Capitalizing on the reach and engagement of influencers and athletes has proven to be a valuable marketing strategy for brands of all sizes. This modern version of the word-of-mouth campaign is particularly relevant for brands with younger target markets, as younger generations are more likely to follow and trust an influencer over a traditional spokesperson and spend significantly more time on social media channels.
Accurately measuring the success of these influencer campaigns produces challenges, but with the right metrics and proper tracking, results can be measured and inform future campaign and budgeting decisions.
In all marketing efforts, your first two questions should be:
What is our goal?
A clear understanding of your goal will determine which metrics matter most to defining the success of a campaign.
Who is our audience?
By defining your target audience, you can select the best influencer and social channels based on where your audience engages and who they follow.
Intro to Influencers
Influencers are individuals that drive conservation, awareness, and impact the buying decisions of their social media followers. They earn their influence due to their celebrity or their expertise in a certain niche.
Athletes, entertainers, and industry experts are examples of influencers. Influencers can be divided into categories based on the number of followers they have on a certain social channel, with the cost of hiring the influencer rising along with the number of followers.
For many brands, a micro- or nano-influencer can be a natural fit. Their smaller number of followers makes them more affordable, and their audiences are often more loyal and engaged than the 40,000 to 1 million and up followers of a macro- or mega-influencer.
Why Influencer Marketing can be Difficult to Track
Owned and paid social media marketing is traditionally executed on your own brand pages, or with ads that you buy on social channels. Ownership of those pages allows you access to extensive analytics. Opendorse published two recent articles on How to Measure Social Media ROI and The Key Analytics of Social Media Marketing that explain tools for measuring social media efforts.
Adding an influencer to the mix means that much of that reporting will need to come from either from the influencer as the owner of the accounts (similar to the methods used in affiliate marketing campaigns) or through a platform like Opendorse that allows you to track performance for posts published by influential individuals.
Influencers also offer things that are less quantifiable like greater brand awareness for your company. They can also help move someone along in the buying process but may not result in an immediate conversion that can be easily tracked back to the influencer.
5 Metrics that Matter
Reach is the total number of unique viewers who could potentially see a post.
When choosing an influencer, you will be looking at the number of followers that they have, or their total reach. Reach can amplified by increased engagement, like shares and retweets, that bring the posts to a larger potential audience. Social media analytics like those in the above-mentioned articles can help calculate reach.
How many times was the content viewed?
Reach and impressions are valuable metrics to measure if brand awareness is one of the goals of your campaign. The more impressions your content receives, the more awareness you can build with the viewing audience.
Engagement rate = Engagements/Followers
What percentage of your audience who saw your content engaged with it?
Engagement rate is an indicator of the quality of an audience, and how well certain content or a campaign performs with that audience. It has become habit for users to passively scroll through their social channels without engaging with a single post, but if a user likes, comments, shares, clicks or reacts with an emoji, that shows a higher level of engagement with the content.
Engagement rate is calculated by dividing the number of engagements by the number of impressions or followers of the influencer who posted the content.
To determine whether or not an influencer is a fit for your campaign, examine their engagement rate with both sponsored and organic posts. Influencers with consistently higher engagement consistently deliver better results in sponsored campaigns.
Did your campaign result in sales, leads, or email list signups from the influencer’s posts?
For conversion-focused campaigns, marketers can track conversions before, during, and after an activation to compare performance and understand what impact the campaign had. You can also set up custom URLs, promotional codes, or landing pages to send traffic to a unique, trackable page that is embedded in the post, making performance much easier to measure
CPC = spend / clicks
CPE = spend / engagements
CPC and CPE are relatively straightforward performance marketing metrics. They measure what you are spending per single click or engagement.
In the CPC pricing model of influencer contracts, the influencer gets paid based on the number of clicks their post generates. Either of these can be measured by taking the total spend of the post and dividing it by either the number of clicks attributable to it or the number of engagements.
How to Measure Influencer Marketing Metrics
Quantifiable metrics like reach, impressions, engagement rate, and conversions can be calculated to determine the success of an influencer campaign. The numbers can also be compared against past influencer campaigns or organic efforts to see how the metrics vary.
Referring back to our recent post How to Measure Social Media ROI, tools specific to social sites include:
- Google Analytics
- Facebook tracking pixel
- Twitter Universal Website Tag
- Twitter Conversion Tracking
- LinkedIn Insights Tag
Using custom URLs or UTMs (tags added to the end of URLs) can aid in tracking and measuring conversions. Coupon codes, special hashtags, and like-to-buy or comment-to-buy offers can also be used and tracked. Certainly, it is important to be able to track the results of your campaigns, but it is also necessary to recognize that your efforts will always have intangible benefits as well.
Influencer marketing is an effective strategy that brands of any size can benefit from. Influencer campaigns will gain you valuable brand exposure. Influencers can get your message to audiences well beyond the organic reach that your brand pages have. This multiplication of your message can mean a multiplication in brand awareness, leads, sales, or other conversions.
Marketing costs money, but good marketing makes money by directly or indirectly driving revenue. Measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of marketing efforts with measurable metrics will allow you to allocate your budget wisely in future campaigns.