Updated: Mar 16
There’s no doubt that influencer marketing can have a huge impact on your brand; ‘influencer’ directly refers to someone with an ability to directly influence their followers. In fact, 92% of people trust recommendations from influencers over an advert or celebrity endorsement, and more and more companies are investing more of their marketing budgets into the new influencer marketing space, or into social media agencies, over older tried and tested marketing methods.
Take the well-known example of Fyre Festival. Regardless of the massive failure of the festival itself, the stats on the effect of influencer marketing for the event speaks for itself. With 63 influencers simultaneously posting an orange tile with the hashtag #FyreFest, it gained over 300 million impressions in 24 hours. However, only a quarter of the tickets for the festival were actually sold, and this poses the question - was the campaign was actually successful?
What are you Key Performance Indicators?
Firstly, to track whether an influencer campaign is successful, you need to have clear KPI’s.
Ask yourself, what is the point of your campaign? Is it to raise brand awareness, sell tickets, promote a product? And what is the action you want followers to take? Do you want to make sales, drive traffic, reach new audiences, or just get people talking about your brand/product?
With influencer marketing being such a new field, it’s tempting for marketers to want to dip their toes in the pond without any clear goals or metrics to track. Sending out a couple of free products in return for some vague posts about a brand may be seen by thousands of people, but will this convert to sales or have the impact you’re after?
Having clear goals makes tracking the success of your influencer campaigns easier. Do you want to reach new audiences? Then why not track the demographics of followers your influencers have. Want to reach girls under 25? Then work with an influencer whose main audience fits that age and gender demographic. Using social media agencies or talent agencies can be hugely helpful to help you find the right influencers to work with that will really target your audience. Tracking and analysing your influencers against key performance goals can give clear indications on if an influencer is the right fit to work with, and allows you to end any influencer relationships which aren’t working for your brand.
Reach / Impressions
Reach is an essential element to track any influencer campaign. By looking at the follower or subscriber numbers of an influencer, you can see how many people are a potential audience for your post. One thing to keep in mind is that even if an influencer has 1 million followers, it doesn’t mean that all 1 millions followers will see every post. It’s also worth checking how many of these followers/subscribers are genuine and authentic. Ridiculous amounts of money each year are spent on influencer marketing when they have a high percentage of fake followers, and we’d hate for you to spend your precious budget on trying to influence fake accounts. There are lots of tools to analyse a influencers following before you decide to work with them.
Another element to track the success of your campaign is to count how many impressions your influencer’s posts are getting. Not every follower of an influencer sees every post, but the number of impressions gives you a more accurate indication of how many people have actually seen a post. This can have a big impact on brand awareness and eventually, sales. Your influencer may have a large audience, but your post could only be seen by a fraction of this audience - giving you fewer impressions.
To get influencers with the most amount of followers or the highest number of impressions isn’t always the best approach. A large number of impressions by the wrong audience may not help your campaign. Depending on your goal, smaller influencers with a more dedicated and engaged audience, in your niche area, may be the way forward.
Another way to determine the success of an influencer campaign is by tracking the amount of engagement on an influencers post. You can tell if the influencer’s following is engaging with your content by counting likes, reactions, comments, and shares. You want to get people engaging with your post in a positive way, and the more likes and shares you gain, the more you can tell if your post is resonating with the influencer’s audience. A high percentage of engagement compared to the number of followers is ideal outcome.
It’s worth checking the percentage of engagement your post gets compared to the percentage a regular post that an influencer receives. This way you can benchmark your post against the average amount of engagement that an influencer receives. It’s also worth checking the percentage of real engagement, too. We don’t want fake likes.
It’s also worth mentioning the recent trials by Instagram no longer showing the number or likes posts are getting in certain countries. Whilst the influencer/owner of the account can track how much engagement a post have, this may not be visible elsewhere, and does pull into question whether it’s worth tracking, and how long the like counts may still show in the UK, US and elsewhere.
It’s possible to determine the success of a campaign via traffic from the influencer. If your aim is to drive traffic to your website, or promote a particular product, the influencer may include a link with a UTM tag within their post. This can be in their bio on Instagram, within an Instagram story, or in the description box on YouTube. Using Google Analytics you can then track how many people have visited your website or followed your link off the back of a particular influencer’s post.
Another way to track sales is through the use of promotional codes. Giving your ambassadors a specific code for their followers to gain a discount on your products makes it easy to track how many sales have come off the back of a particular influencer. This could be for a range of discounts such as buy one get one free offers and percentage discounts on your products. The only thing to be aware of with this method is the fact that codes are very easily leaked onto code sharing websites, so you want to ensure the discounts are only used by genuine followers of the influencer, rather than being available to everyone.
As well as using codes to track the number of sales from an influencer, you can also measure other metrics, such as cost per sale, cost per click from link traffic, total gross sales, etc. This is a great way to show value in sales from influencer marketing.
Other uses of influencer marketing
With paid social advertising through platforms such as Facebook, it is possible to see return on investments. However, there are benefits of using influencer marketing as part of your wider marketing activities which aren’t as easily trackable.
Influencers help to give your brand personality. These people are representing your brand, so you really want to work with those who embody your brand as they will be a brilliant ambassador. It is a massive responsibility for your ambassadors to represent you to your potential customers. However, it can also be a lot of fun as who you work with can help to represent your brand and make it more personable.
Using influencers can also help to create content for you to use elsewhere. Sending ambassadors products in return for UGC that can be used in your organic or paid social, can help save money on design and photography.
In conclusion, whilst influencer marketing is a relatively new concept in the marketing landscape, there is no doubt it can be a powerful tool.
Depending on your goals, there are many ways to track its success, whether that is raising brand awareness or generating sales. Recording the following or subscribers an influencer has is a good indication of their potential reach, and tracking the number of impressions of their posts will show just how many people you can potentially influencer with your messages. Engagement on posts is also a brilliant benchmark on how your posts are resonating with an influencers audience and if it’s relevant to them.
If you like more hard facts and figures on success rates from your influencer marketing then using tracking links or UTM tags on links given out by influencers is a great way to measure traffic to your site, or sales generated from a particular influencer. The use of promotional or discount codes unique to an influencer is a great way to track direct sales too.
Influencer marketing is a unique form of mouth-to-mouth marketing. Followers trust the recommendations of those they follow on social media, and this gives brands a unique opportunity to reach their target markets and share their messages.