How the Influencer Marketing “Bubble” Won’t Burst

By Brett Garfinkel, CEO and Co-Founder at SYLO

When winning and executing any type of campaign, a key thought process for media sales teams is that they need to maintain this business to help deliver on or above their set quota. To achieve this, they need to show campaign success so that the brand marketer looks good. When the brand marketer looks good, this increases the media vendor’s chance of gaining repeat business and overachieving on quota.

For media types, such as TV, digital advertising, or website advertising, there are third-party independent measurement solutions to verify and validate this success. The way we know which are the best performing TV shows during Tuesday primetime is because there is standardized reporting – the Nielsen rating.

In the influencer marketing space, there was such no third-party out there where they could see the success. Up until now, reporting is often just creating the story to keep brand marketers satisfied and keep the business coming.

My team has been told this over and over again in meetings with brand marketers. They’re left with the apparent reality that every campaign is a success. We ask, “When was the last time you received a report that showed that your influencer marketing campaign performed poorly?” Answer: *crickets*, and then *chuckles* as they realize the reality of the situation.

It is for that reason that independent, third-party standardized measurement is necessary for the influencer marketing space.

The Current State of the “Bubble”

Several articles have described influencer marketing as a bubble that’s going to burst. Yes, it will burstas long as brand marketers and CMOs are unsure of the value or metrics being reported.

Then, there are a number of vendors who present themselves as all-in-one solutions with matching, execution, and reporting components for influencer marketing campaigns. Can you see how this might introduce conflicting factors when it comes to real, accurate measurement? They have a horse in the race, but are still providing reports.

Perhaps your influencer marketing tech stack includes an influencer identification/matching tool and/or a platform that manages and executes the campaigns. Regardless, you will need a third-party measurement platform to validate the results and truly justify the spend.

The Most Valuable Word in the Influencer Marketing Space

What we need to prevent the influencer marketing bubble from bursting is: Participation! That should be the most valuable word in the influencer marketing space. MCNs, vendors, talent managers, creators, agencies, PR firms, and brands all need to get behind a solution, that is third-party standardized measurement. You need a village to make this a reality, with all of the key players in the influencer marketing universe coming together for the betterment of the space.

There are countless articles quoting top marketers from the likes of P&G, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S., and Unilever, demanding for transparency and accountability in the advertising space. This needs to be demanded for every type of advertising. So, if you believe this, then participateno one entity can make this a reality. For brands and their agencies, standardized measurement will legitimize their reporting and provide confidence in what is succeeding and what is not so that they can tailor and improve their strategies; when you receive conflicting numbers and reports from various sources, there is no moving forward and the “bubble” will burst. And for the talent side, it will bring more budget into the space as there will be actual measured performance, as well as an increased confidence in the brand partnerships, content strategies, and creators themselves.

What is It Worth?

As you increase your influencer marketing spend, and see yourself working with more creators across more platforms, shouldn’t you expect a better understanding of your results via third-party standardized measurement? If the answer is yes, then how much is it worth to you? Not in terms of just budget, but in efficiency and the ability to positively affect your business goals. What is it worth to you to be able to have third-party standardized measurement and content benchmarks that will save you so much time, effort, and money on underperforming campaigns and influencers?

I’d love to hear your answers to the above questions, as well as hear your thoughts and position on what was discussed in this blog post. Please contact me at to continue this conversation, and you can also visit to learn more about standardized measurement for the influencer marketing space.


Image source: Pixabay

Part Four: Three Tips for Social Influencer Cross-Promotions

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

We’ve reached the final post in our four-part blog series that will present tips to recap what we’ve covered so far. This series was based off of SYLO’s research study that was featured in a recent presentation that I gave at Buffer Festival in Toronto. Here are posts 1-3 of the series in case you need to catch up:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study
  3. Storytelling Insights You Need to Know

Utilizing the data, insights, and strategies that we’ve explored in this series, here are three tips on how you can create a comprehensive cross-promotion influencer marketing strategy.

  1. Data, Data, Data!

Marketers should be informed when preparing the content and creator strategies for their influencer campaigns. As stated in a recent MarTech Today article, “If you want to be a better marketer, you need to start with clean data.” By utilizing third-party, independent data sources that provide influencer, platform, and campaign performance, and content benchmarks (see: SYLO), you can truly have a data-driven influencer marketing strategy.

  1. Play to the Creator’s Strengths

Utilizing content benchmarks (see Part Three) to understand which topics resonate with audiences on various social media platforms will ensure that you’re reaching any and all engaged audiences for that creator. It’s rare that a creator only has “influence” on one topic or theme. Though the creator may be regarded as a “beauty influencer,” the creator may also see high performance in other areas such as parenting and pets – which could open up new opportunities to pitch relevant brands with the data showing this “influence.” This can also vary by social media platform. It’s important for both the brand and creator to understand the combination of topics and social media platforms that drive the highest performance and authenticity.

  1. Tailored Cross-Platform Strategies

Our study (see Part Two) found that YouTube videos that were cross-promoted scored 47% higher than those that weren’t cross-promoted. However, this needs to be a consistent strategy, and one that is tailored to each platform. In post three of this series, we explored how one creator used the same caption across all of the social media platforms where she cross-promoted her YouTube video – these posts may have performed much better if she had tailored her caption to a style that typically resonates with her audience on that platform.

Thank you for joining us for this deep-dive into the world of cross-promoting social influencer content. The three other posts in this series can be found below. If you want to find out if you’re forming the right partnerships, and utilizing the right content on the right social media platforms, check out or email us directly at to access third-party unbiased measurement and reporting!


More posts from this series:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study
  3. Part Three: Storytelling Insights You Need to Know


Image source: Pixabay

Part Three: Storytelling Insights You Need to Know

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

This is part three of our four-part blog series based off of SYLO’s research study that was featured in a recent presentation that I gave at Buffer Festival in Toronto. In case you missed posts one and two, you can view them here:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study

This series’ third post dives into the storytelling insights that marketers and creators alike need to know!

As a quick recap of the study that produced these insights: using the SYLO Score, we analyzed nearly 500 pieces of influencer marketing content produced by creators to see if cross-promotion of their YouTube videos led to better performance. We found that YouTube videos that were cross-promoted scored 47% higher than those that weren’t cross-promoted, and creators with cross-promotions accounting for more than 10% of their branded content saw a 58% higher score on average for that content.

To illustrate the best practices that drove these performance rates, we compiled the case study featured below.

Keep in mind that a SYLO Score of 50 is good, as these are content benchmarks. Here we can see that YouTube and Twitter outperform Facebook and Instagram, when analyzing this beauty creator’s social media platform performance.

Tailoring the Messaging

Taking a look at the cross-promotion content produced for a brand partnership, we see that her Twitter content scored highest, followed by Facebook, but Instagram is not resonating well. Note that all of her content used had the same exact caption. As cross-promotion content typically drives up a creator’s YouTube video performance, perhaps varying the caption, particularly on Instagram, to a style that typically resonates with her audience would further boost both the Instagram and YouTube contents’ performances.

Know the Content Themes

One thing that often holds back influencer marketing strategies is that they only focus on the category or theme that the creator is known for, in this case: Beauty. However, beauty isn’t the only theme she utilizes (or that resonates with her audience). For example, across Twitter and YouTube, this beauty creator’s content performs well when it features product reviews or advice/recommendations, but not so much on Instagram.

And you can see this reflected in another brand campaign that she produced content which she cross-promoted:

The key takeaway here is to know what content themes resonate with your audiences across each and every social platform!

The final post in this series will zero in on how you can create a comprehensive cross-promotion influencer marketing strategy. In the meantime, you can read the other posts in this series by clicking the links below, or check out to get insights into your content, storytelling, influencer, and social media platform strategies using our third-party measurement and reporting dashboard. You can also email us at!

More posts from this series:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study
  3. You’re reading it!
  4. Part Four: Three Tips for Social Influencer Cross-Promotions

Image source: Pixabay

Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

This is the second post in our four-part blog series based off of SYLO’s research study that was featured in a recent presentation that I gave at Buffer Festival in Toronto. The first post is filled with stats and insights into the digital, social media, content marketing, and influencer marketing landscapes, and can be read here.

This second post now dives research study that SYLO conducted on several influencers and their content to analyze storytelling and cross-promotion trends.

The main question SYLO set out to answer with this study was: “How can brands activate influencers’ audiences and support their storytelling initiatives across every social channel?”

To answer this, SYLO conducted a study on nearly 489 pieces of branded content produced by creators on our platform who have cross-promoted their YouTube videos on other social media platforms. We measured the performance of these posts with the SYLO Score, the standardized metric for influencer marketing. Here is a quick overview of the SYLO Score:

The performance data on the content in this study is verified, accurate, transparent, and independently reported.

127 of the 489 pieces of branded content we analyzed were YouTube videos. 37% of those videos were cross-promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. 63% were standalone videos i.e. not cross-promoted.


  1. We found that YouTube videos that were cross-promoted scored 47% higher than those that weren’t cross-promoted.
  2. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram content that cross-promoted the YouTube videos had an average 9% higher SYLO Score than any other type of content on those platforms.
  3. Creators with cross-promotions accounting for more than 10% of their branded content saw a 58% higher score on average for that content…proving that Consistency is Key!

So how can we use these findings to tell better stories? The next post in this series dives into the storytelling insights that marketers need to know! If you haven’t already, be sure to read the first post in the series on the landscape in which influencer marketing is quickly claiming a larger and larger stake.

More posts from this series:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. You’re reading it!
  3. Part Three: Storytelling Insights You Need to Know
  4. Part Four: Three Tips for Social Influencer Cross-Promotions

Image source: Pixabay

Influencer Marketing in Desperate Need of Verification and Transparency

By Brett Garfinkel, CEO and Co-Founder at SYLO

Influencer marketing is an industry open to everyone. Much like the Wild West of yore, it’s full of opportunity lurking around every corner – barriers to entry are minimal and pretty much anybody can start creating content with the goal of partnering with a brand somewhere down the line.

Does this mean that the industry is all sunshine and roses?

Of course not.

Influencer Marketing Threatened by the Lack of Standardized Measurement

Where there’s ample opportunity, there’s ample danger. Now that there’s plenty of land to stake a claim on, there should also be at least a semblance of order. Digital marketing is under major scrutiny these days. CEOs of major international corporations (P&G, Unilever, Bank of America) are threatening to pull their marketing dollars if companies and platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and, to an extent, Google) don’t solve their reporting and measurement problems.

In effect, marketers are tired of spending their budget dollars without the safety net that is independent third-party verification and measurement, which builds trust and establishes credibility. This carries over into Influencer marketing, which has massive potential but is sorely lacking when it comes to verification and measurement.

How much longer will marketers spend money on a marketing strategy that’s difficult to compare with other media buys; a strategy that defies benchmarking and that is in dire need of a tool which will act as a single source of truth?

In my opinion, if the influencer industry doesn’t wise up soon and start providing marketers with quality intelligence (and not just data), CMOs will pull the plug on influencer marketing media and, instead, focus resources and budgets on what is actually proving ROI. A promising industry (that’s providing value to marketers, creators, and publishers) will then be left on the fringe, without ever realizing its full potential.

What Can Be Gained from Standardized Measurement?

Marketers need standardized measurement to track and justify their investments. Also, platforms would welcome standardized measurement, especially if that is the only way they can keep taking their slice of the pie.

As for the creator community, there are two core benefits here that need to be considered.

The first is money. Marketing budgets might be tight (at least judging from the P&Gs reaction) but the purse strings are easily unleashed for strategies that truly work. However, marketers have issues with paying for dubious results or strategies they can’t measure and benchmark. Until they can do that, influencer marketing will stay in the realm of experimental, and so will the budgets allocated to it.

The second benefit is innovation. Standardized measurement gives marketers the opportunity to work on scale – it allows them to easily run campaigns on different platforms while gathering valuable insight. With more money, creators can afford to be more innovative with their content, seeking out formats that work across different channels. Since they can now see what’s effective, finding content solutions that perform well on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube becomes that much easier. As a consequence, creators will become more daring and will push the envelope when it comes to the content they create.

It’s Time to Take Influencer Marketing to the Next Level

It’s been years since influencer marketing started making a difference on the digital scene (at least in the format we’re familiar with now – first YouTube, and now Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms). We have a growing number of creators and brands willing to work with them, agencies connecting them to each other, and startups offering all kinds of services to both sides. It’s definitely high time to solve the pressing issue of standardized measurement in influencer marketing so that the industry can continue to develop. SYLO’s innovative approach to this problem adds order to this “Wild West” and enables the influencer marketing community to move the industry forward – learn more at!

Photo credit: Pixabay

Influencer Marketing Is a Team Sport

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

This is part two of our series on standardized measurement helping both creators and brands move the influencer marketing space forward. Click here to check out part one which recaps the conversations Team SYLO had with the Buffer Festival creator attendees on the need for standardized measurement to increase partnership investments in the space.

To ensure a better tomorrow, the creator and brand communities must participate in solving influencer marketing’s standardized measurement problem.

Social media platforms are making huge decisions: where and how will content be shown and distributed, revenue shares, and other big-ticket items that are hard to exert any executive power over. In response, creators are banding together more in the hopes of influencing social media execs, as showcased in this video made by a famous YouTube creator, Casey Neistat.

Brands, on the other hand, have a marketing budget and goals to achieve. They need to require independent, standardized measurement for influencer marketing (same as all other media they purchase) so that they can support their spend. It’s too great of a risk to spend ever-increasing amounts of their marketing budget on a marketing medium that they are unable to quantify and compare against, say, the same spend on TV. So far, they have been working with several metrics that don’t translate to all the other media purchased for a campaign:

  • Engagement
  • Views
  • Likes
  • Subscribers

…and a few others. However, while these metrics tell them that something in their influencer campaigns is working, it doesn’t tell them what that is or why.

If the creator community started to leverage all of its performance data, it would unlock a solution to marketers’ burning question – where should we spend our money to make more money!. Otherwise, marketers will continue to see influencer marketing as something experimental with an unclear ROI.

2018 needs to be the year in which we make sure that the word ‘experimental’ is no longer associated with influencer marketing. To make that happen, we need to make standardized measurement our priority. By partnering up with SYLO, creators can show brands everything they need to see measurement-wise and, I guarantee, these brands will want to invest more of their budget in the data-verified creators.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Standardized Measurement Will Help Creators Win Long-Term Brand Partnerships

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

During my recent trip to Toronto, I had the chance to participate in a couple of events organized by the good folks from Buffer Festival. I met a lot of smart creators who work with brands on a daily basis. They create awesome content for these brands, but are dealing with an ever-growing challenge of bridging the gap from storytelling to finding out how their work impacted brands’ goals.

We also discussed current influencer marketing trends, problems, and future perspectives. Almost all of our discussions ended on the same note: influencer marketing has great potential and is already living up to some of it, but there is a bigger opportunity on the horizon. That opportunity involves shifting huge TV and programmatic ad budgets over to influencer-based marketing; maturing from experimental marketing to a core part of a brand’s marketing mix.

Everyone who I talked to agrees that our industry’s biggest problem is standardized measurement. It’s a problem for brands who need to justify their investments with verified data, but it’s also rapidly becoming a problem for creators, who find it difficult to secure more mutually beneficial long-term brand deals.

When Third-Party Measurement Is Established, Brand Investments Follow

I’ve been reading that we can expect an uptick of branded posts in the coming years. Some figures show that their number will be close to $35 million by the end of 2019. In fact, the influencer ad market is now worth $1 billion and, with projected increase in posts, that number will only grow.

That sounds like a lot, right?

To put that into context, brands are spending around $71 billion on TV ads and around $83 billion on digital advertising per year (2016 was the first year in which digital surpassed TV). In addition to that, the video marketing industry is expected to break $135 billion in the US alone this year. That’s a total of $289 billion dollars being spent on three different (and broad) marketing channels. Projected influencer marketing spend (those $1 billion) in 2017 is exactly 0.34 % of those astronomical budgets!

We can all agree that TV would not see that level of ad spend if Nielsen ratings (standardized measurement) didn’t allow marketers to effectively gauge what they are getting in return.

Now, imagine the same type of standardized measurement serving as a driving force for influencer marketing. Once marketers have the same degree of confidence in the ROI of influencer marketing, and can benchmark it against TV ads and programmatic (those video ads you see all over the web), it’s going to bring with it marketing budgets the creator community has never seen before. Just picture what the landscape would look like if 20-30% of TV ad budgets are reallocated and made available for creators? The industry would explode – more work for creators, better returns for brands, more incentives for platforms to further develop their features – and that’s just the beginning!

We have an opportunity to do just this. If we can offer actionable numbers to marketers, they will choose creators – not TV, not billboards, not programmatic – and there’s no doubt about that. They just need to see that their investment is working, in black and white, from an independent third party.

This is part one of a two-part series on how standardized measurement will help both creators and brands move the influencer marketing space forward. Stay tuned for part two which demonstrates why influencer marketing is a team sport.

Photo credit: Pixabay

3 Tips for Developing Long-Term Creator Relationships

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

As more and more brands are depending on influencer marketing to reach their target consumers, it is becoming increasingly important to develop relationships that are authentic for both the brand and the creator. Before deciding to implement influencer marketing into your brand communications strategy, it is crucial to identify WHY you are using the medium and goals to measure against.

Analyzing thousands of recent campaigns there are three pillars to develop a genuine, lasting relationship with creators on influencer marketing campaigns.

1) Define the Purpose

Your first key ingredient in building a positive relationship is to define the purpose of influencers in the marketing mix. Why are you ultimately going to implement influencers into your strategy? Is it because sixty percent of all brands use it? Or maybe you’ve realized that it has worked for other brands you’ve studied. Whether you’re goals are  brand awareness, favorability, or purchase intent, start by asking yourself why you chose influencer marketing and what is success.

2) Know What Works for Your Creators and Strategize Accordingly

Once you have mapped out your reasons for implementing influencer marketing into your marketing mix, the second step will be to experiment with the content and test what has worked for the creators you’ve partnered with. Ensure that all creators are verified, brand-safe, and FTC compliant via a third-party. Research the various programming to develop brand-safe creative strategies that fuel proven storytelling.

3) Do Not Plan for a One-Off Interaction

After understanding the top performers and creative strategies, the third and final step will be to sign long-term partnerships. These relationships are authentic and effective. Marketers should strive to build partnerships that are mutually beneficial. The right “influencer” will also be a creator who consistently puts forth quality content. True creators easily separate themselves from the fake accounts and bots that are casting doubt on the influencer marketing space. The creators you will inevitably want to partner with, will carry out authority on specific topics and will resonate with their audience through innovative and empowering content. Move toward building a lasting relationship with creators instead of one-off campaigns which appear inauthentic to the creator and brand’s audiences.

If you want to ensure that your relationships and strategies are working best for your brand, make sure to check out metrics and insights provided by SYLO.

Image source: Pixabay

Four Key Creator Takeaways from Buffer Festival

SYLO’s Erick Schwab and Curtis Davey attended Buffer Festival in Toronto a couple of weeks back and got a chance to present at industry day, as well as catch up with the brand and creator attendees. While they were there, David Beebe, Marriott’s former VP of Global Creative and Content Marketing, sat down with Erick to discuss the why any brand utilizing influencer marketing should have verified, independent measurement.

Below you can view the video of this interview, followed by Team SYLO’s key takeaways from their conversations at Buffer Festival Toronto.

Key Takeaways from Buffer Festival

1. There is a Measurement Problem

Creators are starting to recognize that there is a real problem around influencer campaigns measurement/reporting to the brands they are collaborating with, and agreed that the industry needs its “Nielsen Ratings” system in order to continuing scaling to new levels.

2. Creators Talk to Each Other

Creators talk a lot amongst themselves. Don’t try to get away with anything unfair or word will get out (i.e. discriminatory pricing). Also, if brands want to do business with creators, it’s important to show them that you respect their creativity when forming the partnership. This can be done by reviewing and understanding their content and their style.

3. Rising Above the Noise

Creators understand that there is a lot of noise out there these days. They need to stay relevant and make good decisions in order to rise above it. Their audience is with them but they need help to continue reaching new audiences.

After all, telling stories that can reach the masses has never been easier – previous generations’ barriers for entry are gone. Anyone with a mobile phone, passion, and Internet access can break into the scene.

4. Authenticity. Authenticity. Authenticity.

Authenticity is the biggest buzzword in influencer marketing currently. But how do you measure or determine what’s authentic to a creator? Categorization of their content is one way to get a better understanding of the topics that the creators touch on and how well they resonate with their audience.

Have you had these same conversations? SYLO’s extensive third-party data reporting and categorization capabilities are providing the independent measurement and benchmarks that the influencer marketing space needs. Find out more at

Image source: Pixabay