influencer marketing measurementAlthough most marketers believe influencer marketing is an effective channel, measuring and improving returns on investment (ROI) remains a leading challenge.

The overwhelming majority (80%) of marketers find influencer marketing effective, and 89% say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels, reveals the Influencer Marketing Survey from Mediakix. In addition, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed plan to increase influencer marketing budgets this year.

Still, concerns abound. Measurement remains the primary concern for 78% of companies, followed by finding the right influencers (62%) and communication (43%).

An early survey by Buzzoole also found that marketers cite measurement as the top influencer marketing challenge, followed by fake followers and control of content.

Single Biggest Challenge

“The question of measurement remains a marketer’s single biggest challenge to increasing influencer investment. Unless brands can make meaningful comparisons between influencer investment and other media, the industry will not move from test-and-learn to a firm line item on a media plan,” said Ian Samuel, chief commercial officer at Buzzoole.

Technology-based influencer marketing platforms, which offer superior analytics than the more traditional PR or agency approach, offer a solution, Buzzoole asserts. With better reporting and measurement, better tools and technology, a better understanding of content control and a stricter approach to transparency, fraud and bad behaviors, influencer marketing can only grow in influence.

Many experts recommend social media measurement tools to determine the value of influencer marketing and demonstrate its value to management. Social media measurement tools can identify ideal influencers for brands, what content they share, how widely their content spreads across the digital landscape, and how they improve public sentiment toward the brand.

An increased reliance on contracts that require influencers to report analytics can help brands better measure influencer marketing results.

The Challenge of Finding the Right Influencers

The Mediakix survey also reports that 61% of marketers say it’s difficult to find the right influencers. Top three ways to find social media influencers are:

Social search: 71%,

Data base or influencer marketing platforms: 43%,

Influencers reach out to them: 42%.

Only a quarter cited agency or talent management companies. In other words, most marketers typically employ the old-fashioned technique of searching on social media despite automated techniques now available. A social media monitoring and measurement tool can help public relations and marketing professionals identify the most appropriate influencers for their campaigns. Use the tools to search for generic terms in the category such as toys or nutrition or fashion in which you want to identify influencers.

Worries of Fake Followers

In spite of Instagram’s crackdown on third-party services that sell fake followers and engagement, marketers rank spotting fake followers as a top concern. Some influencers purchase fake followers and fake engagement to increase the fees they charge brands. Of the $744 million that brands spent on influencer marketing in 2018, $102 million was wasted on fake followers, estimates Points North Group.

Concerns about robot followers may continue because news of Instagram’s updated policies has yet to percolate across the industry, Mediakix notes. It’s also possible that companies remain skeptical because Instagram has not disclosed the scope of third-party apps targeted in the update, or possibly even because the platform has been caught selling ad space to the same follower-buying services that it banned.

A social media monitoring service can track and measure an influencer’s engagement levels, spot red flags and predict a campaign’s potential return on investment. The monitoring service may turn up complaints or other insights about the influencer in other accounts or on other social media services.

Bottom Line: Marketers name measurement as their top challenge in influencer marketing, although most feel confident about the strategy’s effectiveness. Finding the best influencers is also a difficult task. A social media monitoring and measurement service can help marketers overcome those challenges.