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Here’s How Collective Bias, An Inmar Company, Chooses Influencer Partners: Balancing Demographics with Data

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Susan Borst of VP, Mobile at IAB hosted an engaging discussion on ways to decode influencer marketing and ultimately, turn it upside down.

There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting an influencer to work with on a marketing campaign.

Demographic, geographic, following and engagement, that it can be hard to identify the most important element.

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In a session hosted by Collective Bias: An Inmar Platform, Susan Borst, Vice President of Mobile at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), joined industry experts from Campbell Snacks, Dollar Shave Club, Wunderman, and Micah Jesse Media to discuss a number of topics surrounding the industry including choosing the right influencer for your campaign, restructuring the current influencer payment model, and changing the way we evaluate an influencer’s performance.

Choosing an influencer

Morgan Kaye, Director in Influencing Marketing at Dollar Shave Club says that, as conversion information isn’t available, they like to test, evaluate and optimize influencers and “lock them in” if they’re successful. “KPI’s are important but don’t just look at likes,” she advised, noting that community is more important than ever seeing as Instagram are considering removing the ‘like’ button.

Anna Ritchie, Head of Social Media at Campbell Snacks agreed with Kaye’s testing and learning incentive. “Really see if their content resonates with their audience. Influencers can create anything but it doesn’t mean they should,” she said.

Leah Logan, VP Media Products Strategy and Marketing at Collective Bias, An Inmar Company, noted that they see “almost 40 percent higher engagement when looking at performance metrics using an algorithm to predict performance. What’s missing is the ability to decipher whether the campaign is native to the persons handle.”

Micah Jesse, Founder of Micah Jesse Media has a following of 60,000 across the board and believes storytelling using the influencers unique voice is the most effective way to approach a campaign. He prefers to work with brands on a long-term basis and form partnerships. Global Head of Content at Wunderman, Tara Marsh, agreed. “It’s an eco-system and one thing leads to another. Try to avoid one click attribution.”

The next step

After selecting an influencer to work with, negotiating payment provides its own separate challenges when there is no set of explicit guidelines or a one-size-fits-all payment model.

Marsh stressed the importance of deciding whether to use an influencer like a publisher or an agency. “As an agency, you pay for time. As a publisher, you pay for an entire distribution platform,” she said.

Kaye mentioned it’s important to remember that when working with YouTubers, production cost must be considered. Dollar Shave Club pays flat rates and as the influencing industry evolves, this is something Kaye hopes to see more of, as opposed to basing fees on CPI.

Logan recognizes that environmental and social factors have drastic effects on post-performance, as well as timing, “We’ve spoken to a couple of influencers about paper models and they feel discouraged for this reason.” Kaye nodded in agreement, “a hybrid model would be best. A flat rate with a CPA.”

Determining whether an influence is worth their fee

Determining whether an influencer is worth their fee comes down to impact, value, and contextual significance.

Facebook considers major influencers to be those with more than 500,000 followers. However, these pose more as ambassadors than influencers; celebrities and a brand themselves, which may not bode well for specific products.

Micro and nano influencers are on the rise, specializing in niche areas and only working with brands they feel passionate about. That way, authentic content is created and audiences subscribe organically.

Marsh explained how influencers work on principles of persuasion: like, authority and reciprocity, as well as the exposure effect. “The more we are exposed to something, the more we like it. Like a song on the radio.”

Looking forward, they hope to see influencer marketing grow as a core part of marketing media plans and for brands to loosen the reins on creative briefs and adopt a more professional nature when it comes to pitching proposals.

There’s not a decent set of obvious tools to move influencer marketing into CRM yet, so this is yet to be seen, too.

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