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Strategy

4 Key Metrics for Measuring Influencer Performance

Influencer marketing is highly popular and successful. It's definitely worth the buck, but how can you tell if your influencer is actually powerful?

Sarah Pritzker
April 21 2018

It’s well known that personal reviews and recommendations from trusted sources carry far more weight with potential customers than other forms of marketing, and this is where influencer marketing steps in. Influencer marketing is already a highly popular and very effective approach. 81% of brands that have used influencer marketing said it was successful. However, before you can hire an influencer or approach a company that specializes in influencer marketing, you need to know which metrics to consult both when choosing an influencer and in assessing the success of your campaign.

As with every marketing campaign, the most important metrics will vary depending on your goal. First and foremost, you need to define your campaign goals. These could be to increase website traffic by a certain percentage, to expand brand awareness on social media by a certain number within a particular timeframe, to raise the number of referral visitors from a given social media platform, or other similar goals. As always, your campaign goals need to be measurable, achievable, and time-delineated. Once you know your goals, you can decide which metrics stand out as the most important. For example, a campaign to increase revenue will use different metrics to measure income to those used for a campaign aimed to raise brand awareness.

Here are the four metrics that matter the most when hiring an influencer and running influencer marketing campaigns.

#1 Relevance

The first thing to check is that the influencer you’re working with is fully relevant to your brand. This is a task that applies both before and during the campaign, and after as you track its success. To find a truly relevant influencer, build a solid list of keywords and search terms that relate to your product or service. Based on this list you can use one of the many social media tools that pull together references and hashtags from Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. You’ll soon be able to see which users wield these terms the most often and then locate the ones with the biggest reach and engagement (more on that shortly).

As the campaign progresses it’s important to keep reassessing for relevance. Google Analytics allows marketers to track target audience growth to peer into the demographics, interests, and location of connections made by your influencer. You might discover that your influencer’s biggest impact is on people who are not at all within your target market and that your marketing efforts are going astray. Using Google Analytics metrics to measure relevance is important for every type of marketing campaign.

#2 Activity

An influencer’s sphere of activity is another important aspect to consider. Which channels is your influencer most active on? And are those the channels that are the most relevant to your brand? For example, if you’re appealing to a young market, you need an influencer with a strong following on Snapchat, while an older demographic is to be found more on Facebook. How often your influencer posts and when they do so are also important. You’ll want to correlate their social media efforts with your own so as to increase retention and drive new engagement, so it helps if your active times more or less coincide.

#3 Reach

If you’re running a campaign to boost brand awareness, then your influencer’s reach is going to be critical. You can measure their reach through their number of followers, which is easily found on their public profile, but deeper insights can only be found by getting access to their social media network analytics. When assessing reach, you’ll want to look not just at their potential reach but their actual reach. Potential reach is essentially the number of connections they have across their networks, but their actual reach shows how many impressions they achieve and the volume of referral traffic they drive. There are a number of free tools that measure social media metrics including impressions and referrals, which you’ll need to track the progress of a brand awareness campaign. To measure a brand awareness campaign, you’ll also want to follow the frequency of brand mentions across social media by comparing mentions in a month before the campaign begins to the volume of mentions a few months after it’s in action. Other specific social media tools can measure customer feeling towards your brand as well as brand mentions.

#4 Impact/Engagement

Impact, or engagement, reveals how effective your influencer is at actually driving customer behavior. You want to find an influencer with high quality social media interactions and a following that responds to what they share. This goes beyond impressions and reach to measure an influencer’s real influence. If you’re interested in increasing web traffic or email signups, then an influencer with a smaller reach but greater impact could be more appropriate than one with a larger reach. Compare your influencer’s average engagement rate with the engagement rate of specific posts to check whether they are a good fit for your brand.

Impact measures how many times the influencer’s posts are liked, shared, or spark responses. Google Analytics and social media tools both give the ability to drill down to track the click-through rate and conversions as well as Facebook reactions, comments, and shares. Affiliate links, UTM codes, and promo codes are also valuable ways to measure successful brand engagement, revenue, and downloads through click-throughs, time on site, sessions, page views, and conversions. A campaign to acquire more signups to your email list will do best consulting your CRM analytics.

While these metrics are important in measuring retention and effectiveness of influencer marketing, social media growth can be difficult to truly quantify. Sometimes you might need to also use manual reporting methods such as actively visiting the influencer’s social media channels and viewing the effect of their posts.

Which metrics matter most to you? Let us know in the comments box below.

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Sarah Pritzker

Sarah Pritzker is a marketing pro, always paying attention to -- and then writing about -- the latest marketing strategy trends. Then again, she also loves writing about finance, genealogy, and graduate school admissions. And then there's diamonds, travel, and healthcare management. Oh, and fitness. And food. You get the idea.

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