Influencer marketing has become a key strategy in a marketer's digital media plans. As spending continues to grow, so does the responsibility to measure and attribute to marketing KPIs. With every layer of a media plan under scrutiny, marketers are challenged with proving ROI with each element, including influencers. Proof at the campaign level isn't enough.
So, how do marketers connect influencer activity with offline impact? Currently, the majority of marketers use metrics like engagement data, increased social traffic, or reach/follower count to measure the success of their influencer campaigns. And while there is merit in those metrics, they aren't the best indicator of success in a program and don't provide a true ROI/ROAS for influencer activations.
A successful influencer marketing campaign isn't just about measuring sales lift. A variety of factors ultimately impact the success of your campaign. A successful, measurable, impactful influencer program is all about the process: research and planning, influencer selection, activation and optimization, and measurement. Each of these four steps have an impact on the success of your campaign.
Research and Planning
Use data to uncover information like shopper behavior, category trends, and audience demographics prior to selecting influencers and kicking off your campaign. The right data can inform everything from "what type of content should we create?" to "who should we target with this message?" or "how can we maximize our impact by aligning to purchase behavior?" Creating a campaign that is built and designed by data is the first step to a successful program.
Selecting the right influencer is often one of the most complex pieces of campaign planning, but it doesn't have to be! Marketers usually struggle with determining which information is most valuable for influencer selection, or they lack access to important influencer data like impressions per post, audience legitimacy, and brand affinity. Surface level data like followers, engagements, and content quality will no longer cut it for quality influencer selection. Instead of combing through countless influencer posts, let AI drive your selection.
In our research we found that only 10 to 20 percent of an influencer's followers actually see their content.
In our research using AI-driven selection technology, real influencers, and a client to see who choose the better-performing influencer, we found that influencers selected via AI had a higher brand affinity and higher estimated impressions than influencer selected by the client. We looked at a sample of more than 55,000 posts across Instagram between August 24, 2018 and October 8, 2018 and found that only 10 to 20 percent of an influencer's followers actually see their content. Marketers need to start looking below the surface at data like impressions per post, audience legitimacy, and brand affinity.
Activation and Optimization
Some metrics (engagements, sentiment, etc.) are surrounded with negativity, as marketers assume they're too ambiguous and aren't the best indicator of campaign success. Instead of using vanity metrics to measure the success of your campaign, use this information as a diagnostic tool for real-time campaign optimization to determine which channels, content, or messages resonate most with various audience segments.
The final step to ensure a successful influencer campaign is to define your measurement strategy. Your post-campaign measurement strategy should correlate to your main campaign goal. For example, if your campaign goal was to increase in-store sales, you would want to use a retail sales lift analysis to measure the success of your influencer program.
A common misconception is that influencer marketing can't be measured for actual sales lift, but in 2017, Collective Bias pioneered methodology making it possible to measure in-store lift using test and control methodology by looking at the impact of content exposure on isolated shopper, geographic, and cohort groups. We analyzed 112 influencer campaigns for sales lift — across nine distinct categories — and found those programs had an average of 6.05 percent sales lift (across all retail channels) and a doubled average ROAS.
Remember, influencer marketing isn't just about great content, and it is a measurable strategy. But your toolbox needs to be comprehensive and follow a linear process of research and planning, influencer selection, activation and optimization, and measurement to maximize impact.
Want to learn more?
Are you struggling to prove ROI from your influencer activations? Contact us today!