Influencer marketing has some serious clout among marketers. In fact, a study conducted by influencer marketing agency Mediakix found that “80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective.” While an overwhelming majority of marketers see the value in influencer marketing, the real challenge is how to track influencer marketing ROI.
Tracking that ROI is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Whether you’re working with big-time Instagram influencers, popular guest bloggers, or even micro-influencers, every influencer marketing campaign you run needs to serve a greater purpose — a larger campaign goal. That goal could be financial, but it could also be increasing your social media followers or finding new audiences for a product you’re launching.
The challenge is deciding which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track. To help mitigate some of the heavy lifting, we’ve compiled a list of common campaign goals and related KPIs you should be tracking to help get a better read on your influencer marketing ROI.
The Difficulty of Tracking Influencer Marketing ROI
The challenge with tracking influencer marketing ROI is that it’s not as simple as money in, money out. Your return on investment isn’t solely based on revenue. Just as there are many reasons for a marketing campaign, there are many different ways to calculate influencer marketing ROI.
Why can’t we or don’t we track just revenue? Well, part of the reason the ROI of influencer marketing is hard to track is that you don’t have the same visibility into the customer journey that you do on your own website or social media.
Because you don’t have the same visibility when creating an influencer marketing campaign, you need to be very clear with the influencer you’re working with about your campaign goal from the start. Depending on the price point of your product or service, influencer marketing can nurture a customer from brand awareness to the consideration phase, or from the consideration phase to a purchase.
First Determine Your Influencer Campaign Goal
Every successful influencer marketing campaign needs to be centered on a clear goal. The KPIs you track depend on that campaign goal. If your goal — in other words, if what you’re investing for — is brand awareness, for example, you’ll track things like your social media followers and website pageviews.
Think about why a customer continues buying from you: they trust you. Every individual influencer has trust with their audience. The value of the influencer is in access to that trusted audience. Essentially, you’re paying for secondhand trust through an influencer platform, with the hope that trust ultimately translates into sales. The problem is, trust isn’t measurable. So the next-best alternative is measuring metrics that indicate how much their audience trusts them. We can do that by using KPIs like the number of email subscribers and social media followers.
The KPIs you Should Track According to Your Campaign Goals
There are different KPIs you can use to get a better understanding of your influencer marketing ROI based on the campaign goal you’ve set. Whatever your goal is, make sure to benchmark the current standing for your KPIs to track the change from the start to the end of the campaign.
Here are some common goals and how to track KPIs for each of them, along with useful influencer marketing strategy ideas.
Audience building is a top-of-funnel goal. It’s useful if you’re looking to increase social media followers and email subscribers.
KPIs to track: Number of subscribers, social media followers
How to track them: Depending on the platform you’re using for this influencer marketing campaign, you can do this by covering how many email subscribers you have, and even specific social network KPIs such as Facebook likes, Instagram followers, LinkedIn shares, and YouTube subscribers.
Potential marketing strategies: Contests and giveaways, discount codes, promo codes
Brand awareness is another top-of-funnel goal. Set this goal if you’re looking for more people to become familiar with your brand from a general perspective.
KPIs to track: Pageviews, impressions, social media followers, social media mentions
How to track them: Pageviews for the specific page that the influencer campaign is directing traffic toward can be found in Google Analytics. Impressions are found on the platform (e.g., YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) on which you are conducting your campaign, in the page insights section of each.
One of the easiest ways to measure and potentially increase brand awareness is by using a social listening tool like Awario, Brandwatch, or Mention. These social listening tools can help you track mentions and engagement that your company is receiving on social media.
Alexa Rank is also useful in helping you measure brand awareness. The higher your Alexa Rank, the more popular your website. Your ranking can also give you a sense of how well you’re doing next to competitors in terms of website traffic and visitor engagement.
Potential marketing strategies: Brand ambassadors, influencer takeover, sponsored posts
Engagement is a great top-of-funnel goal that is ideal if you want more people to interact with your company online.
KPIs to track: Shares, likes, comments, engagement rate, engagement rate per article
How to track them: Every social media platform has a built-in analytics dashboard. This allows you to track growth for all posts you make on your own social media pages. For example, head to Facebook Insights to understand the engagement for your page as a whole and for recent posts. You’ll be able to see an engagement breakdown for each post that will detail the number of shares, likes, comments, photo views, and link clicks.
If an influencer posts on their own page, however, you won’t have access to those analytics. It’s best practice to ask your influencer to submit a recurring report that outlines all these KPIs and how they’re performing.
Alexa’s Content Exploration tool allows you to input a website and see how much engagement the content on that site has received across Twitter and Reddit. While social media platform analytics tools only show engagement on social media posts, the Content Exploration tool actually aggregates the total shares and engagement URLs on a website. This can be useful in analyzing average engagement per article posted on your website, or a competing site.
Potential marketing strategies: Brand ambassadors, influencer takeover, co-creating content, sponsored content
Lead generation is a middle-of-funnel goal designed to help your company get more people to sign up for lead magnets (white papers, ebooks, email newsletters) or any additional offers in exchange for their email address.
KPIs to track: Number of sign-ups, number of email subscribers
How to track them: The most popular method is to utilize a CRM (HubSpot, Salesforce), which will have audience lists that show where that lead originated. CRMs can also track how the lead landed on your website, whether from a Google search or an Instagram ad, so you can understand which traffic sources are most beneficial in converting leads.
If you’re looking for email sign-ups specifically, you can also use an email marketing software to track this information. After a user submits their email address, they will be added to a list within the platform (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.). This doesn’t give you insight into the customer journey in the same way as a CRM, but it does allow you to track the data for the number of leads.
Potential marketing strategies: Guest posting, sponsored content, co-creating content
This top-of-funnel goal helps your company get more links back to your website to improve SEO health and content reach.
KPIs to track: Number of backlinks
How to track them: Use Alexa to benchmark the number of backlinks your website had before your influencer marketing campaign began, and compare the number once the campaign has been completed. Also, always note the source of where these backlinks are coming from to see whether it’s a source aligned with your target audience. If you can work with influencers that lead to securing backlinks from websites with strong domain authority, these will be valuable in strengthening your SEO health because they have more credibility in Google’s algorithm.
Potential marketing strategies: Guest posting, sponsored content, co-creating content
This is the ultimate bottom-of-funnel goal. Ideally, a completed sale is what you want from every user that engages with your company.
KPIs to track: Sales conversion rate, number of sales
How to track them: You can track your sales conversion rate and the number of sales in Google Analytics if you set up ecommerce tracking.
An easier method, however, is using an ecommerce platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, Salesforce, or HubSpot. These platforms automatically track your sales conversion rate and number of sales, metrics that are stored within the platform dashboard. This makes it easy to create custom reports that analyze sales performance across different periods to help you understand your sales patterns.
Potential marketing strategies: A limited-time-only sale (Black Friday, clearance, etc.)
Refine your Influencer Marketing Efforts
You can’t count on one influencer’s post and a couple of tweets with great hashtags to get you the influencer marketing ROI you’re looking for. Like any great marketing strategy, you need to dig into the stats and data to really know if an influencer marketing campaign, which always starts with a higher-level goal, is paying dividends for your business.
No matter what kind of influencer marketing budget you have, Alexa’s Content Exploration tool is a useful tool in determining topics and websites with high engagement on social media, so you can determine what content to create next or what websites and influencers to partner with. Try it free with our free 14-day trial of the Advanced Plan.