A Framework for Measuring Influencer Marketing Success

Justin Dorfman
September 22, 2015
How to

Influencer marketing has reached the big time. Global organizations are making significant investments in developing always-on influencer programs and the visibility of these programs has climbed all the way up the ladder to the CMO.

As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”. As companies invest more money and resources in their influencer practices, there is increased pressure on marketers to be properly measuring influencer marketing success.

Though influencer program measurement is clearly top of mind, it’s also clear that many are unsure of what to measure and how to go about it. In fact, it’s by far the number one question I get on a daily basis.

At Traackr, we’re fortunate enough to work with amazing companies that are defining the practice of influencer marketing - including program measurement. As such, I thought I’d share a framework for measurement based on best practices we’re seeing among our customers.

Before we dive in, I do want to mention that most of what I’ll be sharing is based on my personal experience working with Enterprise B2B Technology companies. As such, it’d probably be worthwhile for us to do a follow-up post that touches on what we’re seeing among our B2C customers. That said, although the specific metrics being measured may differ from business to business, the framework itself should prove useful to all as it can be applied to any type of organization.

Campaign-level and Program-level Measurement

In the early days of influencer marketing, many brands took a very campaign-centric approach to the practice. It was all about finding and reaching out to the influencers that could help promote a new product launch or an upcoming initiative.

The results, however, from this approach were wildly disappointing. Influencers didn’t respond well to “cold outreach” and response/participation rates were extremely low. Even the influencers that did agree to participate would at most provide a spike in activity at the time of the campaign, followed by a dramatic fall. Impact wasn’t sustainable.

As the practice evolved, it became clear that the path to success and sustainable impact is through an always-on, relationship-centric approach. The key is to build relationships with your influencers over time and to ultimately convert them into advocates for your brand.

With that said, short-term campaigns are still relevant, however, rather than being the be-all-end-all of influencer marketing, today campaigns are seen as strategic touch-points for further developing relationships with key influencers.

When it comes to measurement, we see our customers analyzing and reporting success for both short-term campaigns as well as their overall, long-term influencer program.

As we walk through the following framework, we’ll look at what our customers are measuring from both a campaign-level and overall program-level. Additionally, we’ll also touch on how they are measuring these metrics.

Outputs, Outcomes, and Business Results

When it comes to “what to measure”, we really see three levels of impact that are being measured by our customers – Outputs, Outcomes, and Business Results. These levels are part of the Barcelona Principles and, in this case, are being applied specifically to the practice of influencer marketing.

Outputs - Impact on influencers

 Output metrics help you measure the success you’re having in gaining awareness and developing relationships with your target influencers. Some key metrics include:

Campaign-level
  • Influencer mentions of a campaign
  • Influencer shares of campaign-related assets (content, unique URLs, codes, etc.)
Program-level
  • Brand mentions from target influencers
  • Engagement from target influencers
  • Share-of-Voice among target influencers
  • Relationship building progress among target influencers

Our customers are able to measure output metrics using the analytics reports in the Traackr platform, specifically the Brand Mentions report, the Keyword report, the Shares report, and the Relationship Funnel.

Outcomes – Impact on target audience

Outcome metrics help you measure the impact your success with influencers is having in generating awareness and recognition among your broader target audience. Some key metrics include:

Campaign-level
  • Overall mentions of a campaign
  • Overall shares of campaign-related assets (content, unique URLs, codes, etc.)
  • Influencer-driven referral traffic to campaign web sites and landing pages
Program-level
  • Overall brand mentions
  • Overall Share-of-Voice
  • Social following
  • Overall influencer-driven referral traffic

For measuring outcome metrics, our customers use reports from Social Media Monitoring tools, Social Media Management tools, and Web Analytics tools.

In some cases one can easily connect the dots between outputs and outcomes, for example tracking influencer-driven referral traffic from unique URLs provided to influencers.

In other cases, however, the connection is not so clear and one has to rely on analyzing trends. For example, many of our customers analyze the impact increased brand mentions from target influencers has on overall brand mentions by mapping Traackr’s influencer-focused Brand Mentions report to the general Brand Mentions reports provided by Social Media Monitoring tools.

Business Results – Impact on the organization

Business Results focus on measuring the impact on the organization as it relates to key business metrics. Some examples include:

Campaign-level
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) generated from an influencer campaign
  • Opportunities created from an influencer campaign
  • Revenue generated from an influencer campaign
Program-level
  • Overall MQLs generated from your influencer program
  • Overall opportunities created from your influencer program
  • Overall revenue generated from your influencer program

Our customers measure Business Results using Marketing Automation tools and CRMs.

If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It

Being able to measure and demonstrate the success of your influencer marketing practice is critical for optimizing your strategy for maximum impact and gaining the executive buy-in needed to scale your program to the next level.

For those at the beginning of this journey, I hope this framework helps you to hit the ground running. For those a little further along, what are your key success metrics and how are you measuring them?

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