With over 47% of online consumers using ad-blocker, marketers can no longer reach their audience by “just running ads.” Businesses are having to adjust by incorporating their products and services into the content that is already being consumed. However, that may sound simpler than it actually is. It’s all about seamlessly and organically integrating into content.

One of the most popular solutions is known as influencer marketing, which is all about providing subtle product mentions, context and expertise through an inspirational person. Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing. Currently almost 60% of fashion and beauty brands have influencer marketing campaigns in place and 21% plan to invest in it within the next year.

Over the past year, online outlets and social media channels have played a huge part in influencer marketing. 88% of customers trust online reviews by strangers as much as they would a recommendation from friends. Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter, especially, also have a major role in influencer marketing:

  • Instagram announced that they officially have over 600 million users and have recently launched new features including Instagram story and live video, which has proved to be wildly successful. In fact, 59% of micro-influencers think Instagram is the most effective social media platform to engage their target audience.
  • YouTube has become so popular that millennials say YouTube creators are more influential than tradition celebrities. In a recent Google survey, 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities.
  • As the epicenter of real-time conversation, Twitter is the best place to spread word-of mouth with celebrities and influencers. Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer.

Since influencer marketing has proved successful for many brands, 84% of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months. But how do you know if your influencer program is working hard enough for you? Here’s a few ways to determine the success of your influencer or pro programs:

  • Is it a viable testing ground for your direct sales? On your website, where are you losing customers? Where does your conversion rate falter? Are you ready to try a new top navigation that’s easier for users to use? Each improvement to your direct sales channel can positively impact ROI. If your ProDeals program is configured correctly, you can test changes first in that channel, then roll them out with confidence to your larger direct sales channel.
  • Are you able to pinpoint your influencers? Who are your important influencers? Surfers? Search and rescue? National Parks employees? Active duty military? Students? Once that audience is nailed down, you should also be aware that within each of those influencer groups, there are different levels of influencers who you should be treating differently. You may want to offer different products and discounts to a professional skier vs. a ski instructor or ski patrol. This may sound like a lot of detail to manage, but the right tools for your program can make the perceived amount of work shrink exponentially.
  • Are you creating loyalty to your brand and products? Pros and influencers are your VIPs and they should be treated as such by your brand. When they have a great direct experience with you, they will be more loyal to your brand and thus more likely to recommend you to their networks. Make sure your verification process, your shopping process, and your messaging all have the goal of retaining the loyalty of your influencers.

Want to know more about how to get your influencer marketing program profiting? Here’s information on how to develop and maintain relationships with your influencers.