Consumers today trust personal recommendations and online reviews more than traditional advertising. As a result, influencer marketing is becoming a staple in today’s digital marketing mix – according to Gartner, 35% of marketers already have an influencer program in place, with another 28% planning implementation in the next twelve months.

Many brands and agencies start small, testing its effectiveness with introductory or in-house programs before launching a full-scale influencer marketing strategy. More than half of marketers found that customers acquired through influencers were of higher quality than their average customer, so it’s no surprise that 59% plan to increase influencer spend in the next year.

Those seeking to up the scope of their influencer marketing programs should keep an eye out for the following three signs, as they indicate that it may be time to take current influencer marketing programs to the next level:

  • Evolving Program Metrics

The desire to increase the output of your influencer programs signals the need to scale. Whether you’re seeking more content, an uptick in coupon downloads, higher click-through rates, or sales lift, a larger influencer program is often needed to meet evolving program metrics.

Additionally, a larger influencer pool gives brands and agencies the ability to A/B test a brand’s messaging in different audience segments. For example, a national CPG brand might scale a regional program of 10 influencers to a national program of 100 influencers in order to test the effectiveness of its message across different verticals, demographics, and interests.

  • Lack of Bandwidth

Running an influencer marketing program takes time and resources. Some marketers estimate spending an average of two hours per influencer when running an in-house program, making it difficult to scale.

If you’re looking to increase the number of influencers in your program, consider working with an influencer marketing partner as they can connect you to thousands of influencers, making scaling program size simple. If you prefer to do the outreach work yourself, self-service platforms offer the ability to search and connect with a library of influencers that can be filtered by specific selection criteria so you can quickly identify, reach out, and manage the relationship through the platform. Turn-key service providers go a step further by handling the entire influencer relationship for you, from identification and program communications to payment, analytics, and strategic recommendations.

  • Soaring Costs

Rapidly rising program costs indicate a need to strategically think about how you scale. When nearly 70% of marketers pay-per-post, working with more influencers quickly drives costs up, especially if working with top-tier or celebrity influencers. For brands and agencies that pay per piece of sponsored content, the mounting costs can make scaling seem impossible. In fact, one social media executive had this to say about his or her pay-for-post programs: “We threw too much money at [influencers] and did it too quickly… those types of people charge $300,000 to $500,000, and brands don’t actually own the rights to it. Just because photos look good and have 200,000 followers means nothing.”

Marketers are combatting the rising cost of pay-per-post programs by adjusting their compensation models to pay-for-performance. In this model, influencers are compensated based on how well their content performs (clicks, engagements, etc.) versus being paid a flat fee for creating a single piece of content that may or may not perform. Because brands and agencies only pay for actions taken as a result of the influencer content, they always see a return on their influencer investment and can scale their program to include more influencers with guaranteed results.

Shifting key performance metrics, lack of employee bandwidth, and surging program costs are all signs that it may be time to optimize your influencer marketing programs and scale what’s working. Additionally, scaling to larger influencer marketing programs supplies brands with an always-on content lab, providing them with a treasure chest of nuanced content all put into market at the same time and then tested for effectiveness.

Learn more about your partner options in our blog post on finding the right influencer partner for your brand.