It’s no secret at this point that influencer marketing disrupts all traditional approaches to digital advertising. Instead of studio-built ads, DTC and eCommerce brands have partnered with influencers to see positive ROI from those collaborations.
Authentic brand mentions – rather than self-promoting ads – turn the heads of consumers today. And even if a strategically-placed influencer post doesn’t produce a sale, chances are that the creator’s shoutout significantly shortens the buyer’s journey for that brand’s audience.
Image via Statista
“In 2021, 67.9 percent of U.S. marketers in companies larger than 100 employees were expected to use influencers for marketing purposes. – Statista Research Department, January 2021
But like most marketing tactics, influencer campaigns are only as valuable as your ability to track their performance. That’s why measuring campaign effectiveness is key.
Decisions to Make Before Launching Your Influencer Campaign
Influencer Campaign Type
There are many different ways to leverage influencers for your brand. For example, newer influencer programs frequently leverage short-term influencer relationships in order to become familiar with the creator landscape and establish sustainable processes.
But as your program grows, you’ll begin to see the value of long-term influencer relationships across various campaign types.
Evergreen, or “always on” influencer campaigns are ongoing. Depending on which of your influencers are active, you may have standard campaign guidelines and commission rates for your approved brand ambassadors and affiliates.
As the name suggests, your seasonal campaigns may run for holiday promotions, product launches, or any limited-time event for which you want to incorporate influencers.
Influencer-specific, Long-term Campaigns
As you survey your team of active influencers, you will likely notice a handful of high-performers with whom you have a deeper relationship than the rest. When this happens, it’s a good idea to extend additional perks, benefits, and unique paid opportunities.
In these long-term or “bespoke” influencer campaigns, you enter into a mutually beneficial contract with that influencer. Depending on that influencer’s talents and the quality of your relationship with them, you may want to outsource social media content creation or utilize cutting edge techniques, such as influencer whitelisting or dark posting.
Influencers by Follower Size
One of the most common ways to categorize influencers is by their follower size. Currently, these influencer types are:
- Nano influencers – 1,000 – 10,000 followers
- Micro influencers – 10,000 – 100,000 followers
- Macro influencers – 100,000 – 1 million followers
- Mega/Celebrity influencers – more than 1 million followers
When selecting influencers by follower size, there are a few things you should consider.
First, follower size never guarantees campaign success. In fact, fake influencers will go so far as to purchase followers and engagement. Vetting your influencers is a critical first step in making sure that your campaign will connect with your audience.
Second, even influencers with high, authentic engagement may not be a good fit for your brand. Your best influencers will be those that represent specific target audience segments, support your values, and align with your brand voice.
Third and last, influencers tend to get more expensive as follower counts go up. That said, you can negotiate with influencers to find the ones that fit your budget and help you reach the right audiences. Another thing to keep in mind is that some of the most successful influencer programs only utilize Nano and Micro influencers.
In other words, your influencer campaign success is rarely about how many followers that influencer has. Your campaigns will be successful if you choose your influencers carefully based on how engaged their audience is and nurture long-term relationships with your top performers.
Influencer Campaign Roles
As social commerce and influencer marketing grows, brands are leaning more heavily on the contributions of their influencer communities. This trend causes influencers to assume various roles for the brands they choose to partner with.
Brand ambassadors usually facilitate evergreen campaigns. Their role is to inform their audience, raise brand awareness, and generate sales.
While some brand ambassadors are happy to work for product gifts alone, many brands offer commissions to members of their ambassador team.
Affiliates mainly seek to boost brand sales. That said, using creators as affiliates can make your program more authentic and less “salesy.” Product commission is the most common compensation structure for influencer affiliates.
Some influencers are so talented and aligned with your brand that it is advantageous for you to outsource content creation to them. Not only does using social creators to compose and repurpose branded content raise your online authenticity, but it will also significantly lower your production costs.
“A creator is a production company in a box… Because they are partnering with a creator, a brand doesn’t have to go out there and hire a production company or hire an agency or hire actors to star in content. There is a lot of value that the Creator brings.” – Justin Moore, Ohthatsgoodnews’s Get Real Podcast
Many times, your best influencers are simply influential customers with families and day jobs. These creators aren’t necessarily amazing photographers, videographers, or bloggers. But they promote your brand without you asking, and their online audience greatly respects their opinion.
Customer advocates are almost always thrilled to promote your brand in exchange for free products. More importantly, they will give you some of the best lifestyle content to repurpose, along with transparent feedback to help you personalize your products.
Many influencers are, in fact, credentialed industry experts. Depending on their popularity, they may be Micro or Mega influencers.
If your brand exists in a market where there is a lot of misinformation, or you invest a great deal in scientific research to refine your product, then partnering with influencer industry experts (also known as key opinion leaders) is a smart move.
These influencers are great for creating product reviews or showing customers practical case uses for your products.
Campaigns by Social Channel
It is not necessary for you to reach every social media channel with your brand. Rather, identify your top two or three channels and master those platforms.
Within those social channels that you’ve identified as priority, you can survey the field of relevant influencers. You can leverage those influencers to grow your audience on each channel and then collaborate with them when you are ready to expand to new social media platforms.
Image via eMarketer
10 Tips for Tracking and Measuring Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns
1. Set marketing objectives and break those objectives down into measurable key performance indicators (KPIs).
It’s critical that you answer the question, What do I want my influencers to do? The more specific your vision for your social strategy, the easier it will be for your influencers to help your brand.
To begin, identify your marketing objectives. Some of the most common influencer marketing goals are:
- Brand Awareness
- Web Traffic
From your objectives, you can break each one down into milestones or key performance indicators (KPIs). It is often best practice to align each KPI with specific campaign metrics.
2. Be aware of all the social media features that allow audiences to engage.
While all leading social channels offer like, comment, and sharing capabilities, many platforms and post types offer additional ways that users can engage.
For example, TikTok allows users to react, comment, duet, and stitch (create an alternate ending to another user’s video). Similarly, Instagram Stories allow users to react, share, and interact with post stickers/filters/features (poll, swipe-ups, etc.).
Whichever platforms you use, take a moment to examine all the ways that users can interact with your influencer content and incorporate those engagements into your KPIs.
3. Track metrics that match your campaign KPIs.
When it comes to social post analytics, there are more metrics than you may need to track. The key to following the right metrics is to match certain ones to your KPIs and objectives.
For example, if your KPI is to increase link clicks by a certain percentage, what influencer post metrics contribute to that KPI? To track this KPI, you may want to incorporate links with UTMs to follow web traffic. Additionally, you’ll probably want to track how many influencer posts contained that link.
If nothing else, essential campaign metrics include tracking every post that mentions your brand, as well as engagements on those posts.
4. Discuss your campaign KPIs with your influencer before, during, and after the campaign.
Holding campaign KPIs “close to the chest” helps no one. If you can remain transparent with your influencers about your goals and expectations, they will be better equipped to help you achieve those objectives.
And it’s okay to adjust your campaign KPIs as often you and your influencers feel is necessary. Whatever you choose, be sure to keep your influencers on the same page and be clear about how you will measure campaign success.
5. Find the right automation and analytics tools to help you track influencer performance.
Performance tracking can be a real nightmare without the right tools. Tracking these numbers manually is possible, but at some point, you might feel overwhelmed.
As you scale your influencer program, you’ll need a tool that helps you accomplish more with less effort. Additionally, the best influencer tool will pull all the performance metrics you need automatically so that you don’t have to comb the social universe for the data you need.
6. Look for ways to integrate influencer content across your various marketing mediums and compare results.
Repurposing influencer content isn’t just a good idea, it’s an approach to content marketing that could drastically reduce costs and increase results across your entire marketing program.
Many brands are filling their website, email newsletters, and social media feeds with lifestyle content from their favorite influencers. Following in their footsteps can streamline your content marketing strategy and increase your influencer ROI.
Disclaimer: You will need permission from your influencers to repurpose their content. It’s standard practice to include content repurposing rights in your influencer contracts, and we strongly recommend this approach.
7. Involve your influencer community when planning events and track participation that originated from your influencers.
If your marketing team is planning an event or campaign for which influencers can enhance results, you should try to include them.
For example, many brands intentionally build their experiential campaigns around their favorite influencers. The same is true for live virtual events.
8. Match every campaign metric and KPI to the right stage of your marketing funnel.
Your marketing funnel should inform your influencer KPIs. Whether your audience is just becoming aware of your brand for the first time, getting to know your brand, or committing to a purchase, certain campaigns metrics will show you how well consumers are moving through the funnel.
In much the same way that you attached key campaign metrics to each of your KPIs, you can assign numbers to each stage of your marketing funnel.
9. Create more opportunities to convert customers on social media.
Sales are the best conversions. But there are more ways to convert customers. If you give your audience more choices, you won’t lose future sales.
Consumers that are not ready to buy may be more than happy to sign-up for email, texts, or events. Deep down, they love your brand, and they will buy once they get to know your brand.
It’s also a good idea to incentivize your influencers across all conversion points. This approach will increase sales and add high-quality leads to your sales pipeline.
10. Note changes in website traffic before, during, and after influencer campaigns.
Even if web traffic is not one of your main objectives, the fact is that online audiences will “stalk you” online after seeing an influencer post that tags your brand. By being aware of how influencer campaigns boost your web traffic, you can take steps to capture inbound traffic and increase your overall marketing ROI.
Conclusion: Measuring the Overall Impact of an Influencer Marketing Campaign
There are several great ways to analyze the cause-effect relationship between influencer campaigns and marketing performance. If you get tunnel vision on one or two metrics, you’ll miss out on the bigger picture.
To scale a high-performing influencer program, you’ll need to acknowledge all the ways in which influencer ROI presents itself. Additionally, tracking as many performance metrics as possible will give you invaluable insights into your target audience.