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As marketers, we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing.
Any advancements in technology or customer trends are something we tend to latch onto.
While influencer marketing has been around for a while, measuring a campaign's success can be more difficult.
Especially as influencers have the capacity to both increase your brand awareness as well as directly impact sales in a way that’s different from other social and display campaigns, making them hard to place.
But, if you’re getting into the influencer marketing game, or if your existing campaigns aren’t quite converting in the way you were expecting them to, fear not.
This article is here to help.
We’ll take a look at what influencer marketing is and how it can help your brand, before moving on to how to set your goals and the nine metrics you should use to ensure success!
If we start at the beginning, it’s worth saying that influencer marketing isn’t all that new. If you remove the social media element from its modern guise, you actually find that it's been around for a while.
From Michael Jordan and Air Jordans to Selena Gomez and Coca-Cola, celebrities have been lending their name to brands and endorsing them for generations. Influencer marketing is just the new twist on this. Nowadays, social media-based influencers create a deep connection with their followers, putting them in a great position to recommend a product.
It has now grown to be a multi-billion dollar industry across the world, with one report finding that 33% of Gen Z have bought a product because of an influencer's recommendation in the last three months. Demonstrating that influencer marketing is a trend that is likely to stick around as well as the impressive results it’s able to deliver.
However, whilst influencer marketing is definitely something you should be doing, it isn’t necessarily as easy as picking an influencer and watching the increased sales roll in.
Instead, you need to think carefully about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to measure a campaign’s success in the long and short term.
Before heading into any marketing campaign, setting out what you want to achieve in terms of results is a must. Otherwise, by the time the campaign is over, how do you know whether you’ve had a successful or unsuccessful time?
Influencer marketing is no different in this regard. Before launching your material through the influencer’s pages and reaping the rewards of their audience, you have to outline what forms a positive outcome and what counts as a failure.
You also need to consider the whole marketing and sales funnel including a marketing and sales action plan, how you expect your campaign to interact with each stage of it. For example, maybe you want to start by focusing on brand exposure at the top of the funnel and then move towards more explicit endorsements as your brand message is gradually reinforced.
The principle is the same, no matter what industry you work in. Whether you’re looking at family law marketing ideas and metrics or engagement with your pet-grooming marketing campaign.
Your goal can be anything, from greater revenue to how to get brand ambassadors. And the below nine metrics are what you’d then use as evidence for either result.
The bread and butter of social media KPIs, whether used for content marketing or not, is engagement. This is usually measured by tracking actions such as:
The way to get a post to be successful is for it to get a lot of these, so if you are choosing an influencer, take a look at their engagement figures. You can have as many followers as you want, but if you’re churning out content that only 1 in 20 is engaging with, your campaign will be less successful.
This will give you the best idea of what an influencer will be able to do for your brand, but it’s also a great way of measuring the success of their endorsement of your product. If their post endorsing your product leads to lots of likes and comments on Instagram and Facebook, etc., you’ll know they’ve managed to capture your audience’s interest.
Often the byproduct of high engagement is an increased following. So if your influencer campaign is going well, you should see a correlation between posts achieving more engagement and an uptick in your follower count.
However, be wary of fake followers. Whether it’s an influencer professing to have a greater impact than they do or you’re concerned about your business's own followers, it’s best to use a fake follower checker to be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
The important thing to remember when it comes to followers is that they should also be measured alongside your website’s analytics.
For example, you might have found the perfect CEO/influencer combination that’s creating great content about the brilliance of your Acquia platform and increasing your followers. But this needs to be reflected in an increased amount of web traffic to your site.
If you do find a discrepancy, then consider combining different metrics to measure your campaigns. This will help to illuminate where some of your users are dropping off and how to make your campaign more effective.
Whilst likes and comments can form the backbone of any influencer campaign metrics, it’s important to also measure sentiment if you want to really capture the impact of your campaign.
As countless social media missteps have shown us, being talked about on social media isn’t necessarily always a good thing. Demonstrating how it’s important to dig a little deeper when it comes to your influencer marketing.
Tracking customer sentiment helps you to know how your customers think and feel about your brand. Tools like Hootsuite and Zendesk can monitor customer feedback across your social media and perform customer sentiment analysis. This will provide insights into whether user engagement has been positive, negative, or neutral.
In doing so, you can see whether the added mentions, hashtags, and comments that come from your influencer campaign are positive and what impact the campaign has had on the way your customers perceive your brand.
As with non-influencer ad campaigns, awareness is often only part of the game. Real success is judged by the monetary impact it has on your business. Conversion rates are a pivotal element of this.
What you define as a conversion will depend on your product and your business. For example, if you’re a legal firm looking for more clients, then you might see a conversion as someone signing up to your email list. Whereas, if you sell handcrafted soaps, you’ll want to see if your influencer campaign is contributing to sales directly.
Once you know what you’re tracking as your conversion you can measure your conversion rate by taking the amount of unique visitors and conversions generated by your influencer campaign.
Then use this calculation: (total number of conversions / total number of unique visitors) x 100
Tracking this metric can be a great way of measuring whether your influencer campaign is reaching the right kind of user. Unlike other forms of social media activity, influencers have a high capability to recommend your products to their followers, put a link in their bio that leads to your site, and, ultimately, have a big impact on conversions.
On top of this, you can also analyze which channels are better at driving conversions and connecting to your brand. Whether it’s Youtube, Instagram, or Twitter, you should look to identify which is driving better results and, therefore, where to focus your efforts.
When you measure reach, you’re measuring the number of people who have been exposed to your brand’s message through your influencer’s campaign.
This is usually measured by using the analytics platforms that social media sites provide themselves. However, you can also consider using other analytics programs alongside this to gain greater insights.
For the most part, you can at least see how many views a piece has had, regardless of how many likes or comments, or shares it has received.
On some platforms - such as Instagram stories or YouTube viewership statistics - you can see either which accounts are viewing your content, in the case of the former, or where they’re accessing it from, in the case of the latter.
This allows you to build a better picture of where or to whom your message is achieving the greatest penetration. If you are running a campaign built more around awareness of attorney burnout than sales of your software, this can be vital to understanding the conversation you’re trying to have.
Chances are, the influencer or page you pair with has already crossed the “how to stand out as a social media influencer” bridge, so capitalizing on their existing reach is yet another by-product.
A starting point for any business, let alone a marketing team or campaign, is understanding your target audience. For example, if you want to start an LLC in California, you need to know the California-based audience, or your business is set to fail. Understanding your target audience can easily be done through proper research, which is based on very specific parameters.
This can be based on age, gender, ethnicity, location, income, or any other identifiable vertical you can think of.
For example, if you sell legal tech, your target audience would be lawyers, not e-commerce store owners.
Data around who your campaign is speaking to most fruitfully is key to understanding your success.
If your message is speaking to an audience that exists outside of your idea of your “target” sect, then this could be because the message of it, or the style, isn’t as appropriate as believed. This can be one of the most vital metrics to use if you plan to make changes mid-campaign.
Analyzing traffic means taking a wider look at the success of your campaign and measuring how many people are visiting your website. This figure is then considered alongside your site’s bounce rate, which is the number of people who visit your site and then leave without interacting with it.
Generally speaking, traffic is a more commonly discussed metric in the context of blogging or email retargeting. Traffic is a key feature of your campaign analysis too. This is because, more often than not, you’re using this campaign to drive people to a store elsewhere on the web.
That is to say that your store exists on a different site to that which you’re using to promote it. Indeed, whilst online channels like Instagram and YouTube can and do host stores, it can be easier to get a view of the impact of your campaign when the store is based elsewhere.
Metrics surrounding traffic allow you to see where from, when, and what volume of attention your site is receiving at any one time. This is something that can help you discern which of the marketing posts you have created and used an influencer to post has been most successful.
You can have a campaign that has delivered an incredible amount of revenue to your company, but if it has cost you just as much to deliver it, was it even worth the hassle?
The answer, in short, is no, it isn’t. The health of campaigns, and influencer ones most of all, is the return on investment they grant you. A previous metric (engagement) can offer a good litmus test for this.
Someone with a lower following but higher engagement rate is ideal as they reach a better portion of the audience they have whilst not being established enough to charge you ludicrous fees for their influence.
Think about how different your levels of interest and engagement are in online meetings with 20 people compared to ones with just five, for example, as evidence of bigger not always meaning better.
Very much doing what it says on the tin, if your influencer marketing campaign results in a boost in sales, then chances are it has had a positive effect. If you sell domain names, are you seeing an increase in customers reaching out to buy domain names for you? Or, if you specialize in accounting software, are more people subscribing to your service?
It isn’t a solve-all fix, but it largely is a metric that speaks to the positive influence - or lack thereof - of the entire exercise.
The key to understanding which of these metrics to use for your influencer marketing campaign is simple. They shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. More often than not, the way to assess how close you have come to achieving or surpassing your goals is to use some or all of these metrics.
Whilst this isn’t always appropriate - measuring a messaging campaign by how many sales it achieves, for example, seems a little misguided - there are more metrics now than there have ever been before. So be free to make the most of that.
Author: Jessica Collier - VP of Growth Marketing
Jessica Collier is VP of Growth Marketing at Assembly Software, developers of practice management software and cloud-based solutions for the legal sector. Her passion for digital innovation and agile marketing has led to significant success in innovative tech marketing, client collaboration and driving conversion results. You can check out her Linkedin here.