Special thanks to Paul Johnson from Lumanu for contributing to this post.
If you’ve been keeping up with the influencer marketing trend, it’s very likely that you’ve seen this graph:
No doubt, influencer marketing is taking center stage, and the spotlight is well-deserved. It’s proving to be a powerful solution to ad-blockers and recent social algorithms changes that make it increasingly difficult for companies to get their brand in front of consumers.
…but there’s a problem.
While everyone touts the effectiveness of influencer marketing, it turns out that 19% of marketers admit they don’t measure the performance of their campaigns and 76% say that measuring the ROI of their campaigns is their top challenge.
Some marketers use influencer campaigns strictly to get content created so they can repurpose across various channels, and there is nothing wrong with taking this approach. But if you are working with influencers to reach their audiences through authentic content, then you’ll want to understand the impact your campaign had.
After all, if an influencer marketing campaign gets a ton of impressions, but you can’t report the business value of those impressions, was it really successful?
How To Measure The Success Of Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Despite the challenges marketers face with measuring the success of influencer partnerships, the majority of companies plan to increase their investment in influencer marketing. Yikes.
Before you invest a single penny in influencer marketing, it’s important that you clearly define your metrics. The following three tips can jumpstart that process and help you get a handle on how you’re going to measure the success of your campaigns.
Tip #1. Define your goal.
This one goes out to the 19% of marketers who aren’t measuring their campaigns…at all. If nothing else, at the very least, you need to define a goal. It will help guide your strategy, help you choose which metrics to track, and help you determine the right influencer(s) to work with.
At a very high level, the goal of an influencer marketing campaign can be broken down into three categories:
1. Reach – Reach is an ideal goal if you’re trying to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible (ideally within your target demographic). To track this goal, you’ll measure metrics like reach, impressions, or views. When choosing your influencer, follower count and audience demographics should be highly considered.
2. Engagement – Engagement is measured in terms of shares, comments, and likes. In comparison to brand awareness, engagement is more about quality over quantity. It provides valuable insight into how well your brand’s message, product, and content resonate with your target audience and can help refine future marketing efforts. If this is your goal, work with influencers who represent your ideal buyer and have strong organic engagement stats.
3. Conversion – Conversion measures the number of people who view the influencer content and then move on to your website to complete an action. The action can be subscribing to an email list, downloading an asset, requesting information, or making a purchase. Compared to the other two goals, this is the easiest way to show influencer marketing’s true ROI.
Paul Johnson, Co-founder of Lumanu, a marketing platform designed to empower top consumer brands to craft and amplify engaging content for today’s digital consumer, suggests, “If conversions are your goal, find an influencer who is a natural fit for your product and boasts a highly engaged audience. In order to drive conversion, you may also want to strongly consider native paid amplification (also known as influencer whitelisting) so you can both track and optimize for conversion events.”
Tip #2. Have your influencers use a CTA (call to action).
Even if your main campaign goal is brand awareness or engagement, you can’t lose when you incorporate a CTA. This makes it very clear to the influencer’s audience what they should consider doing if interested. As mentioned above, it’s the very best way to determine the business value of influencer marketing.
When someone engages with an influencer’s content, whether they like a photo or watch a YouTube video, they are likely in the middle of what Google refers to as a micro-moment. They are intrigued, interested, and ready to act. Take advantage of it!
To increase the impact of your influencer content, consider the following:
1. Keep your CTA simple – Focus on one CTA. If your goal is sales, your most obvious CTA should encourage users to purchase the product or service…not purchase the product OR subscribe to a blog OR share the post. You don’t want several, large CTAs fighting for attention.
2. Use a relevant landing page – When directing traffic to your website, make sure the landing page is specific to the CTA. For example, if the CTA is “Buy This Shirt,” don’t drive them to a “shirt” category page. Drive them to a landing page featuring the specific shirt the influencer is promoting. The path from “I’m interested” to purchase should be as short as possible.
3. Create a sense of urgency – Time pressure is a powerful tool to maximize conversions during a micro-moment. Use verbiage that implies a decision should be made quickly like a time constraint (i.e. “for the next 7 days”) or a coupon code with an expiration date.
4. Incorporate native amplification of influencer content as part of your strategy – By putting paid media behind influencer content (via the branded content tool, influencer whitelisting, or using a 3rd party influencer amplification platform like Lumanu) you can drive traffic from “Learn More” or “Shop now” CTAs on influencer feed content or via Instagram story “Swipe ups”. You can also optimize amplification to drive link clicks on your CTA within your target audience.
Tip #3: Leverage the power of UTM codes.
UTM codes are crucial to tracking the performance of your influencer marketing campaigns. Here’s why:
Let’s say you’re working with two influencers. Each has agreed to make a Facebook post promoting your product along with a link to your website. After a week, you want to know which influencer has the most conversions.
This is going to be pretty difficult because there’s no way in Google Analytics to determine which specific Facebook post drove those conversions. UTM codes are the solution to this problem.
Using the Google Campaign URL Builder, you can create a unique URL for each influencer by adding UTM parameters to your website URL. In this example, the UTM parameters you’ll add to the website URL will be:
Source – where the traffic is coming from.
Medium – the type of content that drove the traffic.
Campaign – the campaign the Facebook posts are promoting.
Influencer A’s URL will look like this:
Influencer B’s URL will look like this:
(And don’t worry, the Google Campaign URL Builder gives you the option to create a shortened URL.)
Now, you can quickly and easily check the performance of each influencer’s post by clicking on ‘Campaigns” under the Acquisition tab in Google Analytics.
These UTM parameters can be hyperlinked so they don’t appear in blog posts, and Facebook and Twitter will automatically shorten them for you in link posts. With Facebook image posts it often makes sense to have influencers use link shortener (like Bit.ly) in the text with the UTM URL hyperlinked. And finally, you can include UTM parameters when driving traffic from an Instagram post via a CTA (e.g. “Learn More”) if you amplify content using a platform like Lumanu.
Protip: Keep your naming convention consistent. This makes it easier to pull accurate and actionable reports in Google Analytics.
If you’re still feeling a little intimidated by UTM codes, you can learn more about them here.
Trust me; they’re worth getting to know better.
Metrics are key to defining your why.
Working with an influencer provides countless ways to connect with your target audience. There are videos, social posts, emails, sponsorship, etc. That being said, there are also countless ways to waste precious marketing dollars on the wrong kind of partnerships.
By defining and measuring the performance of your campaigns, you can zero in on which type of influencer marketing is most successful. When you understand which types of influencer content and which specific influencers perform the best, you can build an influencer strategy supported with data (which is guaranteed to impress your CMO). This allows you to double down with amplification behind your current initiatives to
Not only will this help you maximize your investment, but you’ll be investing in influencer marketing because you know it works…not because everyone else is doing it.