How will influencer marketing change in 2019?

A report from Talkwalker shows that measurement and finding the right influencer remain challenging for brands.

Influencer marketing is going to continue to see increased investment in 2019, but measuring the impact of those campaigns still remains a concern for brands and marketers.

That is according to a report by social analytics company Talkwalker, which surveyed over 800 marketing, PR and communications staff globally.

According to the survey, 69% of respondents have identified influencer marketing as either an important or top strategic priority, with 61% saying they plan to increase their investment in the year ahead. However, some familiar challenges persist, with 39% saying measuring the ROI of influencer campaigns remained the top challenge in working with influencers, followed by identifying influencers who could have the best impact (22%) and finding more creative ways to collaborate with influencers (16%).

Todd Grossman, CEO Americas at Talkwalker, said a planned increase in spending coupled with the challenge of measuring ROI points to a gap between intent and impact.”This shows that while brands are eager to leverage the power of influencers, many of them haven’t yet developed a reliable measurement and management strategy, which makes planning and tracking these types of campaigns more difficult.”

When it comes to ROI, 63% of respondents said they do not currently use a tool to manage and measure the impact of influencer platforms. Overwhelmingly, the impact marketers are looking to have with influencer programs is creating more brand visibility (66%), far ahead of things like generating more direct leads or product purchases (17%) and having more creative campaigns (10%).

The report also noted that the factors impacting which influencers a brand chooses to work with has changed. Despite the importance of brand awareness, follower counts and reach is a lower priority than in the past, with respondents ranking the relevance of influencer posts with a brand’s message, the quality and creativity of content and the level of engagement the posts generate as the highest priorities, in that order.

Nearly 72% of respondents said they were working with 50 influencers or less. Stephen Davies, a social media specialist based in London, suggests in the report that this could mean brands are more interested in working with a smaller number of influencers who they can build long-term relationships with, as opposed to engaging with massive numbers of nano- and micro-influencers.