In the past few years, influencer marketing has become one of the most popular and widely used tools for both small businesses and global companies. Influencers are people who have a large following on social media platforms, such as Instagram or YouTube, and they use their platforms to promote products or services. Companies often contract these influencers to create positive content about their product or service in order to increase web traffic and reach new customers. 

Despite its popularity, there are some challenges that online and brick-and-mortar retailers face when using this type of marketing: properly identifying and selecting an influencer, gaining access to data that will help assess campaign suitability, paying for good quality content without detracting from the message, dealing with offending comments, and determining ROI. 

Regardless of these challenges, retailers from just about every sector including humble appliances and fresh produce to luxury fashion houses, influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach a target audience. It allows retailers to connect with influential people, and then use their advice, content or feedback to promote their products or services. 

Before you can start using influencers for marketing, you need to make sure that they are a good fit for your business; and with reportedly 3.96 billion social media users worldwide, a 4.8 percent increase from a year ago, there are plenty of potential customers for retailers to tap into.

There are three factors that determine whether an influencer is a good match for retailers: industry focus to ensure an authentic tone of voice, personal values to mitigate reputational risk, and data to measure succuss. Each of these factors should be evaluated carefully when choosing an influencer. 

If you decide Influencer marketing is a good option for your company, there are several things that you will need in order to successfully implement it: access to data about the audience who will see your content (for example location, gender and age) and an understanding of social media algorithms. This could be resource-intensive and costly, especially sifting through the predicted one billion influencers propping up the $16.4 billion industry. 

By embracing new technology using predictive analytics, retailers can reduce the risk of working with creators that won’t produce results by understanding their success rate before it happens and providing access to real-time data to monitor ongoing results. This powerful tool has already been adopted by talent agencies and brands from all over the world by enlisting the help of influencer networks, like Kitly Creator Network, which provides real-time data and reliable databases on Australia’s top managed and independent talent. 

Predictive analytics tools are a time-saver for in-house marketing teams that are looking for a competitive edge, allowing them to leverage insights from unique algorithms throughout every stage of a campaign.

Retailers should expect to see more sophisticated advancements in this space over the next few years as the fight for accurate behavioral data to cut through the noisy atmosphere on social media as users continue to rise. With budgets getting tighter and marketing channels becoming wider, predictive analytics is the future of influencer marketing and ensuring your ROI is met.

Anthony Richardson is founder and managing director of Kitly Creator Network.