Calculating return on investment (ROI) on a marketing campaign can be challenging. This is especially true of an evolving industry like influencer marketing, in which the platforms, rules, and expectations are still settling. According to a study by Influencer Intelligence, 84 percent of marketers agree that “being able to demonstrate the ROI of influencer marketing will be critical to its future.”
That being said, it’s no secret that budgets for influencer campaigns are growing, a reflection of its continued success. Marketers have found ways to measure their campaigns to justify their increasing spend. However, since no two influencer marketing campaigns look the same, it’s vital for marketing teams to create goals and set benchmarks to measure against. In order to achieve those goals, you have to know how to measure them.
We cover six of the most common influencer marketing metrics that marketers use to optimize campaigns and report their success, including:
- Engagement/Engagement Rate
- Earned Media Value (EMV)
- Conversions and Sales
- Sentiment Analysis
Reach and impressions
One of the simplest ways to measure an influencer campaign is to measure how many people saw a post. Reach has two meanings: in one sense, it’s the total number of followers an influencer has that can possibly be reached. In another, it’s the total amount of unique accounts that viewed a post. For campaign measurement, it’s more commonly referred to in the latter sense. The former is more useful in determining which influencers to work with.
Impressions (also called “views”) are the total number of views a post received, which includes repeat views. What counts as a view is considered differently on each social media platform.
Engagements and engagement rate
Engagements are defined as any interaction a follower has with an influencer’s content. That includes likes, comments, shares, and retweets. Engagements, and their relative value, vary from platform to platform.
Engagement rate represents the number of engagements on a post relative to the number of impressions. In other words, of all the people who saw a post, the engagement rate shows how many interacted with it. Engagement rate is often the crown jewel measurement for social media marketing, as it shows many people went out of their way to interact with branded content. However, it doesn’t take into account audience sentiment or resonance.
Earned media value (EMV)
Engagement rates are so important to social media marketers because they’re one of the simplest ways to measure a campaign’s impact. Earned media value takes this a step further by assigning a dollar value to every type of engagement. Created by Ayzenberg, EMV is calculated by totaling the monetary value of each engagement to represent a campaign’s achievement.
EMV considers the difference between a like, comment, and share, and gives more context to engagement rates. In the case of influencer marketing, EMV can show the resonance of an influencer’s posts and the word-of-mouth impact of a campaign.
Conversions and sales
Conversions are the number of activities (often sales) that can be attributed to an influencer’s content. Depending on your goals, this can include the aforementioned sales, website visits, content downloads, or any other unique activity. Many brands use trackable links to achieve this.
If your goal is to increase sales, there are a few common ways to measure it: you can provide an influencer a unique, trackable link, or provide them with a unique discount code for checkout. This allows you to attribute at the campaign and influencer level.
Sentiment analysis is a sophisticated form of textual analysis that – in the context of social media – processes the language of comments and replies to understand their attitude or disposition. It can be done through data science, in conjunction with AI, or with a social listening tool.
Engagement rates, EMV, and conversions only tell part of the story. It’s one thing for someone to interact with your content, but another thing entirely for them to like it. A post could theoretically have thousands of comments or replies, and they could all be negative, and a marketer would be none the wiser looking at engagement rates alone. Sentiment analysis enables marketers to look beyond the comments and identify how a campaign is perceived.
Tying it all together
Influencer marketing is versatile and diverse – marketers can use it to achieve a wide variety of objectives that can all be measured in different ways. What matters most is that you choose the set of variables most important to your campaign that reflect success in the way you envision it.
When you set your goals, use that as an opportunity to establish benchmarks and determine KPIs. Whether it’s the measures we described above or something else entirely, have a clear line of sight of your end goals – and how you’ll measure goal attainment – before you get started.
To learn more about how influencer marketing campaigns are measured, be sure to download our ebook.