Marketers invest in influence marketing, dismiss social scoring tools

More than half of marketers plan to get into influence marketing within the next year but most don’t trust the current influence scoring tools, according to a new report by Sensei and ArCompany. The global report, based on a survey of 1,300 marketing and PR professionals, revealed 94% of marketers do not trust the metrics […]

More than half of marketers plan to get into influence marketing within the next year but most don’t trust the current influence scoring tools, according to a new report by Sensei and ArCompany.

The global report, based on a survey of 1,300 marketing and PR professionals, revealed 94% of marketers do not trust the metrics of tools like Kred, Klout and PeerIndex, which score social media users based on their influence with other users.

Sam Fiorella, partner at Sensei, a Mississauga-based agency, said instead of using scoring tools like Klout or Kred, many marketers use a mix of social analytics tools like Sysomos, Radian6 and Hootsuite to identify influential users on social media and measure programs that tap into their power to spread marketing messages.

Fiorella, the co-author of an upcoming book on influence marketing, said one of the reasons Sensei and ArCompany conducted the study was to gauge marketers’ opinions of influence marketing – an area both agencies specialize in – and determine whether brands, agencies and PR professionals saw a difference between influencer marketing and social scoring.

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Despite the mistrust of social scoring tools, Fiorella said he was pleased to see that marketers are still eager to target “influential” consumers on social media with 74% reporting they are planning some type of influence marketing initiative within the next 12 months.

Influence programs have become an increasingly important part of brands’ social media strategy in recent years with big brands like Sport Chek, Samsung, Ford, Amex, Scotiabank, Starbucks and Cadillac Fairview running influence programs. According to the survey, 54% of respondents reported they plan to spend more than 20% of their marketing budgets on influence marketing, which Fiorella said is mostly online but also includes offline word-of-mouth programs.

Many of these initiatives will require an investment in time rather than money, though, with just 50% saying they are allocating marketing dollars to influence marketing – meaning 24% aren’t planning to spend anything on their influence initiatives.

Most marketers see influence marketing as a way to draw in new customers through social media rather than a branding exercise, with 68% reporting they see influence marketing as a lead generation and customer acquisition strategy.

Services that provide a score for individual users have repeatedly been criticized by marketers, which was reflected in the survey with 55% of marketers responding that scoring platforms are ineffective. As Marketing reported during SXSW last month, Jure Klepic of Lucule Consulting and several other social experts advocated that marketers drop their use of social scoring tools altogether, saying, “Klout and Kred don’t work. They never did and they never will,” a charge Kred CEO Andrew Grill adamantly disagreed with.

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