We introduced you to some of the parent blogger rankings, influencer rankings and databases that are available on the site previously, but what does all of it really mean?
Before we go into detail – let’s go off piste for a moment…
Influencer rankings are just a piece in a big jigsaw puzzle
For brands, influencer rankings and ultimately influencer marketing are all just a single piece within the overall digital marketing jigsaw. As with any jigsaw piece, before you put it in you need to make sure it fits properly:
- What are the overall goals for the business the influencer will be focused on?
- What will the influencer marketing, and influencers be doing to contribute to this overall goal, and
- How will you measure the success of the influencers once you have completed it?
If you look at all these factors, brand use of influencer ranking tools, and marketing will be so much more likely to work for their business as a whole. This doesn’t just apply to brands, but creators too:
- Why are you doing it: joining the ranking or using that service/influencer,
- What do you hope to achieve: access to more work as a blogger, peer review, greater brand awareness and reach, or sales, and
- How do you measure success: more platform followers, or readers, greater reach for a specific product, etc. It is critical for brands here to know how they will measure this inside the business. For example, it is rare for an influencer campaign, just like any other advertising, to be able to attribute last click to a sale. As we mentioned before, advertisers buy on reach, but could measure success on engagement. It helps as an influencer to know what a brand is aiming to achieve before you start a campaign. Don’t be afraid to ask. It is no surprise that influencer marketing sits alongside PR in being tough to measure.
So that’s our take on influencer rankings, so here is a bit more of an in-depth explanation of them…
What is included within influencer rankings?
You may notice we are now saying influencer rankings…. so many parent bloggers, and creators have more than just a website to generate audience reach. Bloggers and creators will use social influence on:
- Instagram, both within the feed and on stories
- YouTube, all alongside
- Their websites / blogs.
Even within these social media platforms, influencers can use video, articles and social posts to inspire their audiences.
Of course, vloggers lead with video, and bloggers with written content. However, many bloggers also vlog, and vice versa nowadays. If you’re a creative, you often just can’t stop yourself…. 😉 Social media is an excellent way to promote your content AND reach a new audience, so it is no surprise bloggers have diversified.
In addition, creators love feedback, and social media provides an easy way to interact with their audience. Comments on blogs have fallen, but DMs on Instagram, and even emails offer other ways to communicate with influencers and sites. For the tech savvy generations, these forms of communication seem to come more naturally.
Within all these social platforms, influence can be measured in a number of different ways:
- Follower numbers
- Engagement, and/or
What is NOT included?
Equally important is what is NOT possible to include within most influencer rankings, because the information is just not available to the organisations that look at the statistics. Some examples would include:
- Detailed website statistics, such as bounce rate. Blogs are typically 80%, and ours is 30% for example,
- Newsletter information, if someone subscribes, opens and clicks your newsletters they are truly engaged,
- Business metrics from the perspective of the brands who have worked with the influencers, and
- All social networks. Social network inclusion varies depending on the ranking, with Twitter and Instagram often leading the way. This is despite many creators getting most traffic from other sources such as Instagram Stories, Facebook and Pinterest. For example, this site gets most clicks from Pinterest and Google, and a site like Red Ted Art with over 1 million Facebook fans likely reaches its audience best on this platform.
How is influence measured?
For all the metrics collected within the rankings (followers, engagement and expertise), bloggers and influencers are being ranked by their ability to reach, and/or inspire their audiences.
This means influencer rankings can be developed measuring:
- Audience reach (followers); which is often how advertising is bought, and really boils down to the number of followers or impressions an influencer can get on the content they have on their site, or social channels. PRs and advertising executives are often interested in the reach a parent blogger or influencer has,
- Audience engagement; which can be how success is measured even though the original purchase was based on reach. Engagement is based on the action an audience takes upon seeing a creator’s content, whether it is a post, article, video, or story. PRs and advertisers will be interested in this too, but there can be difficulty in measuring some specific actions following an influencer campaign. For example, the click from the influencer content may not result in immediate product purchase, but is likely to push brands more front of mind in consumers, and
- Expertise or authority; which one might measure in terms of the other organisations and sites linking back to a bloggers site. This is important for PRs and advertising as it increases the long-term visibility on content on an influencer site (via Google). It is MOST important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaigns.
Influencer rankings struggle to be able to measure ALL these factors in one place for a single creator, split by platform, media (video or post), engagement and reach. In our opinion, Flea Enterprises and Tots100 is doing the best here, combining a number of different platforms, and including SEO and website factors in its rankings. Influencer Management tools help with accessing info that isn’t public (Webfluential, Upfluence, etc) as creators are asked to authorise platforms to participate in their rankings. However, this does make these systems inherently flawed as unless the influencers choose to join, brands won’t pick them up. Some of them are expensive too (for the brand) given this. It would be lovely to see both Insta Stories and Pinterest in influencer rankings in the future *know that is easier said than done due to APIs*. Babios is expected to take these platforms into consideration (where information is available publicly) in its new study in future.
Do influencer rankings measures work?
The diversity of the creator space has made it increasingly difficult to develop an influencer rankings list or resource that can be sliced and diced by all the ways that a brand, or blogger, might want to view their influencer data. To expand this concept, creators would like to see how they rank against their peers, but dependent on their specific focus. There are 10,000 parent influencers in the UK, and likely 10,000 different goals and focus points for every single one of those sites and platforms.
To give an example specific to this site:
- KiddyCharts would expect strong visits, but perhaps less comments than other bloggers, as people download our printables and then leave the site to use them. Our printables give us authority within the parenting sector, with a strong domain authority (58), and back link footprint. Any rankings without website visits and expertise are therefore showing an incomplete picture,
- KiddyCharts has a newsletter that goes out to nearly 4,000 users, and it has an open rate of 20% and a click through of 20%. There are no rankings that illustrate this. If we make a mistake on an article *cough* and we forget to include a download link; we know about it as soon as we send our newsletters out *oops*,
- Pinterest is a key focus due to our visual content so rankings excluding this don’t do us justice. None of Parent Blogger Rankings include Pinterest, though it can be added to some pitch packs, and
- Our audience is very partial, on most social platforms and our site, to a relevant family giveaway, so for brand awareness and reach, we can develop a compelling solution for brands. There is no way of illustrating specific topic strengths or campaigns within an influencer ranking. For example, our last giveaway campaign had over 1million reach (14.5m potential reach) according to the Union Metrics third party software we use to measure our successes.
As a result of this increasing diversity within the influencer space, digital marketers should really use the influencer rankings tools available to create their own picture, and then develop relationships with influencers, and agencies that fit their needs. This helps them develop a set of trusted go-to creators that they are happy to work with.
What does this mean for how brands use influencer rankings?
Brands use a mix of the tools, and industry knowledge to help them meet their specific goals; the jigsaw we referred to earlier. Influencer marketing will be a piece alongside SEO, online advertising, social, and anything else that works for that brand.
If a brand is developing an instagram influencer program, they may very well use a trusted talent agency, such as Channel Mum or Studio 7, combined with both Tots100 and Tribe. This will give them a wholistic approach in their campaign; covering small to large influencers most effectively. KiddyCharts might not be on their lists, and other influencers will miss out too, but that’s fine as those influencers focus their efforts on other social platforms and assets. They will likely work with different influencers with different focuses on their next campaign; and next it could be you!
Blogger networks, multi-channel networks, talent management agencies, and influencer management software development are all on the rise to help facilitate this multi-channel approach to influencer marketing. The demand for solutions and services to help reach the right influencers at the right time is as strong as ever. Proof of the authenticity of the influencers is driving increasing scrutiny on both influencer rankings and the industry as a whole too.
Influencer authenticity is likely to become an important measure in influencer rankings is 2019 and beyond. The challenge for influencer rankings is how they are going to prove the authenticity of their creators. Engagement rates for specific assets are a great place to start with this.
How do influencers feel about the rankings they are in?
For influencers, the rankings they belong to are only part of the picture, and bloggers and influencers are pitching using them, but alongside unique strengths that set their assets apart from others. Some bloggers have chosen to leave the rankings to help focus more on those strengths, and less on the specific criteria that those influencer rankings count as “important” for brands. Quite rightly, some influencers believe that the unique and diverse nature of influencing means a unique approach to every brand and pitch. Brands like these more personal approaches too.
New rankings, such as the Babios statistical analysis, though offering a new take on the “numbers game” of influencer rankings, is only capturing a single moment in time, so longer term, unless it is regularly updated, it will lose value. This is, however, perfectly normal for the type of academic analysis it is based on. The initial report covered 1100+ bloggers; Tots100 now has 10,000 members in the UK; so ultimately it provides a snapshot in time for a subset of the community. This approach is totally understandable given the size of the task.
Influencer rankings are a fabulous tool, but you can’t beat building relationships
As with any system, or process, influencer rankings are a fantastic tool for digital marketers and creators alike.
Creators love being part of these rankings to help see how they are doing compared to their peers, and to be seen to be an active and successful member of the community so they are approached for work. However, if you aren’t included within them, creators are savvy enough to know what their strengths are to be able to create a compelling argument outside of the rankings that work for them.
For brands, particularly those with limited resources, influencer rankings offer a clear, clean place for them to see who is doing what, on which platforms and how successfully. However brands feel about the rankings, they provide benchmarks within an industry that is tough to measure. As long as the brands understand their limitations and adjust accordingly, they are incredibly helpful in getting a handle on who to build solid relationships with in a wonderfully diverse, and exciting community.
Thanks again for taking the time to read this. It has been a pleasure, do sign up to our newsletter for more advice, giveaways, printables and parenting tips. We’d love to see you back again soon.
Don’t forget to pin this for later as well – and come see us on Pinterest too. 500,000 followers can’t be wrong 😉.
Take care as always,