SA brands get influencers wrong


Brands are incorrectly using metrics like followers and reach to measure influencer marketing, and ignoring thousands of valuable, authentic influencers in their social media communities. That’s the key finding of a new research project involving 50 local brands, pioneered by World Wide Worx using Continuon’s social intelligence technology, Continuon. The study, called The Power of Brand Influencers 2018, set out to find out find out what goes wrong (and right) when brands invest in social influence.

Fifty major brands cooperated with the research, conducted by social intelligence technology company Continuon and World Wide Worx. The brands allowed unprecedented access to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for three months, enabling Continuon to collect 100-million pieces of data, generated by 5,25-million individuals who had interacted with the 50 brands.

“Brands are investing heavily in social media ‘influencers’, but the research has clearly shown that most brands are getting influencer marketing wrong, because they don’t understand the shape of this influence, what drives influence, or how to measure influence properly,” says Arthur Goldstuck, Managing Director of World Wide Worx.

Goldstuck says that big brands are using social media to get conversations going around products, and many rope in “influencers” based on their reach but, when the effectiveness of these campaigns is measured, the result is often disappointing. “When brands measure the real impact – and here I mean brand loyalty and sales in the real world – they are often underwhelmed. Usually, they have no idea what went wrong, since the campaigns look so successful on the surface.”

The Power of Brand Influencers 2018, available for free download at [insert URL]. reveals what does go wrong. The norm in social media and digital marketing has been to use reach to measure influence.

“Reach is important to influencer marketing, but what really counts in influence is what affects behaviour or causes a change in purchase decisions,” says Goldstuck. “In social media, this comes in the shape of sharing, engaging, interacting, tagging and gaining word of mouth.

“But the big opportunity that brands are missing out on is leveraging the thousands of influencers who exist within a brand’s social media community, but who are not identified, because marketers aren’t using the right technologies for influencer marketing. These influencers cost nothing and are authentic.”

The Power of Brand Influencers 2018 reveals that the best measure of social media influence, in terms of impact on brand loyalty, is the ability of an individual to extend a conversation around a brand or product beyond the original post or repost. This is called “the velocity of social conversation and engagement”, and it can be measured precisely.

“The norm in social media and digital has been to take reach and impressions as key variables in the measure of how influential people are,” says Richard Nischk, Head of Product at Continuon.

“When looking into the definition of influence in the real world, it becomes clear what needs to be measured in digital influence. Influence is defined as the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.”

When influence leaped over to social media, however, a new way of thinking about it evolved, by necessity. But necessity is not the mother of accuracy.

“Reach isn’t everything and it certainly doesn’t show the full picture of what causes influence,” says Nischk. “This is why we’re calling on marketers to redefine the measurement of influence. We’re urging brand managers and digital marketers to rather take an approach that provides metrics that can be used, in a quantifiable manner, to increase return on investment.

“Without tracking velocity, the real driver of influence,  brands will pretty much be stumbling around in the dark. To track real influence, brands must look at the shape of sharing, engaging, interacting, tagging and gaining word of mouth from the people you reach.”

Continuon’s smart Influencer Algorithm uses engagement types and behavioural data points to assign influencer scores to individuals in social audiences who drive influence for brands. The research by World Wide Worx and Continuon identifies thousands of influencers within the branded communities surveyed that are not being used to drive brand influence online.

*For more information on Continuon, visit

Built + Managed by The Yellow Llama