Companies large and small are increasing their influencer marketing investments. In fact, 60 percent of brands had an influencer marketing strategy in 2016, and it is estimated to hit 75 percent in 2017.
However, many business owners and marketers are still unsure how to effectively measure these campaigns.
“Once the Holy Grail for assessing marketing campaigns, impressions and pageviews are no longer the sole metrics for determining a campaign’s success, especially in influencer marketing,” explains Holly Pavlika, SVP of marketing and content at Collective Bias.
From metrics that quantify the value of influencers, to measuring the direct effects any given influencer campaign has on your bottom line, measuring your influencer efforts is imperative.
“In order to really understand the effectiveness of an influencer campaign, monitoring deeper social and engagement metrics have become the main priority of marketers,” Pavlika suggests.
How do you measure your influencer marketing campaign? Ultimately, the only way to truly measure this is based on the goals for each influencer campaign. However, in this article we’ll walk you through the process of measuring ROI based KPI’s for influencer outreach campaigns.
1. Begin with Brand Metrics: Measure Investment, Resources, and Products
The first key metric you need to measure for any influencer marketing campaign is your brand metric. This key metric analyzes investment, resources, and products.
Your investment metric is exactly as it sounds. It is the time and money you will invest when developing your influencer marketing campaign.
This metric will give you a good idea of cost for identifying potential influencers on both the macro and micro level. Once you have an investment metric in place, you can compare the financial or awareness return .
“Auditing your existing influencer marketing efforts may seem daunting, but it is a necessary step in making sure your campaign is achieving actual business results,” explains Rachel Miller of iSocialFanz.
Questions to ask during an influencer marketing audit are . . .
- Does the influencer marketing strategy complement my overall goals and mission?
- Will influencer performance support the overall influencer marketing strategy?
- What metrics will be used to measure the influencer marketing campaign, and why?
- Do we presently have the tools, resources, and processes for the influencer marketing campaign to be successful?
- If resources are needed, can we get them, and where?
The resources you invest when creating your influencer marketing campaign extends to other assets other than money.
Resource metrics include . . .
- What manpower resources will you use?
- How many hours are needed to move the campaign forward?
- How much effort will go into educating influencers on your brand?
Remember that a large part of launching a successful influencer marketing strategy is the coordination of outreach, communication, and tracking. Reaching out to influencers, negotiating campaigns, answering emails and questions, etc is a large part of what’s involved and will need to be measured.
If you have a product to promote and sell, you need to consider a product metric. Making products available for your influencer and his or her audience is vital to a successful influencer marketing campaign for any product offer.
If software or tech products are in play, you will also need to add a test platform for influencers and their followers to demo the products and services.
Pay close attention on the products that go out to influencers and their specific audiences. This will ensure you are getting return sales of these products that are far above what you invested.
2. What are Your Influencer Metrics? Measure Ratio, Lifecycle, Sentiment, and Effect
Adding to your brand metric, creating an influencer metric is just as valuable. It is certainly the second key metric to any influencer marketing campaign. Your influencer metric will ensure your influencers are worth their following.
How important is an influencer’s number of followers? The ratio metric will allow you to differentiate between a person with one million followers, and an influencer with loyalty and a voice.
Life Cycle Metric
Following the ratio metric, an influencer’s community to followers is vital to getting a return on your influencer marketing campaign investment. You want your influencer’s community to react in numbers.
One million followers are great. However, if an influencer is only getting double digit reactions to their content, their community reaction may be less desirable.
“Don’t just look at reach – consider engagement as even more important. Someone with a really engaged following of 1000 will do more to amplify your content than someone with 10000 social connections they don’t engage with,” suggests Mark Walker, helming content marketing at Eventbrite.
Track the engagement an influencer gets after sharing content. This will give you a percentage of community involvement when compared to their number of followers.
How has your brand grown using your influencer marketing campaign? The best way to measure the value of your influencer is to gauge the effect he or she had on your brand and business.
Effect metrics to consider when examining brand awareness growth are . . .
- How often was your brand mentioned online?
- How recognizable is your brand after influencer marketing?
- How much traffic was directed to your website or landing page?
- How many new followers have you accumulated since beginning your influencer marketing campaign?
- How many sales leads were generated?
- How many new subscribers have you received?
Understanding the sentiment of your brand using influencer marketing is an essential way to understand how certain messages are perceived by your audience.
For example, if you see a poor reaction to a specific brand message, you know to tweak it to fit your target audience better.
“Since the majority of your mentions will have neutral sentiment, your goal should always aim to increase the positive sentiment,” says Maria Materise of Cision.
Three things to consider when tracking sentiment are . . .
- Establishing realistic expectations.
- Make a Benchmark to gauge success.
- Always be on the lookout for potential positives.
You can also track which influencers are receiving the best amount of sentiment. This allows you to rally around that influencer and increase his awareness to boost your brand sentiment.
The above metrics are powerful ways to gauge your influencer success. However, building long-term relationships with influencers is vital to brand growth.
In an effort to identify the most valuable influencers measure your relationships with them.
Metrics to Build Meaningful Influencer Relationships
Influencer marketing has come a long way from its inception. The early influencer campaigns encompassed a product launch with little to no relationship building.
The results of the earliest influencer marketing campaigns would be very disappointing when compared to results seen today. Many brands would see value in immediate traffic, sales, and brand awareness.
However, this would only be a short spike, and the number would drop off dramatically once the campaign had ended. Why did this happen? Well, building meaningful relationships with influencers simply wasn’t needed at the time.
A new ideology resonates in marketers today. The only way to ensure a path to success and continuous growth is via a relationship-centric approach to influencer marketing.
“Content marketers, social marketers, product marketers… as long as you understand the stages of influencer relationships, every marketer can begin to build successful strategies with influencers,” says Ginny Torok of Traackr.
Core values behind influencer relationship building include . . .
The goal is to simply convert your influencers into long-time brand partners who actually care about your brand and business. This will certainly impact your bottom line while raising the right type of brand awareness.
How Do You Measure Meaningful Influencer Relationships?
The “what” in this metric can be examined in three separate influencer marketing fields. You want to encompass outputs and outcomes. In fact, these metrics are among the Barcelona Principles , but used for the purpose of influencer marketing instead of traditional PR.
Outputs for Influencer Impact
Outputs allow you to evaluate the growth of your brand awareness, and let you see how the growth of your influencer relationships are impacting your brand as well.
Outputs for influencer impact include . . .
- Amount of influencer campaign shares, such as content, codes, URLs, etc.
- Amount of influencer campaign mentions
- Amount of brand mentions
- Level of brand engagement from influencers
- Level of relationship building from influencers
Outcomes for Target Audience Impact
Outcomes are essential for measuring the success you’re having with influencers while examining the impact they are having on your target audience.
How is your target audience responding to influencers? Is your target audience recognizing your brand via influencer outreach?
Outcomes for target audience impact are . . .
- Number of influencer mentions
- Amount of shares of a specific campaign, such as content, codes, URLs, etc.
- Amount of influencer driven traffic to designated landing pages
- Number of influencer brand mentions
- Influencer share-of-voice
- Impact on social following
- Overall influencer referral traffic
Defining What Works Beyond the Metrics
The metrics and different means of measurement are often determined by your specific needs. From the simplicity of brand awareness to sales performance, there are a variety of things to consider.
Awareness Influencer Marketing
Let’s say you want to focus on raising brand awareness. In this case you will want to examine metrics of platforms that offer the most return on your investment.
You can than identify what platforms to leverage, what platforms your competitors are using, and develop a plan to insert your brand into those conversations via influencer marketing.
Sales Performance Influencer Marketing
If your business is focused on sales performance and generating leads, your metrics will also be different. In this example, you will shift your means of measurement toward e-commerce influencers, influencer community affiliate sales programs, and B2B partnerships in your industry using your influencers.
Combining fine-tuned marketing campaigns with platforms that measure the content and networks that produce the best return on investment should be your focus.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to measuring influencer marketing. With this guide, however, you can identify the influencers that work best for your brand. And the influencers with the most potential for building meaningful relationships for continued brand growth.