Digital advertising spending is expected to grow, including on social channels. But brands don’t seem to be spending enough on “influencers.”

Brands neglect influencers in their social marketing spending

Brand marketers are increasing social spend in 2013. Most of their budget will be going to display search and video advertising compared to 10 percent to social, according toTechnoratiMedia data. As the 2012 Digital Influence Report explains, only about 11 percent of social spend is dedicated to blog advertising (5%) and influencer outreach (6%) even though they make a large impact on consumers due to the high levels of trust, popularity and influence that they hold. The report suggests that brands may not recognize the potential that influencers hold due to a lack of metrics and channel fragmentation.

Social networks less influential than blogs for consumers

Blogs are the third most influential source of information for customers when they make a purchase, directly behind retail and brand websites, and are among the top five “most trustworthy” sources for users on the Internet in general. They also affect purchasing decisions more often than Facebook, and shape opinions more often than Twitter. However, the potential for impact does not correlate to planned spending: while digital budget and social media spending are expected to increase, earned media goals focus on Facebook ads rather than ads that appear in blogs. They will typically concentrate on Facebook likes, web traffic, fans and followers, etc. Few of these goals are specific to blogs - only 46 percent of brands measure comments, for instance.

Social spending may be more effective if brands use the right metrics

65% of brands participate in influencer marketing. But the report shows that even then, brands don’t use the right metrics to identify and choose which influencers to work with. They rely mostly on comScore or Nielsen indices, and social indicators such as the number of Twitter followers, Facebook friends and likes. Influencers, on the other hand, consider traffic and page views as their key metrics, even before Facebook Like, and Google analytics as the major tracking tool. Generally speaking, influencers are mostly on Facebook Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram.

By Alice Gillet
English editorial manager