Apple Watch gets most of the influencer mentions among wearable products, but Fitbit gets more engagement. Similarly, iPhone drives almost 4X more social mentions than the Samsung Galaxy, but the Galaxy gets more engagment.

Those are just a few of the findings from a recent Traackr report on the state of influencer marketing, covering 500 top global influencers for the first three months of 2018.

When you're doing influencer marketing, you want to find influencers who resonate with your brand and have followers who will engage with your product. Fail to do so, and you can drive mentions with cold hard cash, but they'll be expensive and of limited worth, because they won't generate engagement: likes, retweets, and comments. And that's where the magic of social virality multiplies your initial investment.

Apparently, there's a lot of failure.

Because gaps between mentions and engagement seem common.

Here's just a few key categories

Smartphones: 34K mentions, 4M engagements

  • iPhone drives 60% of influencer mentions but only 28% of engagements
  • The Galaxy drives only 19% of mentions, but gets 47% of the engagement

Wearables: 6K mentions, 170K engagements

  • Apple Watch drives 38% of influencer mentions but just 22% of engagements
  • FitBit drives 45% of mentions and even more, 56%, of engagements

?Cameras: 12K mentions, 610K engagements

  • Canon drives 29% of influencer mentions and 29% of engagements
  • Nikon drives 17% of mentions but drops to 5% of engagements

Smart home: 11K mentions, 374K engagements

  • Amazon Echo drives 29% of mentions but only 11% of engagements
  • Google Home drives 17% of mentions and even more, 31%, of engagements
  • Apple HomePod drives 35% of mentions and 39% of engagements

Virtual reality: 4K mentions, 89K engagements

  • Oculus Rift drives 31% of mentions but 47% of engagements
  • HTC Vive drives 29% of mentions but only 17% of engagements

What do the gaps mean?

I asked Kirk Crenshaw, Traackr's chief marketing officer, what the gaps or differences mean, plus a few other questions:

John Koetsier: What causes misalignment? What is that potentially a symptom of?

Crenshaw: When a brand has the majority of mentions but much lower engagement than competitors, that's usually a result of working with influencers who either don't have an engaged following overall (have a lot of fake followers) or don't have an audience that resonates with that brand or category. The influencer-generated content could also be inauthentic and feel like a paid advertisement, which can turn off their audience.

John Koetsier: How do you define an activated influencer?

Crenshaw: We define influencer activation as the moment you have formed a relationship with an influencer that you have targeted. A transactional agreement with an influencer is technically a form of activation, but it is the lowest form in terms of mutual value. We believe that creating a relationship that goes beyond just a transaction and is more aligned with each group's interests and goals creates much more long-term value for both parties.

John Koetsier: YouTube seems huge for engagement. Why? What's driving this?

Crenshaw: Video (and mostly visual content) continues to grow in terms of overall engagement. That is why you see social channels such as Instagram add video capabilities and Twitch (with their live events) grow like crazy. But it isn't just the channel and format that drives the engagement - the content has to be interesting and connect with the targeted audience.

John Koetsier: What kind of influencers generate the most engagement? Why?

Crenshaw: There are a variety of types of influencers that drive different kinds of engagement and outcomes. We've created an infographic that relates to this. It all depends on what your goals are in working with a particular influencer. But, overall, someone who is seen by their followers as authentic and provides content that is of interest, and specifically, content that has not been created as a thinly veiled advertisement.

John Koetsier: Thank you for your time!