What matters is what comes out: This is how you determine the ROI of your influencer marketing

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William Bachmann

Our guest author believes that there are no industry standards for monitoring success in influencer marketing. These are overdue because the discipline offers enormous potential.

The topic of influencer marketing dominated the marketing industry in 2017 and was also spread in daily and business media. Not everyone is convinced of the “ Power of Influencers ”. While half of those responsible for marketing consider Instagrammer, Youtubers and bloggers to be the new brand ambassadors, the other half doubt the measurability of the results. And not entirely without good reason: There are no generally applicable industry standards, especially when it comes to cost transparency and success control. Many ask themselves: Which key figures do you use and which are relevant – and above all: How can the success of a campaign be assessed?

The three most important key figures in measuring success

Evaluating an influencer marketing cooperation is not only important to see whether the desired return on investment (ROI) has been achieved, but also whether the influencer’s fee has been set appropriately. Industry and channel-specific benchmarks must be used for the analysis: the measurement of the success of a cooperation depends largely on the industry, the topic of the influencer and the channel on which the content was played. However, there are three key metrics that can be used across channels to evaluate an influencer campaign:

  1. The engagement rate in the form of comments, likes or other interactions shows how many users have dealt with and interacted with the content.
  2. Clicks are an indicator of whether the readers of a post were later interested in the topic. They are also the basis for the number of resulting conversions. Clicks are best measured on blogs, but there is also the option of adding a link to the bio or Insta-Stories, for example, on Instagram.
  3. Conversions are a crucial metric when it comes to generating sales or leads.

Measure the success of an influencer cooperation

When measuring the success of an influencer cooperation, the reporting should be aligned to the respective channel: To measure the success of a blog post, different success factors are used than with an Instagram post or Pinterest.
Important key figures for measuring the success of a campaign are:

  • the costs per qualified reader (on a blog) and the costs per social media engagement (cost per reader – CPR, or cost per engagement – CPE)
  • the number of readers on a blog post (net reach vs. gross reach)
  • the average length of time spent on a post or a YouTube video
  • the number of link clicks (in the blog post or in the social media post)

The Return on Investment – What’s Coming Around?

The possibilities of measuring the return on investment or the return on the advertising budget used (return on investment / ROI) primarily depends on the goal that the advertising company pursues with the influencer campaign. The most requested destinations include:

  1. Greater brand awareness
  2. More newsletter registrations
  3. More app downloads
  4. More sales in the online shop

These four goals can also be understood as part of a conversion-causal chain: It starts with brand awareness: 1. How many people visit the website. 2. How many of them become leads, i.e. users who register on a website, for example for a newsletter? 3. How many newsletter subscribers does a company convert to real customers, for example for app downloads or for a purchase in the web shop. For all of these goals there are different key figures in influencer marketing with which the success of a campaign can be assessed. We would like to briefly introduce the key figures for measuring the success of the campaign for the individual goals:

Brand awareness

A tried and tested means of qualifying the status of brand awareness is the “Voice of Share”: This value indicates how many people are talking about the brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. after a campaign. There are various tools that can assess and measure this. Another key figure is engagement on the customer’s social media channels. For example, does the number of followers increase after an influencer marketing campaign? The banal “before and after” tracking of the number of followers is a good approach. But of course the deep scan is recommended: How many followers came via the influencer (s) as new followers on the brand channels.

Newsletter registrations

The generation of leads, i.e. the addressing of potential new customers, is in many cases more cost-effective than other channels through influencer marketing. A classic lead in online marketing is the new newsletter subscriber. After an influencer marketing campaign, it is very easy to assess how much the conversion is, i.e. how many new registrations the company has generated. The use of a special landing page with the registration form is recommended here. The campaign is then provided with a tracking link so that it is possible to see where the new registrations came from. It is important that the content of the landing page is continuously optimized, i.e. also run through the so-called A / B tests during the campaign to see which variants of the landing page lead to higher conversion rates.

App downloads

The fundamentally most important key figure in this area is obvious: The numbers of downloads and installations can be measured very well using tracking links. There are some professional tools available on the market here.

Sales

The successfully completed purchase is the last link in the conversion chain and the way to get there can be done in different ways: for example via the newsletter registration, which converts the lead into a customer by making purchases in the shop. However, it can of course be the case that the potential customers should also be directed directly to the web shop via an influencer campaign. The most relevant key figure for the success of a campaign is of course the number of sales that are made due to a blog post, a YouTube video or an Instagram post. A voucher code is a tried and tested means of determining success: Using a different code for each influencer used it is easy to evaluate how the conversion was with the various influencers. Of course, the origin of the buyer can also be determined using common tools such as Google Analytics or Webtrekk. Marketing managers can use this to track how financially successful a campaign was.

Conclusion: Influencer marketing has to be part of the marketing mix

Basically, it can be said that due to the requirements (digital footprints) and the instruments available on the market, it is easy to be able to validate the return on investment using hard key figures. In the end, it’s all about determining and evaluating the relevant key figures and preparing a campaign very well. Then with influencer marketing it is very likely and at moderate costs possible to get consumers to act (e.g. app download, registration, purchase of a product, etc.). The prerequisites for this are the perfect “matching” between influencers and brands, high relevance of the product or service within the defined target group and, last but not least, the authentic presentation by the influencer.

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