A short time ago, the idea of “influencer marketing” was a fringe consideration. Over the last few years, however, there has been a gradual change in how agencies approach influencer marketing, with more companies adopting influencer-based marketing strategies.
Unfortunately, unlike other marketing techniques, there’s no quick and simple way to gauge the success of this marketing approach. The metrics involved in this new type of advertising are still mostly a mystery to many businesses. Without proper parameters, there’s no way to tell how well a campaign did. Luckily, 11 experts from Forbes Agency Council decided to share their expertise on how businesses can calculate their return on investment for influencer marketing campaigns.
1. Measure Channel Performance
While it can be difficult to directly track ROI from influencer marketing, I’ve found that if we can attribute a sale back to an influencer, then it is a measurable return. We also measure channel performance, such as increases in web or social traffic. Utilizing promo codes and landing pages is an excellent way to help measure return. – Alex Membrillo, Cardinal Digital Marketing
2. Read Direct Comments
Influencer marketing has been a very powerful tool in this era. Not only has influencer marketing evolved but also the tracking of ROI in a marketing campaign. One way is to track direct conversations from consumers. It’s important to see an influencer’s post with consumers expressing their interest in purchasing the product featured in the post. – Cagan Sean Yuksel, GRAFX CO.
3. Track Everything
Incorporate coupon codes so you can track any direct sales from the collaboration. In addition, remember that any links are valuable and can help contribute to SEO. On top of that, you’ve got social media exposure from retweets, comments, likes, etc. to help with brand awareness and exposure. Track everything that contributes to the sale, not only final sales numbers. – Bernard May, National Positions
4. Look Beyond Vanity Metrics
Influencer marketing can have a powerful effect on top of funnel metrics. We recommend that our customers include a brand lift study when evaluating influencer campaigns to get a more complete picture of how influencer marketing can impact strategic marketing goals like increasing awareness, shifting perceptions, conveying thought leadership and deepening customer relationships. – Corbett Drummey, Popular Pays
5. Determine Your Desired Outcome
Too often, brands go into an influencer relationship before determining a desired outcome or setting expectations. Is the influencer relationship designed to drive brand awareness or action? How does the influencer measure engagements with brands with one or both of those outcomes? Before engaging with influencers, set your goals and go after the influencers with proven outcomes matching yours. – Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia
6. Request Regular Reports
You can provide influencers with exclusive codes or affiliate links to track any purchases that come directly from their efforts. We have found, however, that by asking our influencers to provide periodic reports to us on the engagement they are seeing, we get a better qualitative feel for whether the influencer is the right choice for the campaign, and if the campaign is making headway. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove
7. Look At Tracking Links, Conversion Pixels
It’s crucial to create custom tracking links for each influencer you’ll work with — this way, your company will be able to analyze the performance of every single influencer involved in a campaign and calculate metrics such as CPC. Thanks to conversion pixels installed on “thank you” pages or using third-party measurement attribution tools for apps, you will also be able to calculate CPI and CPA. – Alessandro Bogliari, The Influencer Marketing Factory
8. Utilize Influencer Analytics Platforms
There are many platforms available that will allow you to translate the impact, engagement, sentiment and traffic of your influencer campaign. Depending on how you have set up KPIs for the campaign, each metric should easily be translatable into the ROI you are looking for. – Michael Smith, MDS Media Inc.
9. Implement Measurable Trigger Points
Influencer marketing impacts all phases of the buying cycle, and demonstrating ROI can be more difficult. By implementing measurable trigger points like UTM tags, unique landing pages or custom offers, we can better understand a campaign’s success. With more insight into performance, we could determine a certain niche, audience or tactic worked better than others and optimize future campaigns. – Tripp Donnelly, REQ
10. Utilize Unique Codes
When possible, make an effort to distinguish the leads or customers generated by your influencer with something like a coupon code or special product only available to these followers or subscribers. The incentive gives the influencer something unique to promote and helps quantify their impact on your business. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
11. Create Separate Affiliate Links
You can make a separate affiliate link solely to give to the influencer that will track clicks, abandoned carts, email captures or sales. Or you can release a special edition product run just for that collaboration with the influencer and have them release it to their audience and see how it performs. The best way to track return through any influencer campaign requires isolation of the product being sold. – Vishal Jain, Sunshy Group Of Companies
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Author: Forbes Agency Council, Forbes Councils Member