Quantitative Ways to Track Results from Influencer Engagement
Influencer engagement – everybody’s doing it. Why? Because it works. According to a study of 600 professionals, 81% of marketers who’d tried influencer engagement said that it was effective, and it’s hard to argue with a statistic like that. Still, the question remains, how do they know it’s effective? Is it just a gut feeling, or are these opinions being based on hard facts?
Too often, brands will test the influencer engagement waters with a handful of blogger reviews, and then decide it was all a waste of money when they don’t see an immediate flood of users clicking through and placing an order. Of course, that can happen when you pair up with the right influencer, but a lack of direct referral sales doesn’t mean your campaign was a failure – or that it won’t result in new customers.
Direct conversions from influencer-created content is only one small piece of the measurement puzzle. For example, what if a person saw their favourite influencer tweet about your product but instead of clicking the link they’d posted, Googled you and got to your website to place an order that way? What if they were strapped for cash at the time but remembered your brand, and bought something a few months later? Or what if they told a friend about you, and that person made a purchase? In all of these cases, although no order was placed there and then, a transaction did eventually take place and it was still thanks to your influencer campaign.
It’s also important to note that sometimes an influencer campaign isn’t about making sales in the short term (even if that’s bigger-picture goal). Your aim may be to increase brand awareness, to increase the reach of a particular PR campaign, to improve public opinions of your brand, or any other number of things. Below are 6 concrete ways you can measure the success of your influencer engagement campaigns, besides looking at direct conversions.
Remember that time when most advertising was done through newspapers and magazines? With no online metrics to track, a common way of measuring ad penetration was attaching a coupon the user could cut out and use. Adapting this method for the digital era takes little imagination – giving influencers a discount code to promote not only incentivises their followers to place an order, it also allows you to track which sales came from which influencer if you create a unique code for each of them.
Brick-and-mortar retailers can even get in on the action too with printable / show-on-your-phone voucher images or QR codes for influencers to share.
“Where did you hear about us?” is a common checkout field on ecommerce sites, and if you’re running influencer campaigns, you can make this field required to gather some useful data. If you’re working with a large number of influencers it may not make sense to list them all individually, but for example if you are running a vlogger campaign, add ‘YouTube’ as an option and record how many customers select this.
Ask the influencers, too
Whilst bloggers are unlikely to give you access to their Google Analytics accounts, they may be happy to provide some screenshots or statistics if you request them. This is the most accurate way to find out exactly how many people looked at the blog post about your brand, how long they spent reading it, and things about them such as their age, gender and location so that you can be certain you’re reaching the audience you intended to reach with the campaign.
The same goes for social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest all provide reach and engagement analytics.
Giveaways and lead generation
Incentivise the influencer’s followers to subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on social media by entering them into a prize draw. There are popular platforms allowing users to create a giveaway entry form that can be easily embedded into a blog post or linked to on social media, which captures all of the data for you. Work out a set of entry options with the influencer, such as following your brand on Pinterest, and either set up the form yourself or ask the influencer to do it and then send you the spreadsheet of results once the giveaway is over.
With email address capture in particular, you can check these against your customer database periodically to see how many eventually placed an order.
Influencer content on Instagram is notoriously difficult to track since the site doesn’t allow links in updates, only the one link on your profile. Ask your influencers to tag you in their description, and if a follower is interested in what they see they may click through to your profile, and then on to your website from there.
When we ran a campaign for Cosywool, we noticed a significant spike in their Instagram referral traffic the same day that one particular influencer showed off their yarn package on Instagram. Match up your daily Instagram referrals with the dates each piece of content when live, and check for similar peaks.
Track social engagement and sentiment
There are various software packages out there that will allow you to track the number of engagements with your brand on social media, and some even let you know how many of these interactions are positive vs. negative.
Again, match this data up with the campaign dates and look for patterns. Is sentiment notably more positive post-campaign? Have tweets to or about your brand doubled? Has there been a flood of new followers? During our campaign for I Car Hire Insurance, where we partnered with 3 bloggers to run giveaways, Twitter followers for the brand increased 73%!
Remember that many of the above metrics are things that you should be tracking in the medium to long term too, for a true picture of how your influencer campaign has influenced your brand.
Blogs and vlogs can continue to get hits, and send traffic your way, long after the campaign has ended. For some people, the campaign will serve as an introduction to your brand but they won’t become a paying customer until some weeks or months later. And if you’re running a blogger engagement campaign for the SEO benefit, it can take some time for Google to index those links, meaning you may have to wait a little while to see the impact on your rankings and organic traffic.
Are there any other ways that you measure your influencer marketing efforts? If this all sounds like a lot of effort and you’d rather get someone else to handle running and reporting on your campaign, feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation quote!