An integral part of any marketing strategy is the ability to monitor and measure its effectiveness. Influencer marketing is no different. You must know what is working and what isn’t in order to be able to make the necessary adjustments. In a recent Linqia report, 92% of marketers who utilized influencer marketing found that it was effective. But as the industry matures, there’s a move toward using integrated strategies aimed at impacting lower-funnel metrics, like conversions, product sales and clicks. This trend is expected to continue to develop in coming years.
However, marketers have struggled to measure the return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing. In 2018, 76% of them cited it as one of their top challenges. As they increase their investment in the channel, there is a growing need to find proven ways to hold influencer marketing accountable for driving lower-funnel metrics.
The Challenge of Measuring ROI
Measuring the effectiveness of influencer marketing campaigns extends beyond awareness and reach. Marketers also need to measure the ROI to gain a big-picture view. They are finding that while upper-funnel metrics such as awareness and reach are essential, lower-funnel metrics are equally vital and may even provide a clearer view of the campaign’s effectiveness. Thus, many are shifting their measurement focus in that direction.
However, many influencer networks don’t have the tools or capabilities to track bottom of the funnel metrics. Therefore, as these key indicators become more valuable to marketers, they must implement proven strategies to demonstrate the influencer marketing program’s impact on their bottom line.
5 Ways to Measure the Success of Influencer Marketing
The ability to measure the success of an influencer marketing strategy opens up opportunities for adjustment to increase effectiveness and improve results.
1. Understand Engagement Metrics
Engagement is a high-quality action, as well as a good indicator of how your brand is performing. It reveals audience activities, brand awareness and loyalty, and it’s measured by likes, views, shares, clicks and mentions. You can determine long-term ROI by calculating the cost per engagement (CPE), which is measured by dollars spent per activity (ie. click-through or video view, etc.). Quantifying the engagement your influencer marketing campaigns generate is a great way to understand its impact on lower-funnel goals, as this metric indicates shoppers’ perception of your brand, and not just the product.
2. Generate Affiliate Links
Affiliate links allow you to track online sales that originate from the influencer’s blog posts and social media channels. It is also the simplest method for tracking ROI in terms of dollars earned directly through influencers. The key is to create a specific link for each one based on the campaign they’re supporting. In this way, you can easily track each link to measure lower-funnel metrics – like clicks, conversions and sales – and attribute each influencer with the appropriate results. It’s important to note that influencers typically receive commission from these sales.
Make sure that you have a very detailed analytics tool in place to monitor and measure each of your links, so you can make informed decisions regarding your marketing strategy. As you gain understanding of direct sales through affiliate links, you’ll have a better idea of overall success and ROI.
3. Provide Promotional Codes
This method delivers valuable insight into your influencer marketing strategy by tracking metrics beyond immediate sales. It can also aid in monitoring “down-the-line” purchases that are spurred by a particular influencer. As they plan to make a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation, shoppers will enter a specific code on your website to receive a special discount or offer. This ties the partner’s brand to your product, plus it allows you to better track the number of sales they generated. When using this method, be sure to create promo codes that are concise, memorable and easy to spell. Ideally, they should be something that fans and followers already connect with the influencer.
4. Use Trackable Module (UTM) Links
This is one of the best ways to calculate your campaign’s conversion rate. Similar to affiliate links, Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) links provide insight into the origin of your conversions; however, influencers do not receive commission on sales with this method. This works well if you want to boost brand awareness and increase sales in targeted areas. UTM is Google Analytics’ format used to monitor unique URLs. You can set specific parameters based on the campaign name, source and medium, and this allows you to easily track and attribute certain lower-funnel metrics to particular influencers.
5. Create Goals in Google Analytics
Google Analytics has become the measurement standard among marketers, and it’s just as effective for tracking your influencer marketing strategy. Beyond the various metrics the tool measures, it also allows you to create goals that track specific user interactions on your website. These can include call-to-action (CTA) clicks, form submissions, downloads and even purchases.
There are four types of goals in Google Analytics – destination, duration, pages/visits and events – but only the latter will give you better insight into bottom of the funnel metrics. For example, when someone visits your site and performs an event – or action – defined as a goal, Google Analytics records that as a conversion. This tactic is most effective when paired with other methods, such as affiliate links or promo codes, to clearly understand how well your influencer marketing program is performing.
Measuring the effectiveness of your strategy should not be overlooked. All too often the emphasis is placed on the campaign itself, while measuring and monitoring are an afterthought. If you aren’t analyzing your data and measuring your campaigns, you have no idea what is – or isn’t – working and why. Without this data and information to provide direction, you may have trouble improving your strategy or determining the next steps.
When measuring the success of your strategy, there are a few things every marketer should keep in mind:
- Recognize that measuring the success of your influencer marketing program is a necessary and vital part of your overall brand marketing strategy.
- Set clear, decisive goals to help you determine which metrics to track and to properly monitor effectiveness.
- Use the appropriate tools or technologies that will allow you to effectively and efficiently track and measure your campaign’s success.
- Remember that while upper-funnel metrics are essential, lower-funnel metrics can help you justify your investment in influencer marketing and continue maximizing its power.
Influencer marketing is the fastest growing acquisition channel, but marketers are struggling to find ways to measure success in terms of sales, conversions, and other lower-funnel metrics. Use these tools and strategies to better manage and measure the success of your influencer marketing strategy. Tracking these metrics will help you tailor your marketing campaigns to your intended audience and allow for adjustments to improve effectiveness. You can see what is working and what you may need to change – or even discard – in order to improve your ROI.