Posted on
1/2/2024

What is the carbon impact of an influencer marketing campaign ?

As the climate crisis deepens, Influencer Marketing is just another industry sector that is coming under fire for the environmental impact of its activities.

From influencers traveling by plane for a paid photo shoot, to product gifting or running tracking links, there are myriad ways that Influencer Marketing campaigns impact the environment. Measuring them and knowing what they are enables brands and KOLs to optimize for carbon impact, and to mitigate or offset emissions.

In collaboration with carbon impact business solution Sami, Kolsquare is developing an open source tool that would allow brands and content creators to measure the precise impact of their publications and influencer marketing campaigns.

In this interview, Kolsquare Chief Product Officer Michella Saliby outlines the complexities of the project.

Michella Saliby, Chief Product Officer at Kolsquare

How difficult is it to measure the environmental impact of an Influencer marketing campaign?

Quite difficult actually! To estimate the overall carbon footprint of a campaign, we need to know the activities of all the influencers involved in this campaign, as well as the related brand comms.

If you want to look at it only from the influencer’s perspective, it could be simpler because the only data you will need is the information related to each piece of media posted.

What kind of information are you talking about?

Together with Sami, we’ve identified three big categories of an influencer campaign which are responsible for the most emissions. The first is the conception, including the photo shoots for each influencer and the travel involved.

The second is the distribution: the type of content, platforms and results such as views and engagement, etc. And the third is actual increase in sales, which is generally the campaign goal. If the brand is using promo codes and tracking links, we can have that exact data. And if you already know the carbon impact of one of your products, then you can add the impact of selling it.

Will both the brand and the content creator have to provide the information, or just the brand?

Both. For the KOLs, we need information like whether they traveled during the making of the post, and everything related to the trip such as how they traveled, accommodation type, what kind of food they ate while traveling. We need to know what kinds of electronic equipment they used and for how long; did they receive gifts from the brand for fan competitions, and if so where and how the prizes were sent out. We also need to know all the technical information about the posts themselves, such as the weight in Mo, number of views, duration, location of viewing audience, and so on.

For the brands, we need to know how many influencers are in a campaign, which kind of products were gifted, how many and how much they weighed, the campaign budget, travel of the teams, technical equipment, etc. In both cases we’ve developed user-friendly questionnaires that we hope will enable us to gather a maximum of information without being too time consuming.

To have a really precise calculation we need to gather as much detail as possible.

What is the advantage of making the toolopen source?

We want it to be open source because we want to make it available for everyone, regardless of whether they use Kolsquare. It can be intimidating because you have to enter a lot of data before it can compute the final carbon impact. We want to make that available for anyone who wants to carry out an exhaustive analysis of the environmental impact of a campaign or of an influencer marketing strategy.

But secondly, we are also working on identifying proxies so that with just the publication and the influencer categorization of whether they are a nano- or micro-influencer, for example, we can come up with an estimation of the carbon footprint.

How far along is the project?

We’re currently testing the proof of concept for the open source tool with clients. From this phase, we should be able to validate our instincts on the correlation between the media types and the size of the community, engagement rate, etc., in order to have an estimated carbon impact for each publication. From there, we could estimate the impact of the campaign overall.

How can having an estimated carbon impact for an influencer campaign translate into concrete action?

Measuring your carbon impact is never going to be 100% precise. But going through the process of measuring and calculating it enables us to see where we can make changes to reduce it, or to offset it by planting trees or similar activities. The more we know about the carbon impact of our activities, the more we can do to reduce our impact.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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