There is a lot of information and tools around finding influencers and implementing an influencer marketing campaign, but when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of influencer marketing it can be like diving headfirst into a big black hole of the unknown.
Let’s start by saying that influencer marketing can definitely drive a ROI and success can be measured by looking at key metrics and data. But the how is what gets many marketers stumped.
Whether you are running a campaign for your own brand or small business, or executing on behalf of a client, it is absolutely critical to ensure you know how to measure success and what your key performance indicators (KPIs) are.
So, What’s Important?
Metrics and data are important when measuring the success of an influencer marketing campaign, but not all metrics are helpful all of the time. Depending on the goal of your campaign, whether it is brand awareness, sales conversions or something else, different metrics will be the most relevant to help measure the success. For example, if your goal is to increase social media followers and build a community, revenue figures are not relevant to assess whether you have achieved the goal.
So, before implementing an influencer marketing strategy, you should first make sure your campaign strategy aligns with your core goals to ensure that you are working to achieve your goals. Then, you need to make sure that the reporting metrics are all set up so your campaign can be tracked, measured and analyzed. There is nothing worse than finishing a campaign and having the wrong reporting metrics.
How To Measure Success
The measure of success for influencer marketing depends on your campaign goals, so it is important to know from the beginning how you are going to track, measure and judge campaign effectiveness. Use this guide to set your campaign goals, understand what data is required to measure success and set up tracking and reporting metrics.
If brand awareness and exposure is your campaign goal, then the most important metric to consider is impressions. Impressions tell you how many people viewed a piece of content. In influencer marketing, impressions are hard data that tell you exactly how many people were reached as a result of influencer content about your brand. The more people you can reach, the better it is for brand awareness and exposure.
In saying that, it is important to remember that an impression doesn’t mean that someone read and engaged with the content, it is merely a metric that tells you the number of eyeballs that saw the piece for any amount of time.
Getting access to impressions is different for each social media or digital channel and, because they are private metrics (i.e. only visible to the influencer), you will need to rely on influencers sending you the data post campaign. Transparency can come into play here, but we believe that brands should be able to receive to this information as part of a working collaboration with an influencer (when monetary compensation is exchanged).
For example, Instagram impression data is only available if the influencer has their profile set to a business account. If so, they will be able to see impressions on each post and can send screenshots to the brand. If they don’t, you are unable to receive impression data from this influencer.
As another example, Facebook impressions are available to all page owners - it’s the “reach” metric that shows how many people the post reached.
If your goal is to build an engaged community, the engagements the post/s receive is your best measure of success. Engagements are the likes, comments, shares, retweets and reactions a piece of content receives and they show how many people were actively engaged with the content, the message and the brand.
Calculating the number of engagements is relatively easy as the metrics are all public, you just have to add them all together if you are working with multiple influencers within the one campaign.
For example, influencer 1 may have received 305 likes on an Instagram post and 27 comments while influencer 2 received 2047 likes and 56 comments. The total engagements for this campaign with influencer 1 and 2 is 2,435. This means that 2,400+ people engaged with the content, which means they stopped, read the post and consumed the content enough to engage with it.
Social media growth
Social media growth is relatively easy to measure the effectiveness of because the data is easily available on your own social platforms. You can see and track the growth of your social media followers over time in most built-in social analytic tools or third party reporting apps. However, you can’t see which influencers you can attribute growth to unless you monitor your social media accounts closely and associate spikes to when influencers post about your brand.
Measuring the effectiveness of influencer marketing that is intended to drive social media growth can involve some manual reporting and tracking if you want to be able to attribute spurts of growth to a particular influencer, otherwise, your social media analytics will give you a clear understanding of overall trends.
If you are measuring this strategy on behalf of a client, make sure you have admin access to all of their social media platforms.
When website traffic is the goal, Google Analytics should be set up to track metrics such as new users, sessions, pageviews, time on site and referral partners for a specific date range. Here is a snapshot on what these metrics tell us:
New Users: The number of new users (people) who visited a website for the first time.
Total Sessions: The total number of sessions recorded on the website during a date range period.
Total Pageviews: The total number of pages that were consumed by users during the date range period.
Time On Site: The average time that users spent consuming content on the site during the date range period.
Referral Partners: Who is driving the most traffic to your website.
If Google Analytics is already set up you will have historical data to compare to, which is great for measuring an increase in traffic over a couple of weeks, months or a year. If Google Analytics is not enabled, you cannot properly measure the effectiveness of this campaign goal.
Importantly, you should always use campaign URLs so you can track the source of website traffic and success of campaigns.
Measuring the success of an influencer campaign where the goal is to increase sales can be measured in a number of ways, depending on the strategy.
If the strategy involves an affiliate marketing component or discount code where you can track each sale and attribute it to a particular influencer or collaboration, it is very easy to access the effectiveness of the influencer campaign, as consumers will use a unique code to purchase.
Where no affiliate link or discount code is involved, you can still measure an increase in sales by looking at your total monthly revenue and trends that occur over time. You can use Google Analytics eCommerce tracking to monitor monthly digital revenue, trends and growth, or the in-built reporting tools in your eCommerce platform (however, the ability of these reporting functions can be limited).
You should also use campaign URLs here too so you can attribute who is driving traffic that ultimately converts.
Downloads of an e-product
If downloading an e-product, such as an app, ebook or template, is your goal, you’ll need access to the hosting provider so you can see how many times the product has been downloaded. You can also set up UTM tracking links for another reliable way to measure and track downloads.
Likewise, if your aim is to grow your email database, you’ll need to have access to the Email Marketing Platform that is used to collect the data and run your email marketing campaigns. Access to this platform will likely have in-built reporting metrics, where you can measure and track database growth and also identify engaged users.
To measure the success of a campaign with this goal, you should have an idea of how many new email addresses you’d like to collect (a realistic goal) so you can monitor, optimize and amplify your influencer collaborations to get you closer to achieving the goal.
This campaign goal cannot typically be tracked digitally, as it requires a manual count of the amount of content that has been created or received during the campaign period.
When measuring the effectiveness of the campaign in reaching your goal and determining ROI, look at the content that has been provided and assign a dollar value to each piece - as a very rough guide, each image is worth $100 (the minimum an influencer would charge for full commercial rights), but it can be much, much more. By valuing each image at $100, you can start calculating the ROI and the value that was received during the campaign.
For example, if an influencer creates 10 images that you can use commercially and have joint copyright ownership of, the absolute minimum value of this collaboration is $1000. The package is likely worth more than that when consider the costs involved with creating your own content, such as equipment, time spent capturing and editing, props, location, hair and makeup, styling, photography, catering and more.
Reach new target markets
Where your goal is to reach a new audience with a new product offering or diffusion range, impressions, audience data and sentiment are important to measure. As above, impressions data is available to the owner of the social media account (influencer) in most cases, however, it is important to discuss this upfront so steps can be made to ensure the data is available post campaign.
Audience data is a new metric that can be very insightful, but is not readily available. Some third party reporting tools are starting to analyze audience data to understand who followers are, their interests and demographics.
Likewise, sentiment is an important metric when launching a new product or reaching out to a new target market, because it can determine what the audience is saying about the brand, what the focus is of the digital conversation and if they are having a positive response.
When measuring the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaign and determining whether the strategy was success in achieving your business goal, look to this guide for information on the best metrics to monitor, track and report on. If there is something we’ve missed, get in touch any time in the comments below!
Are you measuring the success of your influencer marketing campaigns effectively?