Marketing Briefing: As influencer marketing RFPs mature, measurement, attribution and emerging trend strategies come into focus

This Marketing Briefing covers the latest in marketing for Digiday+ members and is distributed over email every Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. More from the series →

Brands’ influencer marketing requests for proposals (RFPs) are zeroing in on measurement and attribution as well as how influencer agencies and platforms will keep them abreast of emerging trends, according to influencer marketing execs, who say overall the RFPs are now much more sophisticated than previous years. Call it another ripple effect of influencer marketing maturation.

As marketers continue to increase influencer marketing budgets — recent IAB research found that 44% of advertisers expect to increase influencer marketing spending this year, increasing budgets by roughly 25% — they’re rethinking the metrics of success for influencer marketing campaigns.

When it comes to the measurement and attribution requests, marketers are requiring more than the basic like, comment and engagement metrics for detailed data to allow brands to run their own marketing mix modeling on influencer efforts. While the specific KPIs will vary by brand, influencer marketing execs say the push for more sophisticated measurement and attribution is commonplace now. 

“Just a few years ago, those that were coming to influencer marketing platforms or agencies were looking at it in a sense of media buying,” said Chelsea Goodson, head of creator economy at influencer platform Find Your Influence. “Brands have realized there’s so much more to it.” 

Brands will spell out that they want to be able to plug data into their own dashboards rather than rely solely on the agency or platforms’ reports, noted Mae Karwowski, CEO and founder of influencer marketing shop Obviously, who added the previously the shop would pitch clients on more significant measurement and attribution that has now become a requirement. 

Aside from more advanced measurement requirements, brands are much more cognizant of the importance of emerging trends and the need to stay on top of said trends for influencer marketing to be successful. The speed of the hype cycle of trends has accelerated to such a degree that brands are now asking influencer marketing agencies and platforms to give a peek into their process for staying on top of trends as part of the RFP pitch process. 

Brands are spelling out within RFPs that they want “to understand our process for staying on top of trends, spotting new trends, how we’re going to share that out with them,” said Danielle Wiley, founder of influencer marketing shop Sway Group. “Brands now want us to put a whole bunch of focus into outlining how that would be part of their program.” 

While it’s not new for brands to want to be on top of trends and stay relevant, especially with younger audiences, the focus that brands are putting on emerging trends now is significant, explained influencer marketing execs, who see it as a symptom of the faster-than-ever trend cycle. With more brands taking a “trend jacking” approach to influencer marketing, more brands are recognizing the potential success and wanting to use that approach for their own brands, explained Wiley. 

Some agencies are retooling their approach to emerging trends given the speed of trend cycles now. Obviously is in constant conversation with creators to get a sense of what they’re working on, where brands can fit in and what potential trends may be from those creators, explained Karwowski. 
There’s a sentiment of “let’s try and create our own culture versus just riding another wave of culture,” from other brands, as Nick Miaritis, chief client officer at VaynerMedia, explained. Whether or not brands can own culture depends on the brand.

3 Questions with Nick Soukas, senior vice president, marketing at Intuit’s Consumer Group

TurboTax has set its sights on catering to a Spanish-speaking audience using generative AI. Talk about that initiative.

One of the things that I’d love to highlight in that innovation area is we are going in a big way against communicating to a Spanish language audience. One of the things that has enabled that this year is that for the first time, we’re going to have a fully translated Spanish language product. Whereas we’ve had some Spanish language advertising in the past, there was a point of friction. When you get to the product, the experience wasn’t fully translated. So for the first time, the whole thing is enabled by generative AI, because we have on-the-fly translation available, a Spanish-speaking customer can have a seamless experience from the marketing presence we have all the way through into the product. A lot of our technology is enabling us to go bigger in marketing, in areas like Spanish-language marketing.

Google’s third-party cookie is crumbling. How is TurboTax navigating?

If anything, we’ve been preparing for a cookie-less environment for a long time. We stay focused on the customer. We’re looking and open to all different solutions when it comes to different signals to drive our marketing forward. Our main focus is first-party data because we want to make sure that we’re just doing the right thing for all of our customers. We’re also working with third-party platforms to understand what kind of capabilities they’re developing, because we’re not the only company that is experiencing this change in web environment.

TurboTax has been consistently showing up in the Super Bowl for 11 years. When ad spend is more scrutinized why is it still important to show up there?

We’re a company that is very comfortable with transformation and innovation. When you talk about the return on spend and economic headwinds, those are limiters on businesses if you’re not innovating. Some of the things we talked about, like being an AI-driven company, we have opportunity to do things like on-the-fly Spanish translation, [which] allows us to lean in even harder with marketing and get incremental audiences. Those are the types of things that allow us to be part of some of these big moments. When you innovate and you open up new offerings to new audiences, growth comes with it. —Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

In the current digital landscape, some brands have gone from digital-first companies to social media-first companies, according to recent research from Deloitte Digital. Notably, the research states these brands are seeing a boost in revenue as social goes from a place to connect with friends to a tool for sales, customer experience, data and measurement, and more. Find key details from the report below:

  • Social-first brands achieved an average revenue increase of 10.2% as a direct result of social strategies in 2022.
  • 47% of social-first brands say they have all the data they need to make informed decisions about their social media activities — compared to just 11% of low maturity organizations.
  • Among consumers, 72% are now willing to buy directly within social media platform. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“It’s still this primary second screen just because nothing matches it for scale of real-time conversation during live events — sports, especially. But it’s harder for brands to be active there because it’s uncertain and riskier.”

— Matt Talbot, co-founder and chief creative officer at WorkInProgress ad agency, when asked about why X may still be the primary second screen for this year’s Super Bowl despite the myriad challenges with the platform.

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