Influencer marketing is not a fad or just the “cool” thing to do. It’s here to stay, and now is the time to seize the opportunity.

With influencer marketing projected to grow from $2 billion in 2017 to $10 billion in 2020, it’s a must-have strategy to include as part of your overall marketing plan.

Influencer Monitoring Trends

The goal with influencer marketing should be to focus on the strategies and tactics that will enable you to get results in the most efficient and effective way possible. This is why there’s a growing need for influencer monitoring as brands look for ways to research influencers, track their activities, and ultimately, measure the impact of their efforts.

While influencer marketing trends are well documented, what should PR and communications professionals be focusing on with influencer monitoring in 2018? Here are three top trends:

1. Expanded Reach Of Influencers Means More Platforms To Monitor

Instagram is the platform that always comes to mind when you think of influencer marketing, but they’re not the only player in the game. While Instagram holds 82% of the #1 platform status, Facebook is another one to consider with over 16% saying it’s their first choice.

YouTube is also increasing in popularity — especially with teens as they often feel they relate better to YouTubers than to typical celebrities. That opens up a variety of opportunities for those wanting to reach the younger generation.

With the increase in social media platform options, there’s the increased need for monitoring and tracking to help both identify influencers and manage campaigns. This may mean your organization needs more robust systems in place for influencer monitoring.

We’re still in the fairly new age of influencer marketing so there’s ample opportunity to test and see which platform works best for your business goals and marketing dollars. This also means that the number of places influencers function isn’t going to decrease any time soon.

Companies need to put systems and processes in place NOW to ensure that they’re in a position to best manage their influencer marketing efforts in the future — and that includes influencer monitoring.

2. Rise Of Monitoring Tools And Services

There are many different aspects to a PR professional’s job — with influencer marketing often being just one program they’re managing.

While spending their time on all of their marketing efforts, it can be challenging for PR pros to effectively execute influencer monitoring. Social media moves at the speed of light which makes monitoring the success of their influencer marketing strategies another full-time job.

Influencer monitoring is now critical to ensuring the success of influencer marketing, meaning there’s a number of tools and services which you can use for monitoring.

With tools, it’s important to understand their limitations when it comes to influencer monitoring. While they can be incredibly effective, they’re also limited in their utility. Tools tend to generate mounds of data that’s not helpful or usable.

Many times, these tools leave PR pros with data but not the context needed to make decisions about influencer marketing efforts.

Influencer monitoring services offer PR professionals and executives a way to sift through all of the data and get intelligent insights they can use. It’s the personal attention that a service can offer that helps teams monitor influencers — both current and potential — so they know if their influencer marketing efforts are on track.

3. Focusing On Measuring ROI

As with other PR activities, influencer marketing efforts need to measured by ROI. Now, this doesn’t need to be actual dollar signs but rather the impact on all parts of the business. The C-suite wants to be assured that their investment in influencer marketing is having a positive impact on the organization.

ROI for influencer marketing can cover a wide range of criteria. It also depends on what the goal was of the campaign. Was it to increase the audience size? Improve the ability to hone in on your target market? Show a sizable gain on the bottom line? Boost your subscriber rate?

How does influencer monitoring prove that all the PR efforts (and money) have been worth it? With an influencer monitoring service, you’ll have someone personally overseeing your account, so you can track exactly what you need to. Instead of having a pile full of unusable data and reports, your manager will put together personalized reports and data that YOUR company wants to see.

Influencer monitoring with a focus on covering all platforms, having the right tools and services, and demonstrating ROI will help ensure the success of your influencer marketing efforts now and in the future.

Andrew is Co-Founder and President of Fullintel. His 25-plus years of media intelligence experience helps large organizations and Fortune 1000 companies such as Textron, AAA, Clorox, Kraft Heinz, MUFG, and Bell plan and implement day-to-day and crisis media monitoring and analysis strategies and best practices. He also co-founded dna13, the world’s first software-as-a-service media monitoring platform, which was eventually acquired by PR Newswire.