influencer marketing measurement 2017Increasing accountability and a greater investment in measurement will emerge as the top influencer marketing trends in 2017, experts say.

Most marketers who use influencer marketing (78%) say that determining the tactic’s ROI will be their top challenge in 2017, according to the State of Influencer Marketing 2017 report from Linqia, an influencer marketing platform.

Increasing budgets will drive the move toward accountability. In 2016, most marketers spent between $25,000 and $50,000 per influencer marketing program. Survey respondents say spending will double to $50,000 to $100,000 per program in 2017. Almost half (48%) of marketers plan to increase influencer marketing budgets in 2017; only 4% plan to decrease budgets.

Tracking the Best Metrics?

Despite intentions to emphasize measurement of ROI, 61% of marketers still measure success of their programs through audience reach, a metric that can be easily falsified by purchasing fake followers and false clicks. Eighty-one percent of marketers cite engagement as their top influencer marketing metric, and 62% analyze the amount and quality of traffic driven to their website. The most effective marketing measurement examines the full consumer journey to determine how consumers are moving down the entire path to purchase, instead of considering only reach.

More marketers (42%) include influencer marketing in advertising/marketing budgets than PR or communications, (31%) That could signal a trend from organic, or nonpaid promotion, to a paid channel owned by marketing, according to Linqia.

Performance-based pricing models are gaining traction in influencer marketing. Half of marketers say cost-per- click (CPC) and cost-per-engagement (CPE) pricing models are the most effective for driving results. Only 17% think pay-per- post or “flat rate” pricing is effective, even though that model is the most prevalent form of compensation for influencers.

The Table Stakes for Influencer Marketing

Agencies that invest in influencer marketing as a core competency and build their practices to scale will win business and boost their revenue and growth, according to TapInfluence. “The focus here will rely on data and transparency, facilitated by influencer marketing automation platforms,” it states in its “Tap Ten” 2017 Predictions. “Early adoption is the key. Transparency in value and price are paramount. And, real measurement is table stakes.”

Brands will increasingly turn away from metrics from traditional media monitoring. In 2017, marketers will abandon views as an acceptable performance metric and turn instead to metrics that speak to real engagement with content: likes, shares, comments, and clickthroughs.

As brands and agencies turn to influencer marketing, they will need confirmation that it’s actually affecting their bottom line. Quantitative metrics, like cost per engagement, sales and revenue lift, will be critical to justify bigger budgets for influencer marketing, TapInfluence predicts.

Bottom Line: Expect greater emphasis on accountability and measurement in influencer marketing next year. As influencer marketing budgets grow, upper management will seek more data on how the tactic is impacting sales and ROI. In addition, marketers will become increasingly sophisticated in tracking metrics that gauge the entire customer lifecycle.