Dear Industry Insiders,

At CLEVER, our mission is to #KeepItReal. (Our tagline is Real. At Scale. Because that is what influencer marketing is all about.)

This means we are constantly fighting misconceptions propagated by other vendors, especially when it comes to measurement tactics and industry analytics. But when I recently spoke to an analytics provider who purposely misled me about their data, we decided enough is enough.

Here’s what happened:

“Actual Impressions” is a very misleading term. It suggests that the impressions data is, well, actual. Real. Verifiable. Based on the actual number of eyeballs on a piece of content. A wonderful piece of data to collect, but next-to-impossible without open APIs.

I was very interested in speaking with this data provider who claimed to automatically report on Actual Impressions. I immediately asked how they get their data. The rep told me that if social platforms don’t offer APIs, they have influencers (self) report on it.

I was confused. A) This is next-to-impossible at scale, and B) this definitely impossible without human management (i.e., not “automatic” for a platform without a services element).

Sure enough, when I pressed further, he eventually admitted that their “Actual Impressions” are calculated by a formula: 5% of Potential Impressions. In other words, not influencer-reported, and not pulled into the platform through an API. Just a “best guess.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. Some metrics have to rely on best guesses. But the only reason I was able to fully understand this vendor’s methodology is that I knew to ask. So I started to wonder what other metrics or terms are easily misleading in the influencer space… and that led to this white paper.

We at CLEVER have always prided ourselves on being consultative partners. We literally wrote the book on influencer marketing, and we don’t hide behind gimmicks or purposefully confusing buzzwords. If you want to understand what your influencer partner is really saying, check out this complete guide. We deconstruct the most misunderstood measurement terms and help you better understand which metrics will truly evaluate your influencer marketing success.

This is Real. This is CLEVER.

—Alison Kimble, frustrated citizen, CLEVER Product Manager