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Fixing the ROI Problem With Influencer Marketing The company that may have plugged the biggest hole in influencer marketing.

By Derek Newton

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Influencer marketing has been a buzzword in public relations, sales and marketing for some time now. Its durability is a testament to its potential power to drive engagements and sales. But it's also a testament to how little those in it -- the brands and influencers alike -- really understand it.

From the outside, influencer marketing is pretty simple and perfectly tailored to a communications world dominated by social media and content overload. The idea is that those who need to reach key audiences connect with people who have influence in those segments and get them -- the influencers -- to share information beneficial to the company, client or brand.

If you're launching a fashion company, for example, it would be enormously helpful to you if a well-known model or writer for a fashion magazine posted photos of your brand on Instagram or shared a link and few nice words on Twitter.

Related: How to Get a Great ROI on Your Influencer Marketing Plan

For those who've built large followings in important audience groups such as media, technology, music, liquor, travel and even markets like pets, the financial rewards can be inviting; the payoff for those writing the marketing checks can be ample as well. Influencer marketing can get an advertiser access to a contained, active audience with the third-party validation of a leader in that space. It can be a big two-in-one marketing win.

Research shows that posts shared by trusted influencers converted at higher rate than those sent by the brand itself. Additionally, customers acquired through social influencers saw a 37 percent increase in retention rates. That's a big deal.

But influencer marketing has hit a snag. There has been no simple or consistent way to measure the real impact of a particular influencer, and as a result, no way for marketers and brands to put a real value on what influencer marketing is worth or what it should cost.

That's a problem.

But it's a problem Snips may have solved by bringing influencers and marketers under one roof in a system that tracks the actual influence of individual influencers and overall campaign performance, from the point of engagement all the way through conversion. If they're right, and it looks as though they may be, Snips can stabilize the marketplace and provide real value for both ends of the influencer marketing pipeline.

Related: How to Create a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

"Brands have been overpaying and underpaying influencers, because they can't quantify the value of that emotional connection between influencers and their audience," David Zaretsky, CEO and Chief Scientist of Snips told me. "Historically the only way to quantify influencer value was based on the number of followers one has. But the explosion of bots and fake followers on social media has inflated those numbers to the point where follower counts no longer have any correlation with actual engagement. But our platform is completely performance driven, providing greater accountability and transparency for all parties."

Like many solutions that sound simple, Snips took a great deal of work to build -- but the result could have a big impact on the multi-billion-dollar marketing space. Because Snips is performance based, it's opening doors for startups and small businesses as well as niche influencers. Now any company, big or small can compete with global brands for the time and attention of influencers and their followers.

The approach could change the influencer market space that once involved large investments and a headache-inducing practice of sifting through Facebook and Twitter to find influencers, contact them, get their attention, make a pitch, negotiate compensation and hope for good results.

"A true influencer should drive measureable action, not just views," Zaretsky said. "And now we can quantifiably measure that value and its ROI for advertisers."

Whether you're in an influencer, a marketer or a just an observer, that's good news for everyone.

Derek Newton

NYC based communications and public relations professional

Derek Newton is a communications expert and writer based in New York City. He has been working in nonprofit, political and policy communications for more than 20 years and helped launch several startups. 

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