Influencer marketing has cemented its reputation as one of the most powerful media channels of the past decade. The channel is often considered “new” or “emerging”, but in reality “influencers” can be traced back as far as 105 BCE, with Roman gladiators achieving notoriety and holding significant influence over ancient societies.
In 2024, brands are upping the scale of their influencer-led projects. But unlike TV and OOH, there’s often still a lingering question over its effectiveness as a channel, as well as hesitance from marketing leaders to invest more budget.
Standing in the way of influencer marketing success are challenges regarding attribution, creative control, and inefficiencies in campaign measurement. If only there was a single solution for brands to underline each of these influencer marketing challenges…
Well, what if we told you there was?
5 Influencer Marketing Challenges Facing Brands
1. Do influencers actually influence sales?
Influencer marketing is no longer seen as an “add-on”, it’s now a key media channel driving results at every stage of the fun. However, many still view influencer marketing as an awareness-driving channel. The challenge for brands is how to drive conversions, sales and ROI. We examined how brands can do this through influencer-led paid, retail media, and social commerce. Learn more in our guide to ‘The Next Era of Influencer Marketing’.
For many brands, the ultimate goal is to drive sales through influencer marketing; sales that can be directly attributed to creator content in order to understand the return on investment. Determining a measurable ROI for influencer marketing campaigns has long been a concern for many marketers and brands.
Brands have often approached us with concerns around attribution, and how it can be difficult to identify which specific influencers or content contributed to a conversion. Multi-channel campaigns with multiple enlisted creators can prove tough to individualize, and attribute success to any single creator or piece of content.
Similarly, influencer marketing efforts might not directly translate into sales. It can take time for audiences to engage with brands on social media, build trust, and then convert into customers. Therefore, traditional ROI metrics may not gather the full picture, or long-term impact of influencer marketing.
There are other arguments to be made around engagement quality, and offline impact, that make ROI difficult to measure. For example, simply counting likes, comments, or shares may not represent genuine intent to purchase consumers, and influencer marketing efforts may be driving in-store purchases that brands may struggle to attribute to specific influencers.
2. Finding the Right Influencers
Finding influencers who align with your brand’s values and target audience is crucial.
As we always say at Goat, influencer is not a one-size-fits-all channel. Brands have, and will continue to mismatch. We see this most commonly when brands look to partner with influencers because of their popularity. While size can be appealing, it’s not always the right solution – as we covered in our last virtual event, choosing quality engagement with a niche audience often outperforms more significant followings with minimal interaction.
Finding the right creators throws a lot of complexities into the mix. For example, brands need to consider competitors’ associations, relevance of content categories, and whether the marketing strategy aligns with the target audience.
Budget constraints add additional complexities. Brands are often held back by high collaboration fees, which may not be feasible for brands with limited spend.
3. Creative Freedom vs Control Over Content
Brands face challenges in the form of content control within influencer marketing as they strive to balance authenticity with brand consistency.
Influencer content is one of the most potent creative formulas available in modern marketing, but for all its value, brands must ensure certain boxes are ticked to garner success. Influencer content must align with brand values, comply with regulations, and avoid misrepresentation. These factors are crucial, and yet, in 2024, there are still examples of brands getting it wrong.
Granting influencers creative freedom is a delicate task. Sure, influencers should be given the license to create, but brands must be able to navigate potential controversies or negative sentiment.
For maximum effectiveness, there has to be clear communication on content ownership, and adaptation to platform changes, plus an awareness of societal developments. To navigate these circumstances brands must have a reliable tool to effectively communicate with all parties underneath an influencer campaign.
4. Measuring Brand Authority and Awareness
When it comes to measuring the success of influencer marketing, one of the most difficult aspects is determining brand awareness and the authority gained through influencer campaigns. Both of these goals are subjective and require a long-term perspective built on frequent efforts.
Influencer content generates different reactions for different people, which leaves brand recognition a difficult metric to calculate. Brands often suggest that there aren’t enough standardized metrics for measuring brand awareness or authority attributable directly to influencers.
Brands can overcome these challenges by combining qualitative and quantitative methods. As qualitative measures go, brands can conduct social listening, customer reviews and feedback, as well as measures like brand mentions and sentiment analysis. From a quantitative lens, brands can estimate brand reach and authority through impressions, reach, follower growth, and engagement rates among other measurable data.
5. Inconsistent Measurement Tools
There are plenty of measurement tools available on the market. However, the inconsistencies within these tools and platforms can present significant challenges that brands must overcome.
Brands will often use varied tools to measure influencer campaigns. This, in itself, can result in data inaccuracies, hindering reliable performance metrics and making benchmarking across campaigns difficult.
Of all the digital media channels, influencer is the least mature. It can be argued that there’s an absence of industry-wide standards. With this in mind, it becomes difficult to assess campaign success in comparison to industry norms. The inability to seamlessly analyze performance across different social platforms also limits cross-channel insights, and can hamper strategic decision-making in future campaigns.
To address these challenges, brands must strive for consistent measurement, clear communication with influencers, and the use of reliable, industry-accepted tools that prioritize accuracy and transparency to inform the best decisions.
How Brands Can Navigate Influencer Marketing Challenges
The Goat Agency was built on the idea that influencer marketing must be led and driven by data. It’s only with continued data and measurement that brands can find the right creators at the right price, and avoid inefficiencies and wasted budget.
As we’ve grown, we’re in 34 markets, creating more content than ever before, and 10 times the campaigns. To capture each and every one of these interactions, we built a data-led solution that stores the data of every influencer, every campaign, every cost per, and every result. We call it Ibex.
What is Ibex?
Ibex is Goat’s internal system for sharing and finding influencers, campaigns, campaign data, and activations. The solution comes with built-in client approval tools that ease the process of selecting influencers to partner with – each of our clients has the capability to select creators from an influencer cross section, and approve content.
Why We Use Ibex
Influencer is the least mature digital channel. This brings inefficiencies in measuring the success of influencer marketing campaigns. Ibex was built as the solution to these inefficiencies. Goat is a data driven agency, we use data to inform our decisions and to improve our offering and knowledge. Ibex was built to simplify our processes and to help our clients foster a deeper understanding of influencer marketing.
Being data-led means there is a requirement for Goat to record and use influencer and campaign data to constantly improve accuracy and service level to clients through data-led decision making.
What Does This Mean for Brands?
We use Ibex to streamline our processes across a number of areas. The solution enables our clients to refine their influencer search, and source campaign data.
Ibex collects data from every influencer we’ve ever worked with and reached out to. Storing this data lets us understand more about them, which we can then filter using specific search terms, tags, metrics, and results.
Through Ibex, we have access to hundreds of thousands of creators that we’ve spoken to over the last nine years. Collecting their data has enabled us to identify which creators are the right fit for specific clients. We can look at the past performance of a creator, their cost pers, cross-channel performance, what niche they’re in, and so much more. For example, if we have a food & drink brand approach us with the challenge of exploring new markets, we can use Ibex to filter the best performing creators by their niche, or territory, test if the audiences align, and relay the relevant info back to the client via an influencer cross-section.
We can also use Ibex to identify the successes of different types of campaigns. This specific filter lets us search by client, type of campaign, territory, and vertical. This functionality means we can pinpoint the exact success points from particular campaigns, which helps us strategize around future campaigns.
Having a back end data repository helps us feed into campaign development; everything we feed into it is used to deliver better experiences and better campaigns for our clients.
Measurement and Optimization
Ibex is our content and data spine, everything we feed into it is used to better deliver experiences and campaigns for clients. The uniqueness of Ibex against other platforms is that we have every influencer and every campaign ever used, along with the cost. We know exactly what the value is, we know what can be delivered by each creator. Others in the market don’t have that cost aspect, which means it’s difficult to determine exactly what the value of each creator is, and ultimately can’t guarantee a potential media value. In addition to cost, we can measure the performance of each influencer and campaign, looking at specific metrics; likes, reach, engagement rates, as well as KPIs like CPM and CPE.
These insights allow us to measure and optimize each of our influencer campaigns; active and future. Ibex’s data-driven approach means we can deliver the most accurate solution, every time.
A Centralized Point of Truth
Ibex is the data spine of our business. With it, we have a tool that collects the data from every creator, every platform, and every campaign from the last nine years. Ibex consolidates that data and ensures we continue to test, build, and learn. It means we can continuously make the most accurate decisions and recommendations for our clients, and that each client can be sure they’re getting better prices and performance for their budget. Brands that work with us get the best results, irrespective of size, if you’re a big conglomerate, or a promising start up, you’re guaranteed to maximize your influencer efforts. We can use Ibex to ensure there’s consistency, everywhere.
As influencer marketing matures into a formidable media channel, brands continue to grapple with varied challenges.
To navigate these hurdles, brands need a comprehensive solution that addresses these challenges head-on. Enter Ibex, the data spine of the business here at Goat. Ibex streamlines processes, offering a data-driven approach to influencer marketing. It enables brands to refine their influencer search, assess campaign data, and make informed decisions to improve the accuracy of future influencer activity.
By leveraging Ibex’s unique ability to store data on every influencer and campaign, brands gain a competitive edge, ensuring accurate metrics and informed strategies for successful influencer marketing campaigns. Ibex represents a crucial tool for brands seeking clarity, efficiency, and optimal results in influencer marketing.
Need assistance with your influencer marketing strategy? Goat is here to shepherd you through this complex yet rewarding world with insights that are backed by irrefutable data, guaranteed results and a proven track record. Whether you are a fledgling business wanting to make an impactful entry or an established brand aspiring for deeper consumer relationships, we offer bespoke solutions that are as fluid as the influencer marketing landscape. Get in touch with us today.