The global spends of the influencer marketing industry are on a path of reaching $5-10 billion by the end of this year
By Sandeep Sreekumar
Influencer marketing is no more a buzzword, it has definitely come of age, with brands potentially dipping their toes into the influencer pool from years now. Conversation have evolved and moved from should we or shouldn’t we make influencers part of our marketing arsenal to more practical considerations like how, what, where and when: how many influencers to use, what kind of influencer (e.g. micro-influencers vs macro vs nano), when should the campaigns run, and where?
No wonder, the global spends of the influencer marketing industry are on a path of reaching $5-10 billion by the end of this year. While the tangible benefits of influencer marketing – high engagement, huge traffic and authentic content seem quite clear there is still a lot of progress to be made.
However, selecting a perfect influencer that can deliver quality content that resonates with your brand and audience still remains a daunting task. Although when it comes to finding the right influencers, quantitative metrics are no longer enough as a benchmark, thanks to the rise of inauthentic social media stars. Rather, today the brands shortlist creative influencers based on qualitative criteria, including brand affinity, quality of content, and how fruitfully can the influencer portray brand values.
With that, comes the question: What is next for influencer marketing? The answer is artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) are the tools that are revolutionising the way brands are conducting influencer marketing by combining quantitative and qualitative metrics in a meaningful way. From influencer search to brand affinity and content analysis, AI provides a solution for multiple needs of the brands.
In simpler terms, AI helps the brands to make their influencer campaigns more effective by streamlining problem-solving, data analysis, planning and researching processes which eventually leaves the marketers with more time in hands to boost efficiency of their marketing strategies and achieve desired results.
So how can AI help influencer marketing?
- AI-powered influencer platform: AI powered-platforms have proven to be excellent tools for matching brands with the right influencers. Clearly, finding the right influencers is a time consuming task. But with AI-powered systems, the marketer’s job can definitely be simplified. Through this, marketers can collect all the data they need to make decisions, identify trends, and pick influencers that are best suited for them, just in a traction of time. Not just this, AI makes it easy to distinguish between computer-generated and real-life influencers by allowing a pattern/footprint analysis amongst the followers. Nestle is a classic example demonstrating immense success through AI driven influencer marketing platforms.
In order to spread awareness about the brand, Nestle Pure Life intended to connect with people who could share their heartwarming experiences on how receiving guidance from regular women who were mothers and grandmothers helped them. For this, Nestle partnered with AI-powered influencer marketing platform – Linqia to identify the right influencers on different social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+. The chosen influencers created more than 7,500 social stories and garnered 22 million impressions and the campaign also encouraged over 50,000 audience members to share their own stories about how their mother figures have inspired them and built their confidence.
- Evaluating the influencer’s performance: After identifying the right influencer for your campaign, the next obvious step is to measure their performance. With the help of AI, measuring any influencer’s performance is not as big a task as it may sound. With AI marketers can evaluate individual posts made by the influencer and collate the data to understand how well does a particular influencer works with the brand. This leaves marketers with an opportunity to gain better insights regarding the increase or decrease in an influencers influence among their audience.
- Determining influencer’s incentives is another benefit offered by AI, after all determining an influencer’s fees can be quite ambiguous. However, by using Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) influencer marketing systems powered by artificial intelligence can draw historical data from various influencers and predict the effective level of incentives that would work best to encourage an influencer to post. Even more, they can automatically offer that incentive at the time when the influencer is most likely to post. This AI-system takes into account all types of influencers ranging from nano influencers to celebrities with a huge follower base.
- Identifying and delivering relevant content: The audience is bombarded with a plethora of content on a daily basis. As per a study, 95 million pictures are posted on Instagram every day. To avoid getting lost in the sea of information, it is quintessential for the brands to grab the attention of their potential customers by identifying the most relevant and meaningful content. This is where the power of AI comes into the foreplay. AI integrated systems ensure that the brands deliver relevant content to the right audience while cutting through the noise of hundreds of other content by using ANN to analyze multiple images and video attributes and NLP to analyze comment sentiments to see which posts are being received well.
- Last but not the least is determining the ROI of the campaign: AI influencer marketing enables you to gaze at an influencer’s performance, track every piece of content that is generated from the campaign and evaluate various engagement metrics. This further helps the marketers to calculate the actual ROI of the campaign and understand its impact on the revenue.
It is inevitable that brands are scouring AI technologies to enhance their influencer marketing strategies. After all this is not just about analyzing engagement and audience metrics, it is also about assessing the unstructured data that is essential for the marketers to meet their marketing goals. As can be seen clearly, Artificial Intelligence is changing the way brands perceive influencer marketing. The real advantage of AI influencer marketing lies in its meticulous speed and accuracy that helps in driving the campaign to an unmatched level.
The author is managing director, Media Moments