Influencer marketing spending is on the rise as brands continue to chase the engagement and authenticity benefits they see as the most unique strengths of influencers. However, there are areas in which influencers can become more valuable to brands, according to a report [download page] from Warc and Impact.com.
Based on a global survey of more than 400 marketers and 400 influencers, the report reveals that both groups generally agree that engagement and authenticity are the key strengths of influencers, though to a different degree. Marketers are slightly more likely to perceive the higher levels of engagement (69%) offered by influencers as a key strength than their higher levels of trust/authenticity (67%).
By contrast, influencers themselves are considerably more likely to point to their higher levels of trust/authenticity (85%) then their higher levels of engagement (55%) as a unique strength. The search for authenticity was a critical factor in driving brands’ interest in influencer marketing early on, research has shown, though not all consumers are convinced that influencers are trustworthy.
Building Purchase Intent
What seems clear from the report is that marketers and influencers differ on the extent to which influencer are unlocking value in terms of building purchase intent. For example, when asked about influencers’ strengths, 39% of influencer respondents cited their ability to speed up purchase decisions from their followers. However, just 18% of marketer respondents said that a key influencer strength was their ability to shorten sales cycles.
Separately, when marketers were asked how influencers can become more valuable to brands, the top response was by building interest and purchase intent, as cited by 59% of respondents. By contrast, when influencers were asked how they think they can become more valuable to brands, building interest and purchase intent was only the fourth-cited option, by 47% of respondents.
Instead, influencers seem more attuned to their value at the top of the funnel. Roughly 8 in 10 said that building a long-term, collaborative relationship would help them become more valuable to a brand, while 61% said that they could introduce new audiences to a brand. These are also valued by marketers, though not to the same extent.
Challenges Working with Brands
The main challenges marketers and influencers perceive with their relationship concern measurement, according to the survey results. When asked what they see as the most significant challenge in working with influencers, regardless of their individual experience, a leading 72% of marketers indicated that measuring their impact correctly was a top struggle. This was far ahead of the next-most cited challenges, aligning influencers’ goals with brands’ goals (46%) and ensuring the influencers do not say or do anything in conflict with brand values (36%).
For their part, influencers said that the most significant challenge they have when working with brands is correctly linking the value they create with compensation, as noted by 6 in 10 respondents. The only other key challenge cited was balancing their creative freedom with the brand’s requirements (50%), indicating that both groups want to make sure they are creatively aligned in ways that ensure brand safety and influencer authenticity.
For more, download the report here.