“Influencer marketing is not a ‘nice to have’. Any company with any form of marketing or branding needs to build influencer marketing relationships. But make sure you invest your time in finding the right influencers. You don’t want to just hop on the first one that looks decent – it won’t be effective.”

– Rafi Offenbacher, Chief Customer Officer at Klear

In previous articles, we have discussed finding the right influencers for your brand and emphasized the importance of the synergy between brand and influencer. In addition to that, we have listed 5 free platforms to help you build your influencer list.

Even though several tools or agencies offer you suggestions about which influencers to choose, it is not enough to make a calculated decision. Tech companies don’t think about marketing when building their platforms, and agencies tend to push their own agenda based on relationships (or a friend of a friend of a friend). So who do you trust? Well, our suggestion is to internalise the influencer selection process to a point where you have full transparency of the metrics and criteria upon which the influencer was chosen.

Here’s a list of 8 key metrics we think are important when you select influencers for your next campaign:


Kick start your next campaign with our curated influencer list.


#1 Audience Match

Liking the influencer is not enough to determine if the influencer is fit for your brand or campaign, you have to match your audience and theirs. For instance, we like HYPR as marketers who identify the influencer’s audience especially based on demographics and interests. Instead of targeting broad audiences, focus on a more exact audience profile this will help with campaign effectiveness.

#2 Engagement Rate or ER

Good old Engagement Rate – yes, it has been around for a while but it is still useful. Mostly because you can always buy reach in social media by either:

  1. Reposting on your Owned channel and then Boosting (don’t forget to get the rights!),
  2. Creating a dark post or ad from influencer content, or
  3. Amplifying a post with a next generation influencer platform like Lumanu

ER also varies from one region to another, as well as, by industry and offers a good comparison between influencers. For instance, in our research for the Malaysian market, the average engagement rate for the top 100 influencers in Malaysia is 2.48%. Which is pretty low compared to one of the fastest growing influencers in Malaysia, Jenn Chia with an average 7.87% engagement rate when recorded back in June.

Source: Social Blade

“When I’m evaluating if an influencer is a good fit for our brand, I’m not only looking at how many followers they have but I’m also focused on their engagement. For example, how many likes are they getting each post? Are their followers interacting and posting comments or is it somehow getting lost?” 

– Stephanie Ertzberger, Founder at Perspective Fitwear

#3 Branded Engagement Rate or BER

At BrandHero we take an extra step in analysing the influencer’s 20 most recent posts to find out how many of those are branded and what the engagement rate is for them.

Just like the example we gave in our previous article, there is a 71% drop in engagement rate for this particular influencer when comparing her branded and non-branded posts.

We have learned that it is important to understand how and what type of content makes the influencer’s audience most receptive. This is highly dependant on the influencer’s creativity and the brand’s flexibility postings.

#4 Potential Reach or Followers

The number of followers naturally matters, but only within relevant context. Take into account the Followers-to-See rate or (F2S) to help determine how many users would realistically see a post. Potential Reach is not everything, but it’s a sign of the influencer’s ability to captivate audiences.

Most influencer identification platforms these days also allow you to see the reach within a certain audience segment. This is the case with HYPR or other influencer platforms we’ve previously reviewed.

What about fake followers?

On Instagram, there is no definite way we can tell if the influencer has purchased followers. But this is where Social Blade comes in handy, it helps brands analyse an influencer’s follower count.

Watch Xia Xue’s expose here:

#5 Brands Mentioned within 30 Days

If you spot that your competitor(s) have worked with an influencer you want to work with, it is good news. This means you can more accurately gauge your possible outcomes and what your brand can do differently.

At BrandHero, we look at the 20 most recent posts and list down all the brands they’ve mentioned or tagged to determine the influencer’s category and the type of brands that they work with most. Additionally, we look at the number of brands tagged in a post because some influencers excessively tag multiple brands in a post, this may seem to the audience like “overselling”. Which in many cases ends up decreasing the engagement rate.

#6 Compliance Rating

If you don’t know already, 86% of influencers’ posts in SEA are not compliant with Facebook’s Branded Content Policies. Especially for bigger brands, it is important to work with influencers that are honest in their partnerships with their sponsors. Additionally, on the influencer’s end, this transparency is to build and strengthen their audiences’ trust.

The Bloglovin’ Consumer Study found that 61% of women said they won’t engage with an influencer’s sponsored content if it doesn’t feel genuine. Even though this study is specifically about women the principle applies the same across the industry.

Trust and authenticity is crucial for influencer marketing as it affects both the influencer and the brand. Low engagement is not just a result of poor content but also a lack of trust.

In our research, we found that in Malaysia only 3.64% of the 2,000+ posts we analysed were correctly tagged. It is pretty easy to spot where a brand is mentioned on the post but the influencer did not reveal their partnership in the post.

#7 Content Quality

From images to captions, it is important to look at how the influencer “promotes” a brand. Here are the 3 signs to look out for.

  • Great production value

Great production value doesn’t necessarily mean Hollywood production films, and many influencers today are great at creating high quality content by themselves with basic equipment and video editing software.

In this context, great production value doesn’t necessarily mean content that looks expensive, but rather content that feels true, while being easy to digest.

  • Content tailored for the audience

“When you’re working with an influencer, you’re working with their audience, you’re buying an audience, so you should be using them to talk to the audience in the way they communicate with their followers. When people are just trying to buy an audience, they’re taking talent and expertise away from what they do well and trying to put the influencer into an environment where they are not comfortable. You don’t get the best of them and you lose the audience off the back of that. If done correctly, influencers can be an integral part of the creation process. A lot of people don’t do it correctly. And don’t necessarily get the engagement off the best of that.” – Adam Barnett, Head of Commercial Production at ITN Production.

For example, a brand approached a list of 10 influencers and send the same brief for the influencers to follow exactly, the end result is going to appear extremely staged to the audience that overlaps between these 10 influencers and it will no longer portray a sense of novelty from the influencer. Hence, poor content.

  • 90% unique

No-one is 100% unique, but you’d want to see originality of content creators. Has the influencer found a niche? Sure, they may be good at commenting, recycling, responding to current content but it has to come from them. Plagiarizing in an online world is one sure way to make your career suffer a potentially heavy backlash.

#8 Entertainment Value

We believe the #1 reason why some influencers have made it big and some haven’t is Entertainment Value. We have to remember that social media as a platform was never intended for anything else than a genuine interest to share knowledge. First by academics, and then by others. Branded and promotional content came much later.

Just three years ago Unboxing Therapy on YouTube had around 2.5M subscribers. Today it’s 12M, so Lu’s added close to 10M subscribers in three years. This size is impressive by any measure. So how did he do it? Well, let’s look at a video from three years ago and a very recent one side by side and see if we can spot any differences.

Unboxing therapy three years ago


Unboxing therapy today

What did you notice?

There is a bunch of things going on here, but one thing that immediately pops out is the Entertainment Value. Look at just how engaging Lu is. He’s way more opinionated, he’s way more emotionally engaging, he’s way more active in his gesturing. It’s just great content that you’d like to watch, frankly even if you don’t like unboxing videos. That’s what great influencers do.

TL;DR

  • Curating an influencer list for your campaign is a manual task even though there are helpful tools at your disposal
  • There are 8 metrics you should look at in your influencer’s profile:
    • Audience match
      • Targeting an exact audience match helps in converting them to actual customers.
    • Engagement Rate
      • The average engagement rate for the top 100 influencers in Malaysia is 2.48%. Similarly, you can use the top of a country as a benchmark.
    • Branded Engagement Rate
      • There will likely be a drop between ER and BER. In the case of the #1 Instagram influencer in Indonesia, it was a drop of 71%.
    • Potential Reach or Followers
      • The Followers-to-See rate or (F2S) will you help determine how many users would realistically see a post.
    • Brands mentioned within 30 days
      • This is an indicator of how busy the influencer is and how much of their content is promotional.
    • Compliance Rating
      • 86% of influencers’ posts in SEA are not compliant with Facebook’s Branded Content Policies and naturally, you want to choose influencers with the highest rate of compliance possible so the discussion to comply with your campaign rules is easier.
    • Content Quality
      • Production value doesn’t necessarily mean Hollywood production films and many influencers today are great at creating high-quality content by themselves with just basic equipment and video editing software. You can measure this with a subjective 0 to 10 scale.
    • Entertainment Value
      • We believe this is the #1 reason why some influencers make it big. You can score this with a subjective 0 to 10 scale also.

Download our free influencer list for your next campaign.