why influencer marketing campaigns fail

5 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Campaigns Fail

Working with influencers has become an increasingly popular and important part of any marketer’s overarching marketing strategy. However, it has been quite common to hear the following phrase: influencer marketing didn’t work for us.

Based on our findings, there has been 5 common red flags that many companies have overlooked, causing them to write off influencer marketing for good:


  1. Test budget was too low
  2. This may sound counterintuitive but allocating more budget could help make your campaign successful. For instance, if you’re running multiple marketing campaigns, it could be too noisy to see a peak in your data. Without a peak and proof of success, it’ll then become difficult to convince your manager that the money was well spent. But, if you have a marketing budget of $100K/month, and you’re looking to spend $1000 on a sponsored video, it is simply not worth it. So, unless you wind down your other marketing campaigns for the day of release and make a clear plan to measure organic , it’s recommended to have a higher test budget.

    Solution: For a solid test we would recommend spending between $10K – $20K, this will give you the freedom to work with an influencer/s of substantial size and quality to ensure you get the right results to impress your boss.


  3. Only measured direct downloads/purchases
  4. In 2019 most brands are now looking to influencer marketing for performance and not just brand awareness. A trackable link will be added to the first line in the box under the video. The problem arises when only the direct traffic from this link is measured. According to Tobias Knoke from Google Play, “for every person who is clicking on the tracking link of an influencer video on YouTube, there are 4 more people who are not clicking but still download the game within four days after watching.” There has even been apps that measured as high as 10 times the people going organically to download. If you are not factoring this into your results, it’s highly unlikely that your campaign will measure the ROI negative.

    Solution: Ensure you create a formula that factors in organic downloads. Consider creating a incentivised unique in game/app code for the influencers audience to redeem.


  5. Only worked with influencers once
  6. It’s easy to have the perfect influencer in mind, I have worked with a company who were looking for a specific aged girl who drinks brand x, has brunch with friends and owns a French Bulldog. Facepalm! It’s not about lowering your standards it’s also about having realistic expectations. Many marketers assume that there’s an infinite number of influencers to work with within the influencer marketing industry. However, you could realize there is as little as 100 the moment you start at views, vertical, audience and geo. Keep in mind your competitors will be eager to create relationships with influencers too, so there will be some who are legally unable to work with you due to a restriction in their contract.

    Solution: When you find an influencer that gives you good results, look into creating a strategy that includes working with them again, or even bringing them onboard as an ambassador!

  7. Only did one campaign
  8. Test, optimise, test, optimise. Treat influencer marketing as its own marketing channel. You wouldn’t run other marketing campaigns without testing it a few times or optimising the process — so do the same here. Work across verticals with different influencers and different sized channels to really hone what works for you. Once you’ve found your perfect formula, you can then scale. However, don’t get too comfortable… just in case, Instagram launches a new algorithm and brings you back to the start.

    As Steven Bartlett, CEO from Social Change, puts it: the ONLY thing that took us from A to B was consistently trying and consistently failing.

    Solution: Set clear goals for your test, make sure you analyse the results and use the learning to always be optimising.


  9. Didn’t work with the right influencer

Let’s face it — if you work with influencers for sure you will have had one or more bad experiences you could share. There is plenty of evidence of campaigns done wrong with a ‘skip ad at 2:03’ in the comment section of a YouTube video..That’s why it’s important to get super clear on the influencers who work the best for you. We already mentioned the importance of  testing and optimization, but what does that do?

It allows you to understand the type/size influencers who work for you. The type of content and placements which engage the audience to act. You’ll know you’re getting right when you not only have a successful campaign in terms of performance but people are excited about your product in the comments. Be sure to take a data approach, check out an influencers demographics and ensure it’s a match for your target audience.

Below is a sample image of the data you should be looking at when selecting which influencers you want to work with:

Audience demographics and influencer card

Solution: Take a data driven approach with a human touch. Meaning match the data but be sure to check out an influencers videos, tone of voice, audience interactions.

Of course, there could be more explanations for why your influencer marketing campaign failed, but here are 5 key ones. Hope you enjoyed reading this post, and please feel free to e-mail me at natalie@matchmade.tv if you have any thoughts or questions. I would love to chat!


For more advice on influencer marketing, check out the following posts: