Fullscreen’s Take on the State of Influencer Marketing

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article discussing what they deem as the current state of influencer marketing. Fullscreen feels this article was both extreme and misleading. Below are a few key points from this controversial article that we disagree with and why. 

Measuring Impact/Sales ROI

WSJ: Measuring the Impact or Sales ROI of Influencer Marketing is impossible

Fullscreen: New measurement models not only exist — but we’re using them ALL THE TIME

There are viable solutions across the measurement spectrum that are helping to provide a more transparent marketplace for advertisers, such as tracking social post data directly via social platforms or through 3rd party analytics, or utilizing offline/online sales lift studies (something Fullscreen is actively doing with partners including Cuebiq, Jumpshot, IRI, PlaceIQ, and Shareablee).

Influencer Authenticity

WSJ: Influencers will partner with Anyone

Fullscreen: Do your homework to find authentic influencers

Despite the misconception that influencers are willing to promote any brand, the actual level of co-branded social posts is relatively low, accounting for 1-8% of total post volume for influencers (per Fullscreen’s recent study with social analytics firm Shareablee). While talent should (and will) be held accountable by their audience to not promote products simply for a paycheck, advertisers have a responsibility to collaborate with influencers to ensure brand messages are accurately communicated and the influencer’s audience would expect that type of content from them.

Performance Metrics

WSJ: Influencer performance metrics are often inflated by fraudulent activity

Fullscreen: Tech, relationships, and results help us weed out “juicers”

  • Data/Tech: Many 3rd party social analytics companies have launched some level of fraud detection tools or algorithms to combat this issue. Through our relationship with CreatorIQ, we use the Audience Integrity tool that looks at a creators audience and flags based on three categories: engagement rate, follower growth and audience country. 
  • Human Touch: Similar to how we analyze if a creator is the right fit for a campaign, we review their level of engagement (engagements per post compared to follower count) to look for red flags. 
  • Results: If the influencers we worked with had inflated followers/fans we might expect that branding or sales lift metrics would suffer, which, for Fullscreen, has not been the case. Our innovative pilot to measure the impact of influencer/social marketing on CPG sales revealed statistically significant sales lift of 2-4% across three 2018 campaigns. [Source: Fullscreen Sales Impact Study conducted by Shareablee-IRI]

Engagement

WSJ: Engagement is waning

Fullscreen: Engagement rates are GROWING and are not the only measure of success

According to data from Tubular Labs, Influencers/Creators on average received an engagement rate (engagements/views) of 1.8% thus far in 2019 – ahead of both 2017 (1.67%) and 2018 (1.73%) levels. The idea and place of engagement are also shifting, with platforms like Instagram in tests to hide profile likes and rising influencer platforms like TikTok and Twitch which are pulling large user bases and driving engagement. The article suggests engagement is only one measure by which we can measure the full effect of influencer marketing. The truth is that influencers can and do command an “engaged” audience in the form of massive viewership.

Consumer Fatigue

WSJ: Consumers are sick of being sold things

Fullscreen: Consumers love brands, shopping, and are receptive to new forms of advertising

Not only are consumers following an average of 10 brands and 25 influencers across social platforms,* but learnings from Fullscreen’s proprietary consumer panel, TBH, reveal 63% of 18-30 year olds are somewhat or extremely likely to shop directly from an influencer’s post. [*Source: Fullscreen Generational Study powered by TalkShoppe] 

Relationships Drive Results

With any influencer partnership, taking a science-meets-human approach to ensure you’re partnering with the right talent, leaning into audience-first content strategies, and creating lasting relationships with influencers will help advertisers create mutually beneficial relationships, driving significant results.