Here at GRIN, our passion is helping your influencer marketing team lose the spreadsheets in favor of more sustainable solutions that save you time and money. And that’s why we’re going to discuss how essential it is that whatever influencer reporting platform you use includes all the right metrics.
Influencer Marketing Reporting and Analytics: Why It Matters
Marketers understand analytics, engagements, and conversions. Clients and department heads understand costs and sales.
Are your influencer marketing efforts lowering costs and increasing revenue? How you answer this question could make the difference between more or less funding for your program. So if you’re like most marketers, you create reports.
reporting shows your executive team how and why your influencer programs are performing. Each KPI increases the desired end state: lower costs, increased revenues, or both.
As influencer marketing continues to grow within your organization, and the greater D2C market, the quality of your influencer marketing reporting tools could make or break your influencer program.
Measure the Success of Your Influencer Campaigns
How do you know that your influencer marketing campaigns are working?
The answer depends on your objectives and how you fleshed out those objectives in your key performance indicators (KPIs). Marketing initiatives should not look solely at initial sales. The problem with this approach is that any marketing initiative – especially influencer marketing – generates some of your best ROI over the long-term.
So how can you incorporate long-term returns for your influencer campaigns?
It’s actually quite simple – you track consumer behavior in response to each piece of content within a campaign. This approach helps you trace clicks to their final destination (a sale!). That’s why it’s important to use custom links and tags to attribute sales to the appropriate influencer.
By back-tracking the journey that a buyer took before deciding to invest in your brand, you learn which actions contribute directly to your objectives. These actions become milestones, and milestones become KPIs.
So in answer to the question, How do you know that your influencer marketing campaigns are working?, it’s your KPIs that demonstrate that success. And the most reliable way to track those KPIs is through a reporting tool that understands influencer marketing.
Identify Your Influencer Program ROI
Said another way, influencer marketing success is your influencer program ROI. After identifying your KPIs, you can quantify the value of each milestone.
For example, let’s say that in an average influencer campaign, 40 engagements result in $40 in sales. Armed with this data, you can assume that one engagement is worth $1 to your influencer program. Additionally, you see that 40 engagements cost you $10 on average. That means that each engagement costs you $.40. Crunching these numbers reveals that you achieve an ROI of $.60 on every engagement.
Although the example above is a bit over-simplified, the underlying principle remains true – accurate analytics shows you exactly how your influencer program contributes to your brand’s bottom line.
The Need for an Influencer Marketing Reporting Tool
Until recently, leading influencer marketers depended on spreadsheets to manage influencer analytics. To report on influencer program success and ROI, those marketers would export filtered data and present it in a way that gave a snapshot view of success/failure.
But experience shows that the spreadsheet method is cumbersome, overwhelming, and consumes hundreds more labor hours than is feasible. So while spreadsheets work for young influencer programs, scaling influencer marketing beyond a handful of brand ambassadors drives the whole marketing team insane. It’s just too much.
GRIN successfully eased the pain of influencer analytics with its influencer-specific relationship management software. D2C brands experienced immediate boosts in their productivity, lowered costs, increased revenues, saved time, and further expanded their influencer program.
But the second half of influencer relationship management is influencer marketing reporting. GRIN recently launched its new reporting tool to help marketers take their program to the next level. No more exporting data and no more building manual reports – GRIN’s influencer reporting tool manages all of these reporting tasks within its online platform.
Influencer Reporting Platform – Which Metrics Do You Need?
Whether using GRIN, another platform, or spreadsheets, you must understand which reporting metrics are most relevant to influencer ROI.
Our engineers and leading influencer marketers have been able to organize critical reporting metrics into five categories. We then converted those five categories into reporting views within GRIN: Contacts, Content, Conversions, Payments, and Orders.
Sorting your metrics by contacts allows you to track the performance and status of your influencers:
- Content volume. How many posts do your influencers average per campaign? Tracking the quantity and quality of influencer posts helps you determine what each post is worth when measured against other metrics.
- Influencer Media Value (IMV). When examining current performance metrics, how does your influencer spend compare to other digital marketing spend (PPC, email, etc.)? Tracking IMV for each influencer can help you forecast future campaign performance.
- Average engagement rate. How do audience members typically respond to influencer posts? Ideally, you want to see consumers respond with post comments, shares, swipe-ups, and more. The higher an influencer’s average engagement rate, the more impact that influencer has on the buying decisions of his/her audience.
- Impressions. How many people viewed an influencer’s content? Macro influencers may not have as high of an engagement rate as Micro influencers, but Macro influencers achieve higher impression counts. This means that more people are seeing your posts.
- Total conversions. How often do your influencers convert followers into customers? As important as the other metrics are, your conversions directly impact your revenues.
- Total revenue. How much does each influencer generate in revenue? Viewing the total revenue of your influencers helps you identify top performers and best tactics.
- Total cost. How much did it cost to generate engagement, impressions, conversations, and sales? Comparing your costs to results helps you see if you are getting a reasonable return on your investment.
After filtering out the critical metrics from your contacts (influencers), you can compare results by week, month, quarter, and year. These dated reports will show you which influencers are improving their results over time.
Many of the same critical metrics you draw from sorting your data by contacts (influencers) applies to sorting your data by content. Here are critical metrics to track when comparing influencer content.
- Influencer/creator. Which influencer is producing which content? Matching the right content with the right influencer is essential for measuring engagements and conversions.
- Type of post. How many of your influencer posts are social posts, blogs, videos, etc.? Certain posts usually generate different audience responses and also vary in cost. Tracking these metrics helps you identify post style effectiveness.
- Total engagements. Not all engagements are equally valuable, but it’s important to know the engagement that each piece of content delivers.
- Likes – Likes may not demonstrate serious engagement from a follower, but they do indicate impressions/views.
- Comments – When followers place comments on a post, you can see their tone (positive or negative) and their level of interest.
- Shares – Shares indicate that your influencer content is experiencing organic growth and wider viewership.
- Clicks (CTRs) – Using links and tags allows you to see how often followers clicked on a link, regardless of whether they liked, commented, or shared an influencer post.
- Engagement rate. When you divide the number of post engagements by the number of views or followers, you find the engagement rate. The higher a piece of content’s engagement rate, the more effectively it resonated with an influencer’s audience.
- Social channel. Where is your influencer content located? Noting the social media platform for each piece of content will help you identify which channels are most important to your target audience.
Gathering and sorting influencer marketing metrics by content will help you refine your campaign strategy. You’ll understand how different styles and types of content elicit specific responses from audiences.
Conversions are arguably the most important of your influencer program metrics. When tracking metrics, be sure to note the following:
- Influencer. Which influencers are generating the top number of conversations? Your top performing influencers are those with whom you should build long-term relationships. You may also want to approach these influencers about an Instagram takeover or whitelisting campaign.
- Cost. How much does each conversion cost? When tracking costs, you should take into account product costs (COGS or product exchange) and influencer costs.
- Revenue. How much revenue does each conversion generate? Attaching values to your conversions will give you a stronger picture of how lucrative your campaigns are.
It can be tempting to focus only on conversion metrics. However, examining each category of metrics carefully will allow you to report the value of each engagement, impression, content type, etc. Not every conversion occurs right away. Often, conversions occur after a particle sequence of engagements.
Whenever you want to understand ROI, you need to itemize the costs. The following payment metrics are essential to valuing your influencer program:
- Total payments. How much did you pay to achieve campaign results? These metrics are self-explanatory, especially when you’re building campaign budgets.
- Payment amounts. What is the typical size of each payment? Large or small payment amounts should stand out and cause you to ask questions about why a particular payment was a different size than the rest.
- Types of payments. In most influencer programs, managers track product cost (when sending influencers free product), influencer fees, commissions, or a combination of the three. Regardless, you should be able to recount the amount and types of payments you made to each influencer.
- Campaign. Which payments match with which campaign? Tracking these campaign costs can help you compare multiple campaigns and dial in your influencer budget.
Order metrics will give you deeper insight into the quality of your conversions. The following data can help you better understand consumer behavior:
- Total orders. How many orders does your influencer program generate? Identify total orders and average orders per campaign.
- Order amounts. What is each order amount and the average order? If you want to raise the average customer spend per order, tracking order amounts will help you see if you are reaching your objectives.
- Price. At what price did each order sell? Because many influencer campaigns involve promotions or coupon codes, it’s important to know what the final sale price was for each order.
- Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). Your COGS include the cost of the product, along with shipping costs. Tracking your COGS can help you plan influencer promotions that still generate a handsome margin.
- Campaign. Which campaigns drove which orders? By examining the campaigns that generated the most orders, you can further improve your influencer program and the quality of your campaign briefs.
Using Metrics to Build Influencer Program KPIs
For most influencer programs, the metrics above form program KPIs. Influencer marketing managers use these metrics to demonstrate the growth and success of the program.
Because every organization is different, you may have additional metrics that you use to track your influencer marketing success. That’s why our engineers equipped each reporting view with scores of custom fields. GRIN’s software saves you from having to labor over spreadsheets by allowing you to customize the influencer reporting to just how you like it.
Without an influencer reporting platform, you won’t be able to communicate how or why your influence program works. And if you can’t explain how your influencer marketing is a success, you or your superiors may abandon one of the most successful mediums in digital marketing history.If you’ve been growing weary of using spreadsheets and manually creating influencer reports, we encourage you to look for reliable automation tools like GRIN. Our specialists can offer you a product demo and help you transition your program into a more sustainable one.
This article originally appeared in the Grin.co blog and has been published here with permission.