SAN FRANCISCO — Despite the buzz about influencer marketing, the success of the tactic is being hampered by deep divisions between influencers and the people who hire them, according to a new Allison+Partners report.

“There is a huge gap stalling what could be the full potential of influencer marketing,” said Brent Diggins, managing director of measurement and analytics, adding that “there are a lot of different points where we found this gap.”

Some key themes they were divided on include:

  • Approach to Identification: One of the biggest challenges identified by marketers was the inability to confidently identify and select effective influencers. However, most influencers in the study stated that they don’t provide audience insights unless asked.
  • Authenticity: Most influencers reported that marketers generally only ask for reach, unique page views or monthly blog views, but the greatest value is found in the authentic comments to and interactions with their posts.
  • Testing: Just as they would be in traditional marketing disciplines, testing, learning and revising need to be an integral part of the influencer marketing strategy. However, the study found that only some marketers conduct testing with influencers to see what type of content works best.
  • Measurement: Influencers continue to struggle to show their value in a comparable way to how marketers think about other marketing mediums. Yet, marketers are under increased pressure to prove the business impact of influencer campaigns. The challenges stem from several factors on both sides including defining the basis for influencer marketing, lack of benchmarks and myths about standard metrics.

Cathy Planchard, global president of All Told, Allison+Partners’ research, content, creative. digital and measurement division, said the results, based on interviews with with 31 influencers and 20 marketers across several sectors, come after what has been, to a large degree, a test of influencer marketing — and at a time when such issues must be corrected for the tactic to be sanctioned moving forward.

“We feel it’s at a critical juncture. Marketers and influencers are going to be under more pressure to show value,” she said. “There is going to be a lot more emphasis on process and rigor and reporting.”

However, many of the issues “are absolutely remediable,” Planchard said. “A lot of it comes down to communications.”

Steps that could improve the situation include: improving the selection of influencers for particular campaigns by using a set of standards; having dialogue and consultation be part of influencer/marketer relationships; both marketers and influencers participating in data collection for sharing metrics; and looking beyond a moment in time to understand the impact of content throughout its lifespan.

“There are a lot of things that we can do that aren’t being done,” Diggins said. “The real take away is that it has to be a two-way street for both sides.”