OPINION: The Future of Influencer Marketing with AI: No Bots and Better Data

The following is a guest contributed post from Alexander Boykov, CEO and Founder, Buzzweb.

For the past two years, the topic of AI has been dominating marketing technology industry events and publications. From enabling brands to better personalize content to identifying new potential audiences, these advanced tools that were previously only available to enterprise level companies have become accessible and affordable, and are already being widely implemented.

Research published by Salesforce earlier this year shows that “51 percent of marketing leaders are already using AI in at least some capacity.” Furthermore, the marketers surveyed anticipate that over the next two years, AI will grow more than 50 percent, facilitating the delivery of “more targeted campaigns, smarter personalization and higher ROI.”

With the fast growth of AI in marketing, how will that impact the future of the industry? What does it mean for influencer marketing specifically, already a billion dollar industry that is quickly eating up marketer budgets?

Influencer marketing grew into a successful channel as consumers became wary of mainstream advertising. They felt it was disingenuous and impersonal. And while people no longer trusted ads, they did trust people–or rather, they trust a voice of authority that they relate to and admire. And they still do, influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing according to a 2016 study from Nielsen Catalina Solutions.

But like any digital marketing channel, influencer marketing is susceptible to fraud. Enter AI’s  identification and validation process. This helps to overcome the fraudulent nature of bots, purchased by influencers to make themselves appear more popular, and the problems of false campaign data which can throw off marketers’ ROI.

With AI’s ability to refine search parameters, it can check for bots and provide recommendations based on reach, value and engagement consistency, giving marketers the assurance that their influencers are legitimate and their budget is being spent appropriately. By analyzing influencer data, the technology can quickly identify a large spike in followers–indicating the purchase of bots, assess influencer content, determine brand affinity and even identify patterns to predict the influencer’s impact on a brand’s KPIs. Additionally, marketers can use AI to identify influencers to execute for their brand who are similar to a previously successful influencer partner–further avoiding fraudulent accounts.

Another significant problem in influencer that AI helps solve for is segmenting and targeting audiences in an age with increasingly large pools of data. The marriage of advanced search engines and social media data have made it easier for marketers to identify audience patterns to inform future campaigns but the sheer volume of data makes it impossible to effectively analyze without assistance. With machine learning, marketers will be able to better understand and use that data to better scale their campaigns and reach specific segments without sacrificing personalization.

As AI begins to provide increased intelligence into how marketers should identify influencers, more impactful decisions will be made allowing the execution of stronger and more effective campaigns. From influencer identification to accurate ROI metrics, AI is the future of marketing, assuring marketers that tangible results will be delivered while also keeping the human in marketing, and hopefully ending the discussion around fraudulent behavior in marketing.

About the Author: Alexander Boykov

Alexander Boykov is the Founder and CEO of Buzzweb, an influencer marketplace providing brand marketers and agencies with access to high quality influencers in an affordable plug-and-play solution. At Buzzweb, Boykov provides the strategic direction of the business, leads product development and quality control. Previously, Boykov Co-Founded TimeWeb, one of the leading web hosting and managed domain services brands in Russia.  Additionally, Boykov is an avid technology investor and is a member the Venture Club in St. Petersburg, Russia. A computer engineer by trade, Boykov attended Saint Petersburg University of Aerospace Instrumentation.  He currently resides in St. Petersburg and San Francisco.