The Top 4 Reasons Why Influencer Programs Fail

Influencer Programs Fail Reasons Marketing
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Why Influencer Programs Fail (And How Marketers Can Fix Them Before They Do)

In a digital landscape crowded with content and advertisements, influencer marketing has proven a powerful and effective method for rising above the noise to connect to consumers authentically through creators they trust. Nearly 85% of marketers are employing influencer marketing tactics to reach audiences, and more than 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective.

Not every influencer program is set up for success, though. When influencer programs fail, it’s often because creators and managers failed in one or more key areas. To understand how and why influencer programs fail (and how to avoid these common pitfalls), see our list below.

1. Poor Influencer Relations & Selection

As influencer marketing matures, it’s becoming less of a novelty and more of a key part of most marketing plans. There are thousands of influencers across Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook,, and more.

It’s imperative that marketers partner with the right influencers for their campaigns, that they meet their choices carefully, that they cultivate lasting relationships with their influencers, and that they allow influencers some degree of creative control to ensure the best results.

Influencers come in many forms. Some of the most popular influencers may have incredible reach but speak to an audience that’s outside of a brand’s core demographic. Some influencers, like PewDiePie, are extremely popular but are embroiled in controversy that makes them a risk for brands. Brands must choose and vet influencers carefully, taking into consideration how influencers create and communicate and whether or not there’s potential for an ongoing partnership.

To learn more about what to consider when finding and choosing the right influencers, see our guide to choosing influencers.

Once marketers choose influencers, they must work to build and maintain positive relationships with those influencers. As popular creators who act as key voices in target demographics, influencers are a powerful asset. While many brands approach influencers for single campaigns, it may be beneficial to develop long-term partnerships with quality influencers.

Related Post: The 5 Different Types Of Influencer Marketing Campaigns

A key component of influencer relations is the degree of creative control influencers are afforded as they create content for campaigns or ongoing marketing efforts. Influencers are experts in their audiences and spend a great deal of time understanding what they respond to, what kind of content they’re looking for, and which communication methods are most effective. It may be difficult for brands and marketers to surrender the control of brand messaging, but maintaining a stranglehold on content may alienate influencers and result in stilted, ineffective content.

It may be difficult for brands and marketers to surrender the control of brand messaging, but maintaining a stranglehold on content may alienate influencers and result in stilted, ineffective content.

2. Poor Influencer Program Management & Development

Influencer marketing is no longer a new phenomenon, but some companies are still behind in fully integrating influencer marketing into their larger marketing and advertising efforts.

The marketing space changes and evolves quickly, and marketers who fail to invest proper time and research into influencer trends and tactics may find themselves with last-minute, fragmented, and ineffective influencer marketing efforts. Effective influencer program management requires marketers to devote and prioritize the proper resources to a crafting solid influencer programs.

Altimeter’s study of B2C and B2B influencer marketing programs found that just 7% and 4% of companies had integrated influencer marketing programs. While 48% of B2C companies have ongoing influencer programs, 31% of companies’ programs are still experimental and another 14% are strictly campaign-driven.

Related Post: The 10-Step Roadmap For Creating Influencer Marketing Campaigns [Infographic]

3. Lack of Meaningful Influencer Content

Quality content is central to the success of influencer marketing campaigns and influencer programs. The most effective influencer marketing is more than a simple shoutout or passing product placement on popular influencer channels. The best content humanizes brand messaging and connects with audiences to communicate brand values.

Influencer content may underperform for a variety of reasons, ranging from the time of posting to poor promotion, but the aspect that marketers must be most mindful of is the content quality as it pertains to campaign goals. If content is created with a misunderstanding of a brand or influencer’s core audience, it may not only fall flat — it could risk damaging the brand.

Marketers must research their audiences, trust influencers for insight into their audiences, and be particular about the quality of the content that’s meant to engage audiences on a brand’s behalf.

Related Post: Why Social Media Engagement Matters For Sponsored Content

4. Influencer Programs Built On Unclear Goals

A cornerstone of effective influencer program management is clear, well-defined, and achievable goals. Without goals, influencer marketing programs are rudderless and lack an effective yardstick for measuring success. Before marketers structure campaigns and contact influencers, they must first set clear goals for influencer programs, no matter the length of the campaign.

Goals might be sales-based and focused on conversions, or they might be focused on brand awareness and measured by engagement on social media. Marketers should determine goal-related key performance indicators (KPIs) and formulate strategies based on those goals and KPIs. When influencer programs are guided by clear goals rather than abstract concepts and a general wishlist of results, marketers’ efforts are much more effective.

To learn more about how to craft effective influencer programs, see our CMO’s Guide To Influencer Marketing.

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