some of its own proprietary tools to measure social content valuation as a part of the analytics mix. Social Index, an earned media value calculation, dynamically generates daily values across all major social networks for each platform’s engagement types (likes, shares, comments, etc.). The result is a measurement of brand performance in actual dollars.
Finally, ION understands that true brand performance can only be evaluated against its most critical KPIs. Advanced analytics is done across an ecosystem of metrics and through the entire funnel (awareness, consideration, conversion) to correlate influencer performance to desired outcomes (increased engagement, more web traffic, sales lift, decreased CPA, etc.) specific to their campaign targets.
All of these benchmarks contribute to the ultimate success of an effective influencer marketing agency and its strategies. Of course, success is dependant on initial goals and KPIs, which can differ from client to client.
However, influencer marketing can provide amazing ROI when using this “always-on” approach — the data doesn’t lie.
Want to learn more about how audience insights can help your influencer marketing strategy?