Peer to peer influence is more powerful today than top-down communications. According to Edelman, 71% of consumers rely on peer sources for buying decisions. This means that in retail marketing, Influencer Marketing is more important than ever before.

Not only are people trusting their peers for purchase recommendations, they are also blocking ads making paid efforts less effective. While Influencer Marketing is not new, it continues to evolve as strategies and technologies continue to advance.

In this evolution of Influencer Marketing, we still have not seen a standard revealed. A standard for influencer selection, strategy, or performance measurement.

Influencer Marketing lives in the Wild West where anything goes.

Most of the information available today on Influencer Marketing centers around the Influencer themselves. While this can be a great place to start, the whole idea behind the strategy is to partner with trusting sources in order to reach their audience.

There are a lot of tools out there that offer metrics on Influencers to help with your selection. They tend to concentrate on vanity metrics, such as followers and engagement. The problem with this information is that it doesn’t speak to the purpose of influencer marketing. The end game isn’t the influencer themselves, it’s the audience that they have built over time.

Some solutions will also provide information about the audiences of the influencers. Most tend to concentrate on the demographic breakdown of their audience. All of this is meant to help you narrow down your choices to identify the right roster. But is this the best way of going about influencer selection?

Identifying Influencers that Already Resonate with Your Retail Audience

At Affinio, we look at influencer marketing in a different light. We flip the influencer search and selection process to start with the people you are trying to reach – your ideal audience. By analyzing the interests of your audience, you can identify influencers who already resonate with your audience. Let’s look at an example.

In our recent post on understanding retail audiences, we took a look at an ‘outdoor gear’ brand audience. Let’s use this analysis to identify ideal influencers.


As you can see above, the audience breaks out into interest-based communities centered around outdoor activities. While you may be able to find an influencer that ecompasses the entire audience, it could be argued that it’s a better practice to select influencers niche to each culture within the audience. Let’s take a look.


Here are the top 100 interests of the entire audience. As you can see, they are fairly general interests skewed to outdoor living.

However, if we dive into a niche, interest-based community, we can see how the interests become tailored to that audience and reveal ideal influencers to reach that community.



While we see a lot of surfing-related brands, we also start to see individuals who are relevant to this interest-based community. In order of relevance:

  1. Kelly Slater
  2. Mick Fanning
  3. Taj Burrow
  4. Joel Parkinson
  5. Rob Machado
  6. Jordy Smith
  7. Julian Wilson
  8. CJ & Damien
  9. John John Florence
  10. Coco Ho
  11. Josh Kerr
  12. Alana Blanchard
  13. Stephanie Gilmore
  14. Sally Fitzgibbons
  15. Jeremy Flores

If you are familiar with the surfer world, you likely recognize all of these names as they are mostly professional surfers. In some cases, you would prefer to work with long-tail or niche influencers for budget or strategic reasons. There are 1,000 interests to choose from. To learn more about longtail influencer selection, check out this post.

When analyzing each of these potential picks for brand approval, it’s important to keep in mind who their audience is. We know that they resonate with your current audience, but who else are they reaching?

Let’s say that Sally Fitzgibbons is a potential pick for this outdoor gear company’s influencer strategy. To ensure they will be reaching more of their ideal audience, let’s take a look at her audience.


@Sally_Fitz Audience Visualization

As you can see above, if you were to partner with Sally, you would be reaching more surfers and a lot of Australian-related communities. Depending on your goal, this may be a fit. Perhaps you are looking to expand in Australia. However, if you aren’t looking to reach the Australian Rugby consumer, it might make sense to continue your search for your ideal influencer.

Partnering with the right influencers makes all of the difference when it comes to outcome. Starting with an in-depth understanding of your current audience to identify influencers who already resonate and verifying that their greater audience is in line with your audience reach goals is the perfect strategy to identify the right influencer for your audience.

Keep an eye out for our next post in this “Influencer Marketing for Retail Marketers” series on measuring success next Tuesday.

This post originally appeared on the Affinio blog.