The pressure for standardization has introduced a new solution: programmatic influencer marketing. By developing a clear set of measures to evaluate influencers and their performance via analytics, this marketing method provides a layer of transparency.
There are platforms on the market that assume the intermediary position between a brand and an influencer. Many offer technological tools that enable the whole process, from influencer selection up to result assessment, while monitoring each stage of the process. Bringing a systematic approach to addressing chaos has various advantages for both influencers and brands.
Automatizing influencer marketing allows for mass scaling and better outreach. Brands can engage effortlessly with any number of influencers to reach their goals and know exactly how much they are paying to do it. This is because programmatic platforms enable tracking and prediction of influencer performance, allowing users to calculate the exact costs of their influencer ads (per view, click or conversion).
This is great news for experts who have been campaigning for clarity and fairness in influencer marketing in the past. Also, it presents a significant step toward securing ROI, because even if a collaboration with one influencer fails, the platform redirects the strategy to another one, avoiding financial loss.
Ensuring security is another key aspect. As the platforms operate a pool of influencers, any particular influencer who becomes discredited due to dubious practices — such as collecting fake followers, for example — can be eliminated from collaborations. This brings an unprecedented level of fairness to the whole industry.
The benefits for brands are straightforward, but why should influencers subject their activities to scrutiny? Actually, signing up for a programmatic platform can provide them with many long-term benefits as well — undeniably, access to new opportunities. This is particularly important for micro-influencers. As many marketers agree, influencers with “only” tens of thousands of followers may be a better fit to subtly but effectively increase brand awareness. These personas often have niche audiences and are particularly passionate about choosing the branded content that fits their overall image. For them, these platforms represent an important networking space.
Apart from securing more contracts, the intermediary can simplify the communication with brands. As many influencers are adolescents, they may not be aware of their market value, or of the ways to reach out and launch a collaboration. In a way, the intermediary can substitute for the role of an agency. Perhaps more importantly, if the industry develops in the right direction, working with a platform could become a certificate of an influencer’s quality in the future.
Technology as the Enabler
How do programmatic platforms secure these benefits to both sides? The answer is simple: through a complex interplay of various emerging technologies.
For example, the smart matching between a brand and a social influencer is enabled via artificial intelligence that assesses both parties, based on the type of industry, target audience, content type and performance. The tool then scans hundreds of thousands of influencers to pick the perfect fit. When it comes to analytics, sophisticated machine learning algorithms come into play. These engines predict an influencer’s performance based on past endeavors in order to calculate the market price.
In upcoming years, programmatic platforms likely will adopt practices that are common in other branches of marketing, such as bidding on an advertising opportunity — or an influencer, in this case. From a marketing point of view, each YouTube channel can be seen as a television: If you want to get your message on a particular channel, you may need to pay more than another brand.
However, the application of technology in influencer marketing isn’t limitless. The content published by the influencer still has to be reviewed manually, and there always will need to be a human element to ensure that every piece of video and every photograph follows specific content and brand guidelines, is not explicit, and does not violate the rules of the specific social media network.
Programmatic influencer marketing still may be in its infancy, but it has a bright future. Brands can abandon estimates and guesses and fully embrace a data-driven approach, helping them to optimize their marketing strategy and aim their focus exactly where it is needed.