Influencer marketing has snowballed in popularity in recent years. According to a study conducted by Linqia, 39% of marketers plan on increasing their influencer marketing budget. Moreover, that study also found that a majority of marketers will spend anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 on influencer marketing.

Evidently, influencer marketing is on the rise, but there is one issue holding the industry back, return on investment (ROI). A recent Forbes article titled “Practical Ways To Measure Influencer Marketing ROI” argues that ROI is the “Achilles heel” of the industry and many make the false assumption that ROI is just impossible to measure. According to SocialPubli, 84% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, but when asked about their biggest influencer marketing challenge the majority cited measuring ROI as their main pain point.

And it is not just studies which are demonstrating this. Startups which focus on influencer campaigns have reported that clients want a clearer vision of ROI. We spoke with Antoine Forest, co-founder and CEO of Stargazer, the leading influencer marketing ROI platform, to get a better understanding of what clients really want, and the work they are doing in the world of influencer marketing.

1) Who do you consider to be your main competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

Agencies, marketplaces, SAAS tools, Stargazer brings an online marketing approach, rather than a PR agency/branding approach like our competitors. Today the influencer marketing industry is opaque and lacks transparency. As a result, marketers don’t clearly understand why an influencer campaign works or does not work. Data is either not available or not used. Advertisers and brands haven’t yet found a solution for scaling influencer marketing.

Essentially, Stargazer is the Facebook Ad Manager of influencer marketing. By collecting data on metrics including engagement, channel types, influencer, campaign duration, content, and others and correlating that with ROI, We help brands optimize their campaigns to get the best ROI.

Meanwhile, the influencer marketing wave has yet to truly reach its full potential, and brands are quickly realizing the power of data-driven, performance-based influencer campaigns. Digital marketing investments are driven by ROI, and influencer marketing will follow this principle.

2) What was the main motivator to solve this problem, for example, did it arise from a personal experience or something you recognized others having issues with?

Before coming to the US, I’ve launched a beauty brand in France: Merci Handy, and Influencer marketing was our main channel for acquisition. I was conducting Influencer Marketing campaigns and worked with 10K+ creators. Everything at that time was manual, with spreadsheets and an inbox full of emails.

I soon came to the realization that over the years I had developed domain expertise in this rapidly growing space, but I had to jump over many hoops to repeat the process at scale.  

When I met my current co-founders, we quickly realized that we were facing similar issues and sought out to make influencer marketing campaigns scalable while delivering the highest possible ROI. We just wanted to solve our own problems, and decided to launch Stargazer.

3) Have you had any constructive feedback from customers, and if so what are they interested in seeing?

ROI! As the influencer space grows crowded, clients are seeking pricing transparency and genuine growth from their influencer campaigns will shy away from paying for vague brand awareness claims that don’t always translate into profit. Current influencer platforms don’t pursue performance campaigns, so as demand shifts, influencer marketing companies will need to rethink their algorithms, pricing structures, and value propositions. For brands looking for direct results and meaningful ROI from their ad spend, we fill this gap in the market and we continue working toward that vision.

Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company