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If your content marketing campaigns are stagnating, it may be time to turn to online influencers. Partnering with popular content creators has the potential to revitalize your business, as statistics suggest 74 percent of people trust social networks to guide their purchasing decisions, and 49 percent rely on influencer recommendations. Without an influencer on board, you could miss out on this huge share of the market. But influencer marketing comes at a cost, and it’s important to justify that cost by measuring your influencer marketing effectiveness.

Understanding Influencer Marketing Effectiveness

Influencer marketing effectiveness is the measure of how successful your marketing campaigns are. As there are many ways to evaluate success, it’s essential to establish the metrics you intend to use at the beginning of the campaign. This involves having very clear goals. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you may decide to use quantity of sales and increase in profits as key performance indicators (KPIs). Some of the most common metrics for evaluating success include:

  • Number of sales
  • Value of sales
  • Sales leads
  • Visitors to a site
  • Repeat visitors
  • Unique visitors
  • Subscriptions to a newsletter
  • Comments on a social media post
  • Shares for a social media post

Reasons to Measure Influencer Marketing Effectiveness

In 2016, influencer marketing surpassed print marketing, and that trend is set to continue. But a study by the Association of National Advertisers found that only 36 percent of businesses felt their influencer marketing was effective. Finding ways to enhance your own campaigns grants you an advantage over those companies that continue to struggle. When analyzing the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, you’re usually going to be looking for one or more of the following:

Improved reach:

Reach is the measure of how far your message spreads. Improving reach ensures more people see your product — but also different types of people. Reach helps you break into previously untapped demographics, and encourages click-throughs to your site.

Improved engagement:

Engagement is the measure of how many people interact with your content. Interactions include liking posts on social media, leaving comments, or sharing content with friends.

Improved sales:

Measuring sales involves looking at the volume and frequency of purchases, the size of the purchases, the number of repeat customers, the number of items added to a wish list, and the quality of sales leads.

It’s essential to establish if you’ve achieved these goals. Otherwise, it’s impossible to tell if you’re getting a good return on your investment. If you’re paying an influencer but the campaign is falling flat, you need to take action. By establishing reasons why the campaign isn’t meeting your expectations, it’s possible to make changes to your strategy going forward. Ultimately, this saves money on advertising, and helps to keep your campaign on course.

How to Measure Influencer Marketing Effectiveness

Measuring effectiveness isn’t always easy, especially if you’re running several campaigns or working with multiple influencers. Consider these methods for ensuring you’re getting the best results possible.

Measuring Reach

It’s possible to get a rough idea of the kind of reach expected from working with an influencer by studying how many followers they have. Influencers develop loyal fan bases, with 40 percent of millennial YouTube subscribers saying their favorite creators understand them better than their friends. As such, it’s reasonable to expect that a large proportion of your influencer’s audience is going to see your content. But you should also track impressions, which is the number of times the content is displayed, regardless of whether or not someone actually saw it.

As you expand your reach, you increase your visibility. This often translates to increased traffic to your site. There are various software programs that let you track marketing statistics, including the amount of traffic from a specific source. It’s also possible to use tracking pixels on influencer content. This makes it easier to establish when visitors arrive as a result of your campaign.

Measuring Engagement

Engagement is an important way to build a loyal audience. A good influencer campaign serves up content that people love, so those people keep coming back for more. Engagement on social media is easy to monitor thanks to “like” and “share” functions. A “like” indicates a positive reaction to content, while a “share” indicates that someone feels strongly enough about your brand to spread the word.

Measuring Sales

When a sale comes in, you should be able to identify the source of that sale. There are several ways to achieve this:

  • Marketing codes: Do you remember back in the day when you used to cut coupons out of magazines, and every coupon had a code printed on it to indicate which publication it came from? If the method isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Give each of your influencers a code, and keep track of how many of each code comes in.
  • Affiliate links: Similar to marketing codes, giving each of your influencers a custom link to embed in content makes it easier to track sales.
  • Isolated marketing: Using isolated marketing involves selecting a product and only making it available through a specific channel (in this case, through your influencer campaign). If you get any sales, you know where they’ve come from.
  • UTM parameters: Adding UTM tags to your URLs makes it possible to track sales information through Google Analytics.

Takeaway: The Measure of Success

Influencer marketing has the potential to dramatically improve business, which explains why 48 percent of U.S. businesses intend to increase their marketing budgets for influencer-based campaigns. If you want to ensure you’re getting the best return on your investment, you need to first understand what your campaign is trying to achieve. Then, you can establish metrics for evaluating your success. Without a clearly defined way of measuring your influencer marketing effectiveness, you have no way of knowing if your marketing strategies are worth the level of investment you’re putting into them, and you have no way of deciding the best way to take your marketing to the next level.