Influencer marketing is getting a metric that promises to help brands and companies measure out the value of an influencer.
A report from Celebrity Intelligence found that of the 270 marketing specialists it surveyed, 84 percent believe finding influencers that are a good fit for a brand is incredibly time consuming. When it comes to measuring ROI or the effectiveness of a campaign, 63 percent said it was a challenge and 60 percent still used press coverage as a means to measure success.
Enter the ROI Influencer Score from ROI Influencer Media, a value that combines engagement data points such as likes, shares, retweets, video views and more, with how the influencer’s posts have done in the last 30 days, historical trend data and the demographic of the influencer’s audience. Marketers can still see the follower count but that’s not the focus; what matters is how the data meshes together to determine who the top influencers are in categories like food or fashion.
For example, in the month of February, supermodel Gigi Hadid was the top influencer in the fashion vertical, whereas acctress Tia Mowry was on top for family and parenting. Overall, the top performers for last month were: Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart on Instagram, singer Camila Cabello on Twitter and actor Ryan Reynolds on Facebook.
“The follower count was a very good 2013-2017 marker but now with the score, it no longer is,” said Seth Kean, CEO of ROI Influencer Media. “There’s no reason to guess or philosophize on who the influencer is and how they’re performing.”
The ROI Influencer Score dashboard can also break down key data points like total engagement score, average engagement score and the average engagement score per follower. A brand can also take a look into an influencer’s audience demographic, as well as see how well previous sponsored posts performed. Considering 41 percent of brands decide on using an influencer based on their audience, accessing this type of information, along with an overall score, is a step in the right direction.
Kean also thinks the score will be useful for brands and marketers who are looking for more micro-influencers that can generate results—rather than relying on influencers who have high follower counts but low engagement.
Jeff Ratner, chief media officer at iCrossing, the marketing agency owned by Hearst, thinks the ROI Influencer Score is more of a “starting point.” He believes it’s helping set a standardization of influencer value in the market.
While the metric sounds promising, Dave Giglio, director of influencer partnerships at Digital Media Management, isn’t completely sold. Giglio points out that a lot influencers will gamify engagements through strategies like comment pods, where they’ll leave comments on each other’s posts, making it look like there’s a lot of engagement but in reality, it’s not true engagement.
“You’ll still need someone digging into [through an influencer’s account] to make sure that stuff is real and authentic at the end of the day,” said Giglio.
Kean agrees and thinks the score should still go hand in hand with “a team of brand marketing experts.”
Another factor that’s becoming increasingly relevant to brands is whether the influencer is the right match—and the score might not tell the whole story behind that.
“A brand should be activating influencers who align with the brand and most importantly, connect with their audience each and every day,” said Kirby Brooks Todd, director of social strategy at Epic Signal, a social agency.
One potential perk of the score that helps brands? It’ll tell marketers which influencers have true engagement and which ones are just posting photos for the likes.
“Sure, this could hurt the type of influencers who are just focusing on obtaining followers without engaging them in an authentic way,” Todd said. “But in order for us to progress in this influencer/brand partnership world, we can’t just be looking at them like a billboard—that’s not what social is all about.”
Currently, the platform holds 30,00o influencers but it could keep growing, shared Kean. The next step of course is getting brands on board with the score—and their hands on all the data it’ll provide.
“The essence of what ROI has done is shine a light on followers and engagements,” said Maikel O’Hanlon, vp of social media at Horizon Media. “It’s a real neat, real-time view of how influence in the moment can be assessed and understood.”