Influencers have become commonplace in the marketing content mix – they can offer social proof and unique access to niche communities that brands would otherwise find inaccessible. But like every marketing strategy, proving success of a campaign, program or channel is critical. The good news is, there are a multitude of ways brands can measure influencer marketing programs. Determining the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for influencer marketing depends on the goals of the influencer program – but with the right influencer marketing tools, you can get pretty granular with each metric.
Influencer marketing KPIs can vary significantly depending on the campaign, influencer, brand and channel. And sometimes, multiple can apply. No matter which goal you’re optimizing for, these influencer marketing KPIs can offer insight into the performance of your influencer program in relationship to the rest of your marketing campaigns.
Reach & Impressions
Influencers, especially macro influencers, help increase the visibility of your brand with their community. At the top of the funnel, influencers can impact the number of individuals who are exposed to your brand within specific channels.
Tracking impressions can be helpful for new brands and new audiences – it often takes multiple touches even from trusted influencers before a new buyer will convert. But if that first introduction eventually lowers the cost of acquisition for that customer, it can be worth it to measure impressions at the beginning. Another benefit of measuring impressions is it allows you to compare the cost per impression of the influencer channel as compared to others such as paid social and syndication.
Impressions alone can be considered a less substantial measurement as it doesn’t signify engagement intent or any sort of brand recall, but it’s still an important one to track as it can give you a quick glance into the scale of your campaigns. Beyond impressions and reach, it’s important to understand the earned media value of this content.
Measuring impressions from influencer campaigns can be tricky if you’re only relying on the influencer to report the metrics. Using a third party tool or native social analytics tools will also help supplement any data, so long as you’re able to reshare the content on your owned channels.
Engagement is one of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and measure the success of your influencer marketing campaigns. It informs you about the reaction and actions of the people with the content created by influencers.
This part of the process ensures you about your relationship with your audience. The relevance and loyalty of the audience are the two major metrics you can gauge through engagement. Engagement delves into the actions an audience takes when interacting with content, such as likes, shares, comments, clicks, votes, pins, video views, brand mentions. Measuring different types of engagement can help you determine if the content should be used in other channels beyond the influencer’s key audience.
The simple process to calculate engagement is to divide the number of engagements by the number of impressions, or to divide the number of engagements by your number of followers. For a better understanding of your ROI with a specific influencer campaign and budget, you can just calculate CPE, “i.e.” cost per engagement. CPE is equal to divide your total ad spend by the number of engagements.
The value of community cannot be underscored in influencer marketing. Reach and engagement can indicate new interest, audience growth ensures the audience is opting into future communications. Ultimately, using influencers to grow your social following can be a cost effective tactic, but occasionally tough to measure.
To track audience growth, the best bet is to use social media analytics to monitor your followers and see how many new ones you gain during the campaign, and compare the growth to pre-campaign numbers. While this might not be the most scientific and direct way to measure, a simple isolated test of the influencer campaign can usually indicate if there was a lift.
Referral and Direct Site Traffic From an Influencer
Similar to engagement, site traffic indicates that the audience member took the next engagement step. The amount of traffic driven towards your site from a specific influencer is worth monitoring because it will give you a good idea of the product-audience fit. Moreover, it also can tell you a lot about the overall success of the campaign.
It becomes more important when the conversions don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes the campaign drives a significant amount of traffic without any sales. KiraGrace creates dedicated pages for influencers in order to drive a better-connected brand experience.
While many brands rely solely on the metrics provided by Google Analytics, using dedicated influencer marketing tools can help triangulate each point of the funnel to see where users are falling off.
Direct sales are often one that marketers initially shy away from as it’s tough to measure without specific tools. That being said, it’s very possible, especially when the influencer content is being used across multiple channels.
Milani cosmetics uses influencer content across shoppable channels such as Walmart to tie their influencer program to direct sales – returning more on the investment than a single-channel influencer campaign
Ultimately, the highest return on investment from an influencer program lies in the content the influencer produces. Influencers offer a nice balance between production quality and authenticity – and the good news is that type of content tends to perform well on other channels beyond social as well.
To measure the value of the content, it’s important to understand how much you typically spend on photoshoots or product images for social campaigns. Once you have an idea how much those typically cost, you can see how much influencer content can actually save you in production costs.
No matter the success metric you choose with influencer marketing, it’s important to note that the results can take time to truly come to fruition. Ultimately, it’s important to continually evaluate the success of your influencer campaigns while remaining open to new possible ways to realize the success of the program.
Kiara McColl is a content manager at Clickmatix digital marketing agency, where she gets to do what she loves doing- writing and managing content with smart digital marketers in the company. She also has expertise in web marketing, search engine optimisation, social media and affiliate marketing.