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How Market-Level Insights Will Change the Way You Invest in Influencers

Oct 16, 2019

If knowledge is power, insights are superpowers! For influencer marketers, we know it’s been challenging to develop data-driven strategies and measure performance because of a lack of market-level insights.

That’s why we launched Influencer Market Benchmark (IMB) earlier this year. In short, IMB provides you with a market-level view of influencer performance compared to your competition. Since then, we’ve helped our customers leverage insights at the market, program, and campaign level to deliver stronger influencer marketing results.

In this post, I break down what it precisely means to take a data-driven approach to influencer marketing and explain how I’ve seen brands change their strategies after peeling back the curtain on their performance within their own market.

Set Smarter Targets

Setting the right targets for our campaigns and programs is essential. Yet, all too often we don’t know exactly what we should be aiming for, so we resort to vanity metrics. Alternatively, it’s easy to brush off brand rankings that seemingly never change meaningfully -- if you’re a young brand, it hardly makes sense to compare yourself to giants. So how do you set smart targets?

One way is to look at KPI averages across a category (eg: makeup mentions in beauty, engagement with athleisure brands, etc.). With this vantage point, we can start to set benchmarks for where we want to get. It’s important to ask the right questions based on your business goals.

For example, I was looking into average engagement rates among U.S. beauty influencers talking about makeup brands in the first half of 2019. Across the board, the average engagement rate in the makeup category is 1.91%. However, if we narrow our view to just one platform, like Instagram, engagement rates with makeup brand mentions jump to 2.36% for all influencers tiers. For nano influencers, the engagement rate climbs to 4.66%!

Being able to analyze market-level influencer performance for your space, you can set objective and realistic targets ahead of campaigns and track your progress in a meaningful way.

Find new top performing influencers

As IMB tracks the entire influencer landscape, it’s also useful for discovering new influencers across tiers who are already talking about your brand or competitors. I always recommend starting with the highest performers across all metrics: who mentions you the most, who earns the most engagement per mention, who drives video views for you, etc. You can do this across all influencers, but also within specific tiers. By slicing the data this way, you can start to uncover those high performers and organic brand fans that might otherwise get lost in the noise. The best part is that you can see this for your own brand but also for competitors!

Identify top content

Who doesn’t want more influencer generated content (IGC)? But how do you maximize your budgets on the top performing content and influencers? How do you figure out which of those @ mentions or photos tags are coming from influencers you should be investing in?

IMB can tell you that! We created our own metric called the Brand Vitality Score (VIT) that measures the visibility, impact and trust that content mentioning your brand earns. It’s a great way to sort all IGC so you can easily see the top performing influencers, and then review their top performing posts mentioning your brand.

Evaluate paid talent

Another thing you can see with IMB that will give you a huge advantage, is a side-by-side comparison of paid and organic influencers. With market-level insights, you can compare your paid partnerships to industry averages and spot under-performers for your brand. What makes this more interesting is then plugging this to your influencer budget calculator to work out how much you should really be paying these influencers, based on their actual performance. This has been super powerful for our customers when they enter negotiations with influencers -- it’s beneficial for both sides to have data and create performance-based collaborations that deliver value to the brand and the influencer’s audience.

Spot rising stars (and threats…)

Benchmarking on a monthly or quarterly basis helps you spot trends. Aside from your overall brand performance and health though, there’s plenty of other interesting trending data with which to inform your decisions. Keeping an eye on some of the smaller influencers who’ve been increasing their total VIT month over month helps you to identify hot emerging talent before your competitors do. Also, as we can track all the brands in your industry, keeping a close eye on some of the newer companies in your space helps you quickly identify those that have been rapidly increasing their performance. As they say, keep your friends close…

Did I miss anything? Let me know if you have burning questions about your influencer strategy @sam_cookney, and until next time!