Influencer marketing occupies one of the strongest positions among all the digital marketing strategies. It is so due to many reasons, but the most prominent one is that people tend to listen to and value the opinions of those they look up to.
And while working with influencers is risky to some extent, as you have no control over the rest of the content they post and the personal opinions they share, and hiring a link building company or perhaps an online remarketing agency may seem like a safer choice, it is still a highly beneficial marketing strategy. It allows you to gain credibility and build trust between your brand and consumers in the fastest way possible, as well as reach out to a broader audience.
Among other benefits of influencer marketing, there is also the opportunity to boost your brand hashtags to increase your brand awareness. And while a unique hashtag can help you track the performance of different aspects of your influencer-driven social media campaign, there are also other practical methods to measure its effectiveness as a whole.
Here is how to test and optimize your influencer marketing campaign to reach your target audience effectively:
What Is Influencer Marketing?
First, you need to understand what influencer marketing actually is. Otherwise, you might be unable to use it to its full potential.
Simply put, influencer marketing is a type of online marketing where a company collaborates with a person who is regarded as an expert within their particular field and boasts a steady following. Such a person is called an influencer.
This collaboration may take many different forms. Nevertheless, the most straightforward deal requires the company to pay the influencer a certain amount of money in exchange for them to promote a particular product or service to their audience. The form of promotion can also widely differ, ranging from Instagram posts and TikToks to more in-depth videos or other interactable content.
Why do companies decide to work with influencers? Well, it provides numerous benefits, most notable of which are additional exposure and improved brand recognition.
How To Use Influencer Marketing to Your Advantage?
Brands that aim to appeal to modern consumers might want to create more influencer-driven marketing campaigns. Still, it is not as simple as handing cash to the influencer and waiting for the results.
It would be best to consider several critical factors to make the most out of your relationships with influencers. This way, you can estimate who is worth contacting and who to avoid.
Other than that, you could also use A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. It can help you estimate the ROI of your marketing efforts and analyze how your customers react to collaborations with certain individuals.
Let’s take a closer look at these issues below.
Decide on the Most Critical Metrics for This Particular Campaign
It is impossible to single out a universal indicator to measure a campaign’s performance, as different marketing campaigns have different goals and, therefore, KPIs to consider. So, before you start working with an influencer, you first need to identify your business needs to determine your influencer-driven campaign’s main purpose.
The most important KPIs may be the overall reach, the number of newly registered users, leads acquired, or sales made. For example, if you are running a marketing campaign with branding-related goals, such as the Pennie health exchange campaign, its most critical metric will be the overall reach. However, this KPI will be less relevant if you aim to attract potential customers to your landing page or increase sales.
As such, you need to set the global goal for this campaign to bring you closer to and then decide on the most critical metrics to measure and optimize it. In general, we suggest tracking the following key marketing performance indicators:
(Image Source: Unsplash)
ROI (Return on Influence)
ROI shows you how much income you received from your marketing campaign, expenses excluded. If the ROI is positive, it makes sense to launch another similar campaign, or perhaps an in-person event (which can be made easier using an event planning app) - for example, with other influencers.
However, if the ROI is negative, you need to determine what worked and what didn't: how much traffic did you get from this campaign? How many leads and how many sales? You can use tools like Rank Tracker to determine how the campaign affected your SEO and online visibility. Optimize each part of the funnel, have an in-depth discussion with an influencer, and launch another campaign.
The goal of working with influencers is ultimately to increase sales and conversions for your brand. Therefore, it is essential to determine the connection between sales and your collaboration - this way, you will be able to assess the profitability of your marketing efforts.
You cannot underestimate the role of the influencer in the buyer's journey, especially at the consideration stage. For this reason, a clear understanding of the value of a particular influencer for your company can be an incredibly powerful tool for making strategic decisions about how and where to represent your brand.
Modern technologies allow you to see the whole journey and trace the results back to an individual partner, regardless of what stage the consumer is at. This means that marketers can now opt out of "softer" metrics, such as overall reach and engagement, to measure the business impact of a particular influencer.
In most cases, this impact is estimated by the profit and ROI received. And what to do if you are not engaged in the sale of goods? Then, to measure conversions (the number of downloads, newly registered users, sales), use UTM parameters, unique coupon codes, special landing pages dedicated to the campaign, and affiliate links. Using a Web Audit tool could also be helpful.
By tracking conversion rates, you will be able to track the traffic source, determine how each campaign with influencers involved converts, and then estimate your expenses.
Also, you can directly measure the effectiveness of a campaign by looking at the number of new registrations or subscriptions. For example, you use influencers to raise awareness about the content formats that initiate registration, such as a newsletter, and then evaluate the growth of the email list as a KPI.
CTR and CPC
Today, consumers are flooded with advertising offers, so it often takes several touchpoints to get them to make purchases. CTR - click-through rate - will help you determine how many people actually clicked on an ad from an authoritative person and reached your brand.
You will also know that all these people understood that the advertisement represented your company and your product, which is important. Simply taking into account the degree of engagement or the number of the influencer’s followers won’t be enough, as people may not even realize that your brand is being advertised.
If you are working with several people on different social media platforms and perhaps even blogs, the real way to estimate the cost of your campaign, in this case, is to track the CPC - cost per click. CPC also makes it possible to immediately see how various influencers and their audience acted during the campaign and adjust accordingly.
Referral traffic is a crucial metric for evaluating the success of an influencer-driven marketing campaign. You may have a well-optimized landing page, but conversions will remain low if there is no traffic coming to it. Google Analytics makes it easy to track how effective a campaign is to bring traffic to your site.
Referral traffic is more challenging to track than likes, shares, and visits. Still, it’s worth the effort because there are many vanity metrics that do not provide any tangible benefits for business. On the other hand, the evidence of referral traffic is, for example, a subscription to your newsletter, issued through the user’s contact with the customer support team and filling out a feedback form.
Moreover, you can use referral data for retargeting: you take into account everyone who clicked through to your site in order to send them retargeting ads later. Sometimes it is difficult to get direct traffic from influencers, but it is still essential to monitor traffic spikes during the influencer’s active work on promoting your product or service.
(Image Source: Unsplash)
The Loyalty of an Influencer’s Audience
Influencers’ fan bases can be very unstable, so before contacting the chosen person for marketing purposes, see how loyal their audience is. The higher the loyalty, the better the content - the higher chances of promoting your brand effectively.
And while people generally don't like it when the video is interrupted for advertising or when the photos are clearly related to the promotion of goods, there are influencers who advertise only those brands that fit the interests of their audience. You need to make sure that their audience is your target audience.
In addition, it is essential to implement advertising to fit seamlessly into the overall content and the content of a particular post or video. This way, the mention of your brand by the influencer will not greatly interrupt the user experience, and they are less likely to react negatively to the reappearance of such ads.
If you were to choose one metric, it should be an analysis of the audience's attitude to the influencer (the ratio of bad and good comments) and their loyalty. Followers react and comment, and the narrative unfolds further, so understanding the audience's attitude to the influencer allows you to predict the development of the campaign more accurately.
Some influencers can boast highly loyal fans who are ready to purchase everything they recommend. That is why engagement is one of the most critical elements of evaluating a marketing campaign.
You need users to be interested in your brand overall or a particular product or service you’re going to market. Therefore, look at the ratio of comments per impression - an indicator reflecting how many people who actually viewed the ad were motivated to take action.
Tracking the level of engagement begins long before the start of the campaign because this metric shows how significant the blogger’s influence on their audience is. Here is what you should pay attention to when determining the degree of engagement:
- number of shares,
- brand mentions.
It doesn't matter how many subscribers or likes a person has, as long as no one interacts with their posts.
Your goal is to reach as many people as possible. How do you achieve this? Choose the right influencer - considering their audience’s loyalty, engagement level, and, of course, overall reach.
To correlate success with this goal, you need to track how many people you have reached during this campaign, how many new potential customers have learned about your brand, and how much the campaign has strengthened the brand's position.
The overall reach of a marketing campaign is estimated by the number of impressions of various publications - on social networks, blogs, and other channels you may use. For example, if your influencer campaign involves Instagram Stories, you can easily track and compare the number of overall views and interactions with each particular Story. This way, you will see the actual engagement ratio from a specific influencer’s audience.
(Image Source: Unsplash)
While tracking separate KPIs will allow you to identify weak spots in your influencer-driven marketing campaign and optimize them on the go, there is also another method to measure a social media campaign and make the most out of your content. It’s A/B testing both your markets and influencers.
A/B testing is a method based on comparing two versions of something, A and B, against each other to determine which one performs better. When applied to influencer marketing, especially if you’re working with several different bloggers and creating influencer content on a scale, A/B testing can help you measure your ROI.
The thing is, when working with one or two influencers, it might be tough to measure how variations in audience demographic, topic, visuals, etc., affect a piece of content’s efficiency. But the more you are able to explore the varying levels of influencers’ impact on your business, the better you can understand what exactly affects your ROI.
By using A/B testing and reaching out to different audiences through collaborations with influencers from various niches, you can understand your prospects in deeper and unexpected ways. This approach also allows you to identify new, relevant audiences you haven’t discovered yet. As such, developing two options of, for example, Instagram Stories templates or newsletter visuals (or even topics), and simultaneously distributing them to different audiences gives you the opportunity to gain a wider and more diverse customer base.
Furthermore, determining which variations of an influencer-driven campaign affect its impact allows you to calculate the campaign’s TMV - total media value. This, in turn, will help you fully understand what actions turned out to be a success, considering your initial goals, and what efforts haven’t worked out at all.
The Bottom Line
Influence marketing campaigns usually have too many variables, making it difficult to state why a particular strategy worked or hasn’t worked out. However, the key metrics we mentioned will help you measure the success of a marketing campaign and optimize your current or future collaborations with influencers.
Additionally, utilizing the A/B test approach will also provide you with an opportunity to explore influencers’ impact and audiences on a larger scale. However, it’s important to remember that you should determine the campaign’s purpose and its most critical metrics considering the business goals of your particular company.
If your goal is to spread knowledge about the brand, then keep an eye on the overall reach and impressions of the influencer’s content. If the goal is to attract more traffic to the landing page, you need to pay attention to clickability, and if you’re aiming to stimulate direct sales, then your main KPI is conversions.
So, think about the most important goals for your business and choose the appropriate metrics to measure and optimize your influence marketing campaigns. Happy converting!