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How to Navigate Influencer Marketing? Data, Data, Data

For brands seeking to compete for views in the crowded arena of modern retail, influencer-led marketing strategies have become commonplace—and some would argue, indispensable.

While these strategies prove effective for some, many brands and consumers have developed a healthy skepticism for self-made and striving social media personalities. Fake followers in the form of bots can be purchased for a price, giving internet aficionados and pseudo-celebrities the illusion of It status. Influencer fraud has cost brands roughly $1.3 billion in 2019 alone, according to influencer marketing platform Traackr.

“Purchased followers, bots and misaligned values all detract from an influencer’s audience integrity and limit the impact they can have on a brand campaign, leading marketers to routinely overspend on the wrong collaborations and miss out on the highest potential performing influencers,” Pierre-Loic Assayag, CEO and co-founder of Traackr, said.

Addressing this reality, the tech company has added tools to its portfolio that allow brands to more accurately gauge the potential impact of their influencer campaigns, and make more conscientious decisions about their future partnerships.

Traackr’s Audience Quality and Brand Values Match features provide brands with access to data about an influencer’s follower makeup, as well as the influencer’s own activity and how it measures against brand standards.

“We developed these tools so marketers can access rich data about the makeup of influencers’ audiences and make investment decisions based on authenticity and alignment, instead of perpetually relying on audience size—a problem which has plagued the industry for the last decade,” Assayag added.

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The Audience Quality tool breaks down an influencer’s followers into four distinct groups: legitimate people, suspicious followers (bots and hacked accounts), mass followers (those who follow more than 1,500 accounts), and other influencers (those with more than 5,000 high-quality followers).

The feature uses this breakdown to predict a campaign’s efficacy, based on whether an influencer has the ability to penetrate a relevant audience with potential for real engagement. Influencers who are evaluated using the Audience Quality tool are given a score ranging from 1-100 based on the quality of their follower base.

The Brand Values Match tool identifies potential risks that might deter a brand from working with a specific influencer. Marketing teams can search controversial topics by keyword across all of an influencer’s different social platforms, and identify whether potential partners are engaging in discourse or behavior that might have negative repercussions for their brands.

Hot-button topics might include religion, politics, drugs or profanity, and marketing professionals can assign a tolerance score to each topic based on how stringent they want to be with influencer selection.

The tool then scores each influencer’s performance with a color to signify whether they are under 50 percent of the threshhold for tolerable activity (blue), under 100 percent (orange) or above 100 percent (red). This allows brands to track how closely an influencer aligns with their values.

The release of these tools follows Traackr’s Influencer Market Benchmark launch earlier this year. The comprehensive guide was formulated for marketers looking to understand how influencer-based content affects overall brand performance on social media.

At the time, Assayag said that influencer-led marketing had reached an “inflection point,” and that marketers were looking for more advanced tools to assess the efficacy of their campaigns, which had often fallen short of their hopes.

“Marketers have struggled to meet these expectations because they lacked the right technology,” he said, adding that the company was striving to create “a meaningful and transparent framework to measure the impact of influencers on brands.”

When brands do strike gold with influencers who align with their brand goals, the payout can be substantial.

Retail data and technology company LaunchMetrics devised an algorithm for measuring “Media Impact Value,” or the monetary value of buzz generated by influencer placements and mentions across different platforms and publications.

In some cases, a well-timed influencer post with attention-grabbing content might have the potential to outshine even a spread in Vogue’s storied September issue, the company conjectured, “as the line between paid, owned and earned media has become increasingly blurry.”

The company released its list of top influencers for fashion, luxury goods and cosmetics this week, highlighting figures like Danielle Cohn, a 15-year-old Floridian YouTuber with 3.8 million Instagram followers. Cohn’s Media Impact Value (MIV) is more than $10.5 million, which benefited Fashion Nova, LaunchMetrics asserted, making her the highest-ranked influencer for mass-market fashion brands.

In the same category, Cohn is followed by Jailyne Ojeda, who “generated $9M in MIV for Fashion Nova in the space of three months,” LaunchMetrics pointed out. Fashion Nova also got a lift from Instagram model Bernice Burgos, the No. 3 influencer with 5.5 million Instagram followers, who drove $6.5 million in MIV for the super sexy urban-influenced label.

In the world of luxury fashion, Italian fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni—taking the No. 1 spot, with 17.5 million followers on Instagram and an MIV of $7 million—”racked up the highest MIV contribution for Prada, Versace, Fendi and Balenciaga,” LaunchMetrics said.

Nigerian celebrity Ray “Hushpuppi” ranks No. 2 with 1.5 million followers and $2.1 million in MIV, $1.5 million of which benefited Fendi. Valentina Ferragni, sister of Chiara, coming in No. 3 with 2.8 million followers and a $1.8 million MIV, used her influence for the good of Fendi as well, in addition to Dior and Moschino, LaunchMetrics noted.