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Influencer marketing has been one of the themes of 2017, especially as ad blockers, ad fraud, and other issues blight both sides of the paid advertising industry.

But influencer marketing isn’t easy. From celebrities to micro-influencers, finding the right people to promote your product or service is a tough job. Add to that the myriad ways you can define “influencer marketing” — from ambassador programs to celebrity sponsorship — and the landscape becomes even harder to navigate.

Today, influencer marketing platform Mavrck has announced its Influence Plugin to engage consumers in the exact moment they’re interacting with your brand, whether that’s via your website, emails, or display ads.

Influence Plugin is the latest addition to the Mavrck platform, which combines influencer marketing — including discovery, scoring, offer management, outreach, and analytics — with a user-generated content management solution and an ambassador program that helps you reward users for referrals.

The Influence Plugin allows brands to reach out to website visitors, email respondents, and those viewing display ads. It initially engages with them through an offer, but once they’re in the system it provides automated influence scoring and recruitment.

How does it do this? It looks at the impact level of the engaged individual, including demographic and psychographic information, and then personalizes offers based on that data. As a result, Mavrck’s system attempts to eliminate the need for influencer discovery and outreach. Instead, it offers a way to score all customers and discover the hidden influencers that exist within.

To determine that score it uses an algorithm that — like many influencer marketing systems — looks at social media signals to determine not just reach, but relevance to the category or topic at hand. Each customer is then compared against the others, which provides Mavrck’s users with a score that shows the influence potential of each consumer.

Interestingly, Mavrck’s Influence Plugin also integrates with existing referral, loyalty, and ecommerce platforms. That means you can tie it into pre-existing programs and databases. The plugin also adds to the rest of the Mavrck platform, which includes both a user-generated content management solution and an ambassador solution that is designed to drive referrals to your digital properties.

Of course, ambassador programs — signing up customers that can actively promote your products in return for benefits —  can be challenging because brands often don’t know how to structure points systems, leading to ineffective incentives. So, how does Mavrck resolve this issue?

“We take a data-driven approach to incentivization,” Mavrck cofounder and CEO Lyle Stevens told me. “We’ve built a formulaic incentive model that determines the most effective reward and incentive strategy based on the influencer persona(s) a brand is activating and the value of the activation that is occurring, along with the cost of the incentive.”

That model, and the supporting platform, allows for changes at any time, which is critical to the success of any referral model.

“Even when your incentive strategy is working, it’s critical to remember that what works well one month might not the next,” Stevens said. “Marketers must make sure that their incentives are seasonally appropriate and also consider adjusting incentives based on changes in the competitive landscape.”

The combination of automatically segmenting customers via the new Influence Plugin with a “give to get” ambassador program makes this a compelling proposition. But what happens to applicants or visitors who don’t quite reach the level of influence required by the brand or who are seemingly influential in the wrong area?

“The incentive model takes this situation into account automatically because the model is performance-based,” Stevens said. “Individuals with higher influence on relevant topics (who can drive higher performance) will unlock incentives sooner than individuals with lower influence, but both can unlock incentives if the performance threshold is met. The model also uses the probability of a payout to handle these circumstances, offering the ability to enter for chances to win without a performance requirement.”

So how long does it take to implement a solution as wide-ranging as this?

“The Influence Plugin only takes five minutes to install and configure (like other social plugins, it’s a line of code),” Stevens said. “However, an inclusive program leveraging all three content modules usually requires four weeks of lead time to develop the proper strategy.”

Mavrck’s Influence Plugin is available from today via its website. Pricing is determined on a per use case basis, taking into account the level of support needed and whether the brand is going to recruit look-alike influencers from the Mavrck Influencer Network. That means it starts at $2,000 per month. According to Mavrck, the average brand pays $7,500 per month for the solution.

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