Love them or loathe them, social media influencers are making waves online.
From bloggers to Instagram fashionistas, YouTube influencers to LinkedIn storytellers, influencers are changing the social media landscape.
Larger than life with extensive social networks, influencers can help to improve the outcomes of your digital and social media marketing campaigns.
Given the right conditions, they may even help your brand to go viral.
While influencer marketing may be widespread in most countries, many brands still find it difficult to measure and quantify the results of their influencer marketing campaigns.
How do you quantify the results of engaging influencers? What are the best metrics we can use to determine the results of influencer marketing efforts?
In this article, you will learn The 5 Rs Framework for measuring influencer marketing results:
- Return On Influencers (ROI)
This is often the most used indicators for evaluating influencers to partner with in your campaign. From 10s of thousands to millions of followers and fans, influencers often have a significant reach which usually outpaces your organisation.
To evaluate how much reach a potential influencer may have, consider getting the following KPIs from him or her.
- Size of network, ie total number of fans and followers
- Size of subscriber network (for websites/blogs)
- Total webpage views (for bloggers)
- Average page views per blog article
- Average reach (ie people) per post
- Average number of impressions per post
- Average video views per video post
Pros and Cons of Reach
Pros: Reach is probably the easiest way to evaluate influencers. Many of them would know what the size of their social network is like, or their average page views per article. Moreover, much of this data can be easily gleaned using tools like SimilarWeb, Socialblade, and SocialMention.
Cons: As you’d probably realise, it isn’t just numbers alone that matter but effectiveness. While influencers with large followings may look attractive, they may not be able to deliver the engagement and conversion numbers which you desire.
You may also end up paying for reach that you don’t need, especially when you deal with influencers who have artificially inflated their follower counts by buying them from cheap “follower mills” in third world countries.
Also known as engagement or interactions, resonance is a measure of how effective your influencers are in triggering the right actions among their followers.
While having a good reach ensures that more people can see your article or social media post, getting people to respond to them is what resonance is all about.
In gauging resonance levels, consider the following KPIs from your influencers:
- Likes/Reactions Per Post
- Likes/Reactions Per Follower
- Comments Per Post
- Comments Per Follower
- No of longer Video Views (ie at least 10 seconds or 25 percent and above)
- Shares/ReTweets Per Post
- Shares/ReTweets Per Follower
- Engagement Rate which is usually measured by this formula:
(Total no of clicks + shares + comments + likes) / Total reach
Pros and Cons of Resonance
Pros: Perhaps the most important benefit of using engagement indicators is that you can see how many people were actually interested in your piece of influencer produced content. The higher this indicator is, the better it would be for your brand. Moreover, you can also assess the relative effectiveness of different influencers in triggering engagement, and work with those who do.
Cons: Engagement metrics are usually harder to measure and may require more effort among your influencers. It also means that they have to be more transparent with you. While this could be mandated for paid influencers, those whom you invite for PR events and are willing to cover you for a token benefit (eg free food or vouchers) may be loathe to reveal such numbers.
Resonance alone isn’t enough if the influencer campaign only served to strengthen her relationship with her followers. What truly matters for brands is an enduring outcome that pays dividends over the long-term.
This is where recruitment of new fans and followers comes in.
To measure how well an influencer has helped you in recruitment, consider implementing the following metrics:
– Average no of leads generated
– Average no of event respondees
- No of new fans (eg through Influencer takeover accounts for example)
- No of event attendees
- No of new leads generated
- No of campaign hashtags generated
- No of 3rd party blog posts generated. This may be useful for SEO purposes as influencers normally provide a backlink to your website or page.
- No of apps downloaded
- No of contest participants
Pros and Cons of Recruitment
Pros: Compared to resonance, recruitment provides a longer-term benefit for your brand. Due to the need for active participation by the influencer to solicit her followers to follow your brand, there is a greater level of trust among her followers. Moreover, you can target and add these new members to your marketing funnel.
Cons: Recruitment campaigns are usually more complex to plan and execute. It may involve the need for specific programming for lead capture, as well as tracking mechanisms (consider using Google’s Campaign URL builder) to monitor where the sources of leads come from.
You may also need to invest more in incentivising your influencers to participate in your campaign. This could be done through a tiered incentive scheme where they get compensated based on performance.
Ultimately, the goal of any online marketing campaign ought to be dollars and cents. This same principle could be used to get influencers in your campaign to help you drive sales and revenue.
To measure the success of revenue-based influencer campaigns, consider the following metrics:
- Total quantity of sales per influencer
- Total value of sales per influencer
- Total profits per influencer
- Total sales per influencer campaign
- Total no of repeat sales per influencer
- Total commission paid out per influencer
Pros and Cons of Revenue
Pros: Sales and revenue are the ultimate goals of any marketer. By co-opting your partner influencers in driving sales of your products, you can truly test how effective she is not just in creating a splash but milking it too. This is also a win-win arrangement for influencers who can get paid a commission (either percentage or dollar value) per sale.
Cons: Selling is tough. Many influencers are more talented in selling themselves than in promoting a third party product or service. You may also get into the kerfuffle of influencers being accused of “selling out” their sense of good taste for the purpose of profit. This is bad for both the influencer and your brand.
#5 Return On Influencers (ROI)
Last but certainly not least, you should measure your ROI – Return On Influencers (Or ROIM: Return On Influencer Marketing if you wish).
The way to do so is to calculate your Cost Per Result from your campaigns. This would vary depending on whether your ultimate goal is Reach, Resonance, Recruitment, or Revenue.
Here are some useful yardsticks to consider:
- Cost Per Video View: How much does it cost to get a video view from the influencer?
- Cost Per Engagement (CPE): What is the cost like to generate all those likes/comments/shares
- Cost Per Click (CPC): What is the cost like to generate one click from your influencer?
- Cost Per Follower (CPF): What is the cost like to recruit a new follower/fan from your influencer/
- Cost Per Lead (CPL): What are the costs like to acquire a lead from an influencer campaign?
- Cost Per Sale: How much did it cost you to generate a sale?
- Cost Per Dollar Earned: What about the total dollar value generated?
- Return On Ad Spent (ROAS): Traditionally, this formula is used to compute the profitability of your campaign, ie (Total sales – Total Costs)/ (Total Costs) X 100. You can use substitute your total costs with the costs of engaging influencers.
- Comparative ROI Figures: What is your return like for spending on an influencer versus putting those funds into generating your own content and advertising?
Pros and Cons of Return On Influencer
Pros: Naturally, such a method of calculating the effectiveness of your campaigns is the most scientific and fair. After all, a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. How you spend your digital marketing dollars across different channels should be given the same weightage after all.
Cons: The drawback of using such a method is that it can be more tedious to set up. This requires that you carefully monitor how much your dollar is generating in terms of results across different channels and methods. Such methods are also unable to calculate the intangible or qualitative benefits of associating with an influencer such as better brand perception.
Traditional yardsticks of measuring the effectiveness of influencers rely too much on guesswork and subjective outcomes. This has resulted in numerous brands lamenting over the ineffectiveness of their influencer marketing campaigns.
Use the above 5 Rs – Reach, Resonance, Recruitment, Revenue, and Return On Influencers – to improve the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaigns. Investing in that initial effort to put in place this framework will pay dividends over the long-term.
How do you measure the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaigns? I’d love to read your experiences.