If You Think A Cost-Per-Engagement System Is A Good Influencer Payment System Think Again
Businesses are looking to get the most out of their dollars when collaborating with influencers to marketing their brand. You hear it all day about ROI, Return On Investment. What are you getting for the money spent on a respective campaign. The playing field is still very fluid. From the FTC routinely popping up to flex its might and changing views on social media influencer marketing to influencers buying followers to inflate their asking prices it’s really a lawless space. One of the other elements that may be on the rise is CPE payment. Cost-Per-Engagement basically means getting paid specifically on the engagement criteria agreed upon. It could be the number of shares, likes, comments, etc. Collective Bias SVP Holly Pavlika speaks on this matter and issues it could create a in a recent blog. Lets check some of that out then I’ll add my 2 cents.
There are definitely some pros to this model, so the appeal is warranted. CPE focuses the attention on influencer selection, the quality of their content and the importance of data. It also stops the misnomer that it’s all about the size of the influencer’s following, when in essence, study after study shows it’s the middle tier influencer who gets the most engagement.
This does not mean, however, that influencers should be taking the risk of uncertain income associated with the CPE model. Here’s why: for influencers, CPE encourages fraudulent practices that harm their authenticity and devalue their content. To boost engagement, influencers can game the system and enlist their communities to comment, click on links and share. They might buy traffic and likes, enable repeat-sharing, or even incentivize their audience to engage by using sweepstakes or giveaways. It’s contrived metrics at best.
As an influencer myself I can tell you it’s not the way to go. I work with Collective Bias and they operate on a variable per post system. Going into any campaign, once selected I know what I’m earning and that allows me to focus purely on the content requested for the job. Be clear of the roles in this arrangement. Brands hire influencers to press their products/service/events with honest engaging communication. Influencers work with brands to build their professional clout and make money. With that being said there is a balance that you aim for in terms of content quality and direct message sending. Anything that could distract from that is problematic. In this case the idea of financial uncertainty connected to the CPE model.
All of our time is valuable. I’d have no interest in putting in the time to research and review a brand only to have my pay left up in the air to the number of likes or shares it may get. Influence is not measured in those metrics alone and it does a great disservice to operate in that way.
I don’t feel that all influencers would engage in shady operations under CPE but I think more would do so then currently are. Digital influencer marketing is already an uncertain space as is. Putting content creators in the position of counting every share and RT connected to their work seems like a sure-fire way to negatively effect the quality of work they put out. Brands to trust in the research that goes into finding influencers and truly identifying their influence so it’s not such a gamble on their part. No one likes having their money played with