Rate My Influence: the value of social media engagement
The second half of 2018 has proven tough for influencer marketing: after Keith Weed decided to throw down the gauntlet on the fake followers issue from the stage at Cannes Lions. The industry was hit by a storm and marketers started to question whether reach and engagement – the metrics that to date have led media buying in this space – had become nothing more than vanity metrics.
But it hasn’t been all bad.
In 2018 we have also seen further investment in influencer marketing: the use of #ad increased by 44% in the first half of the year alone. Influencer marketing has shifted towards becoming a commodity marketed using tradable metrics and in turn this has driven the need for measurement benchmarks. Research has shown that companies have started to embrace year-long influencer strategies and many brands have moved their influencer marketing budgets from test-and-learn to always-on. Influencer’ fraud has been debunked and Buzzoole, like other players in this space, have worked on technology solutions capable of flagging influencers who have inflated engagement using bots.
The industry is maturing due to a couple of key factors: brands have set the bar higher in terms of expectations and influencer marketing platforms have honed in on measurement. These two aspects are shaping the future of Creator-led marketing. But where do engagement and reach metrics sit in this new scheme? And what is the role of human creativity in a space increasingly dominated by tech?
In true Mindshare Huddle fashion, Buzzoole was tasked to bring this topic to life through an interactive offline session meant to make people reflect on what engagement really means. We invited four Creators (James Middleton, Zoe Timmers, Hannah Darvas and Lisa Starchak) to share their best and lowest performing posts and challenged the audience in the room to engage – using printed hearts and speech bubbles – with their content. Having challenged their perceptions the group was then split into four teams and each worked on the creation of a fictional post with one of the Creators. The session highlighted that the online results actually matched the engagement expressed by the people in the room and that creativity and Creator authenticity were the key factors in boosting meaningful interaction with branded content.
In the era of an increasingly automated and commodified influencer marketing space, content quality and human creativity are still key to delivering a truly engaging brand campaign.
This session underlined that the questions we ask might need to change from “What was the reach of that post?” and be more similar to “Is this content authentic to the Creator while capturing the brand’s values?”.
Conclusion: content quality is just as key to an influencer marketing campaign, as reach and engagement are.