An equal number of skeptics and believers are discussing “influencer marketing" lately.
While there certainly are examples of influencer marketing campaign flop such as the stories of brands that throw a $1 million budget toward said influencers and having no idea if the investment impacts their business, influencer marketing done correctly can have a profound, positive effect on your business.
Adopt Influencer Marketing as Part of Your Marketing Strategy
If you’re not leveraging influencers as part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a seriously effective way to build your brand! Influencer marketing capitalizes on the high social credibility and industry relevance of prolific social media stars to carry a brand’s message.
Influencer marketing harnesses earned media channels like word-of-mouth to carry a message. These days, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations for their purchasing decisions. When the message comes from highly credible individuals, the message carries more weight in the minds of consumers.
In fact, according to eMarketer, 81 percent of marketers who have used influencer marketing said it was effective. Influencers also produce three times more word-of-mouth messages than non-influentials do, and each message sent has four times more impact on a recipient’s purchasing decision.
After you identify the right influencers for your brand, define the type of content you want them to create, and set objectives, you need to put the proper parameters in place to measure the results. How do you measure? Why is the said metric important? What tools do you use? We’ll tell you here.
Further reading: Essential Marketing Metrics for Agencies and Businesses
With upwards of 30 million businesses in America competing for consumers’ attention, marketing without an ROI in mind isn’t going to cut it. Use referral traffic, brand, engagement and conversion metrics to determine the true ROI of influencer content.
1. Referral Traffic
Google Analytics (GA) offers awesome visibility into where your website traffic comes from. There are three primary source categories for referral traffic on GA:
Direct – Those who visit your site by typing a URL in an internet browser.
Search – Those who come to your website via search engine.
Referral visitors – People who visit your website through a referral from another website.
Each source is important to monitor, but the referral visitors metric is a major indicator of the influencer marketing campaign success. Google Analytics offers an incredible amount of referral source data for you to analyze.
Practical application: Create a custom report for your influencer campaign to compare content directly attributed to an influencer against your other content. Segment the influencer referral websites and measure activity from them using direct and search referrals as the baseline. Look at the number of unique visitors, time on page, navigational path, and assisted.
Most brands acutely track website visitors as a key reporting metric, and it should be no different for influencer marketing campaigns.
2. Brand Awareness Metrics
Brand awareness metrics are less critical in terms of sales, but good identifiers of how an influencer has influenced the conversation about your brand.
There are two key performance indicators (KPIs) related to brand metrics: sentiment and frequency. Sentiment measures the positive, neutral, and negative conversations, while frequency measures the average number of times a person is exposed to the brand over a set period of time.
Strength: The likelihood your brand is being talked about on social media
Sentiment: Ratio of positive to negative brand mentions
Passion: Measures the likelihood your content will be shared on social repeatedly
Reach: Measures the range of influence
Additional tips: Set a baseline for your current content metrics. Compare the same metrics over a period of time. (Month over month is a good starting point.) Next, establish growth goals (by %)specific to your influencer content. KPIs mean nothing without real numbers behind them; luckily, with the right tools, you can quantify previously unquantifiable metrics such as brand awareness and sentiment.
Engagement extends your brand’s reach to existing and new audiences through likes, blog comments, social conversation, and shares. It’s especially critical for influencers who have the potential to cast and activate a wide net of social conversation.
Identify how users interact with content from an influencer. While this type of activity does not directly impact sales, it is effective for building awareness and consideration to advance users down the conversion funnel.
Practical application: Calculate the engagement rate per influencer post, or aggregate influencer content and compare the aggregate influencer rate numbers to non-influencer content. There are two ways to calculate engagement rate:
(Source: Simply Measured)
4. Trackable Links
Custom link shorteners have the inherent value of not requiring the visitor to type a long URL. There is an added bonus that many custom link shorteners offer: the ability to create custom links per campaign, which allows you to group activity in a report.
Practical application: Use Bitly to create campaigns. Segment influencer content with a custom campaign URL and measure it against non-influencer content.
5. Conversion Goals
You can easily set up influencer-specific conversion goals with Google Analytics and track them with triggers, such as activity on a particular campaign, landing page, or web page. You can view more information on advanced analytics for content campaigns here.
Practical application: To create goals, you first need to login into Google Analytics, Then navigate to Admin > View column > Goals. Hit “New Goal” and identify the type of goal, description, and details of what you want to track. Plan out your goals and related triggers before you get started. This will help the user more easily create the goal and related logic required to set up the triggers if needed.
Influencer marketing has the potential to be incredibly powerful but like any other well-performed marketing campaign, it needs to be measured. These above defining metrics allow you to determine the true power of your brand's influencers as well as inform future strategies. Go forth and conquer!