As beauty brands continue to invest time and resources into influencer marketing, it becomes increasingly important to have the tools in place to make sure that those investments are driving real business impact. At this point, most brands have some sort of framework in place to measure the outcome of their influencer efforts, but how many are actually looking at ways to evolve their process?
I was recently invited to present at the 2018 WWD Digital Beauty Forum and I used this opportunity to talk about the next chapter in influencer marketing measurement. Today’s smartest marketers aren’t waiting until the end of a campaign to prove success. Instead, they’re focusing on how they can make smarter decisions at every touchpoint to ensure that they’re reaching their target audience in a creative and authentic way.
That’s where data can help. I approached my presentation by focusing on the way data can help answer three of the questions I hear most often from marketers.
1. How do I know if I’m choosing the right influencers?
The key to successful influencer selection is to study the ability of an influencer to impact your target audience. You want to make sure that they are connecting with people who will be interested in your brand/product and, more importantly, have the potential to become a customer. You wouldn’t spend time promoting your brand in a country where your products aren’t sold, for example, would you? It’s important to understand the demographics and passiongraphics of a potential influencer’s audience before you invest your time and resources in building a relationship.
2. How do I negotiate influencer compensation? Should I even be paying influencers?
Once you’ve identified the right group of influencers, the topic of compensation is bound to come up. Paying an influencer can be quite the taboo subject. How authentic can a partnership be when there is money changing hands?
But influencers are people too and need a way to make a living. If there wasn’t any talent or time spent involved in becoming an influencer, we would all be doing it! (I would do it for the PR boxes alone.)
But building and maintaining an audience is hard work. Only about 5% of all influencers will grow their audience substantially in a year and almost 10% will lose followers.
What sort of implications does that have for a brand when it comes to compensation? That they need to be mindful of the fact that influencers work hard to create content and connect with an increasingly savvy audience. Approaching a partnership as a simple transaction can hurt an influencer’s credibility. At the same time, asking influencers to spend their time to come up with thoughtful and creative ways to engage them is a skill and that shouldn’t be ignored. The moral of the story here is simple: approach them as partners. Acknowledge that they are a good fit because you’ve done your research and not just because they have millions of followers. And negotiate a partnership deal that focuses on authenticity, creativity and mutual benefit.
3. How do I measure the impact of influencer marketing?
As of today, it is still a challenge to track the consumer journey from an influencer touchpoint to a sale. While there is still no perfect formula to quantify ROI, that doesn’t mean your influencer marketing efforts shouldn’t be measured.
Here are a few tips to establish a measurement framework to help you understand the effectiveness of your program:
- Define KPIs that drive improvement in your team. Don’t chase vanity metrics, like EMV, that fail to provide insights that help you perform better. Work backwards from business goals to define specific inputs and outputs that will drive measurable outcomes.
- Measure consistently and adapt your program. Create a dashboard where your team can monitor the success of your campaigns in real time to understand what is working and what needs to be changed.
- Monitor your competitors. Keep track of what your competitors are doing with their marketing programs. In doing so, you will maintain a clear picture of industry trends and learn from their successes.
- Work smarter not harder. You don’t need to work with every influencer in your space. Working with a select group of influencers who are well-aligned with your brand ethos and audience will ensure you are making an impact with your target audience.
To wrap up, I leave you with one final thought to tie everything together: marketers who focus on evolving their approach to influencer partnerships, have a data-driven approach to making decisions and work smarter with resources will be the ones who continue to see the most success with influencer marketing in 2018 and beyond.
For a more in-depth look at any of these topics, download our report, Global Influencer Marketing: Insights from Beauty.