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Marketing | Jan 21
Jessica Malnik on September 28, 2020 (last modified on November 2, 2020) • 18 minute read
Did you know that for every $1 a brand spends on influencer marketing, they make and average of $5.78?
Influencer marketing can be one of the most cost-effective marketing channels, especially for visually appealing products that skew towards a younger audience.
However, we’re still in the Wild West days of influencer marketing, and this means that many brands are trying to figure out the best ways to measure these campaigns.
In this post, we’re deep-diving into influencer marketing campaign tracking. You will learn the following:
Influencer marketing can be an effective way to get the word out about your products and services since you are leveraging the trust, attention, and relationships that a particular influencer has with their fans.
While influencer marketing campaigns can happen across any social media channel, email, blogs, or podcasts, influencer marketing is the most prominent on Instagram and TikTok.
For example, if you just launched a brand new skincare line, you might want to team up with a handful of beauty Instagram influencers.
One of the biggest misconceptions around influencer marketing is that the bigger the fanbase, the more reach and engagement the campaign will have.
However, the opposite is actually the case.
While it might be cool to get Beyonce, Cardi B, or the Rock to post a photo of your new product on their Instagram account, it is going to cost you a ton of money, and the engagement levels will likely be less than 1% of their fanbase.
On the other hand, your marketing budget will go a lot further if you run campaigns with micro-influencers – i.e anyone with between 10,000 – 1M followers. You’ll also likely see higher engagement rates than working with a celebrity. In fact, the average engagement rate for micro-influencers is between 1.7% – 4%.
This makes sense if you think about it.
A micro-influencer is likely still posting, reading, and replying to all of their comments and DMs themselves. They are more accessible and engaged with their fan base.
Even if they wanted to, a celebrity influencer with over 10 million followers on Instagram can’t possibly keep up with all the comments and replies they get.
Editor’s Note: Engagement rates can vary by industry. One of the best ways to get a good barometer of Instagram engagement rates for your industry is to start with your own Instagram account. Use this free Instagram dashboard to get insights about your overall account health and performance.
Tracking your influencer marketing campaigns will revolve around your campaign’s goal.
“Link influencer marketing campaigns to bigger goals within your company,” says Ana Cvetkovic of BLOOM Digital Marketing. “If you want to raise brand awareness, for example, you should track metrics like social media reach and impressions on the influencer’s branded post, and compare it to the performance of posts on your social media channels.
“If you want to increase sales, give the influencer a unique discount code or link to share with their audience and see how many sales that partnership generates.”
Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing adds, “For B2B influencer marketing campaigns that involve longer sales cycles and that require influencers with substantial credentials, measurement starts with goal alignment.”
“With the pandemic forcing much of B2B marketing online, content collaboration with influencers published on brand channels is the most common format.”
“Whether the campaign is intended to launch a product, drive traffic to a report download followed by nurture emails or to drive micro-conversions like demos, trials, or requests for consultation, all influencer co-created content is tracked through UTM codes in URLs.”
“Overall campaign tracking follows content marketing measurement best practices in terms of KPIs for attracting, engaging, and converting an audience. Influencers are provided with unique tracking URLs which enable analytics on social shares, share reach, share engagement as well as referrals to landing pages and conversions.”
“Influencer Marketing Platforms like Traackr provides additional metrics that show comparisons between benchmarks and increases in share of conversation, brand mentions, specific URLs shared and engaged and metrics specific to performance on the top social networks.”
Once you know how your influencer marketing campaign relates to strategic business initiatives, it becomes easier to reverse engineer a campaign objective and KPIs.
“We track influencer marketing campaigns based on the specific campaign objective,” says David Azar of Outsmart Labs. “Whether it’s a traffic, engagement, brand awareness, or conversions campaign, we track the most relevant KPIs that will let us measure how well the campaign is performing.”
“Prior to beginning the tracking process, we make note of all existing data to then measure the change in KPIs that can be attributed to the campaign itself once we launch.”
“The most important KPIs we look at include reach, impressions, engagement, follower growth, link clicks, traffic, conversions, page visits, signups, and app downloads.”
“Again, depending on the objective, we track these with different tools such as bit.ly, Facebook/Instagram/TikTok Insights, retargeting pixels, tracking URLs, etc. Once the campaign is over, we gather all the data, analyze our results, and present the report to the client.”
And, Sandra Chung of Mention adds, “We start by looking at the goal of our campaign: brand awareness, content engagement, or conversion. From there we form our campaign KPIs:
For example, Kimberly Smith of Clarify Capital says, “The two things we look at for influencer marketing campaigns are engagement and lead generation. We work with influencers that already have a following that’s consistent with our brand. The goal of a campaign is to leverage the influencer for access to their niche audience. We want to encourage their audience to engage with and develop an interest in our products.”
“When an influencer posts a sponsored ad and the content generates 60% of the influencer’s average per-post comments and likes, we consider this to be on par with expectations and generally, a success.”
“Lead generation can be more difficult to track when the influencer isn’t using any affiliate links, but we typically like to see some sort of tangible metric spike.”
“That spike might look like an increase in website traffic, or more sales on our promoted product, for example. We establish which metrics we’re targeting before selecting an influencer to work with, which helps us find the right fit and quantify campaign effectiveness with greater objectivity.”
Adam Rowles of Inbound Marketing Agency adds, “Influencer marketing campaigns can make a huge difference but it is difficult to find out how it has performed as compared to the previous campaigns. So here is a stepwise process to create and track marketing campaigns:
Make a list of goals that you wish to achieve through the influencer campaign. It will also help you decide which influencers do you need to connect with.
Avoid listing down common goals like increasing brand awareness, increasing sales, etc. These things are quite general. Go in detail, for example, mention that your brand should reach at least 10k people.
Once you complete this step, you will know whom to hire and would also be able to convey your expectations. Decide the budget and begin the campaign!
While the campaign is going on, list down your expectations from the influencers as per their reach.
For example, influencer A will reach 7k people while influencer B will reach 10k people. Mind well, for the influencer, the target could be 15k even if you know that his/her capacity is only up to 7k.
In this step, you will find out the tentative returns from your campaigns. And you will come to know if your investment is worth it or not!
There are many influencer campaign tracking tools available in the market. Choose one that suits you and begin tracking. Measure the performance and compare it with your expectations.
Document everything, for example, engagement rates for each post, etc. Implement tracking techniques like unique URLs for each influencer, to individually track the traffic coming through each of them.
If there is a cluster of influencers, you may track them according to their individual and group performance. So in the future, you come to know which ones are effective and worth hiring.
Once you have the results, compare them in terms of performance and their rates. Find out how much you are earning through their campaigns. For example, campaign A leads to X amount of sales.
So this is how we track and analyze influencer campaigns.”
“Influencer campaigns can help drive traffic to your website,” says Eliza Nimmich of Tutor The People. “This boost in traffic can help you ramp up your sales and lead generation. While monitoring the amount of clicks on the website connection and measuring the click-through-rate is important, the increase of website traffic also needs to be accounted for.”
“But why, then? Because the link clicks may not always convert to traffic on websites. Any of the people who have clicked on the links may bounce away until you launch your account. This maybe explains why approximately 40 percent of companies monitor website traffic to assess influencer marketing effectiveness.”
For example, Junaid Ahmed of LambdaTest Inc says, “At LambdaTest we have been driving a considerable amount of traffic from influencer marketing.”
“We work with a number of influencers in the web testing domain and we measure the success and failure of a campaign by studying the following matrics:
“Most commonly, I use this line in Google Analytics: Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals,” says Walter Wertz of JungleTopp. “The referrals page will tell me exactly where the traffic is coming from. If I use any other call to action, I will track that as well. It honestly all depends on what I am using the Influencer to do.”
Editor’s Note: Check out this free Referral Overview Dashboard, which shows the sites that drive the most traffic to your website.
”Track conversions,” says Catriona Jasica of Top Vouchers Code. “Track sales before, during, and after the campaign.”
Chris Stanislawek of Conversioncode says, “Use dedicated discount coupons. This is the best way to get the real idea of your ROI. You need to compare the cost of acquiring the influencer and the revenue generated from their coupon code, and in results, you will get the bottom line of their impact on your business.”
Stacy Caprio of AcneScar.org agrees, “The easiest way to track and measure influencer marketing campaigns is to create a unique coupon code for every influencer to use and you can look at how many purchases were made by each influencer’s coupon code to track how effective each influencer’s campaign was every month.”
Kristina Nolan of DMi Partners adds, “As far as tracking, we tend to prefer unique and exclusive codes. We use industry-leading affiliate networks that have tracking systems in place that give our brands insight into code redemptions and usage.
“These tracking networks also have the ability to force exclusivity on the codes, so if a coupon aggregator or another influencer picks the code up the sales will not be attributed to them.”
“As far as measuring success, our brands have different goals as it relates to influencer initiatives with the biggest emphasis being on sales. We measure likes and comments, as well as the downstream effect of posts (such as if it led to engagement on the brand’s site or social pages) but the most impactful metric we’re looking to influence is sales.”
“There are numerous ways to track influencer marketing campaigns, but the most simple would have to be assigning them an affiliate link,” says Zach Passarella of SMP Nutra.
“If you are looking for something different, you can offer a “new” product that only affiliated influencers can share the link to, then you will know however many purchases of that “new” item came right from the influencer(s).”
Sumeet Anand of Unboundb2b adds, “Firstly, start by using trackable links that can give you a clear picture of the performance of your influencer campaign. You should also use a built-in analytics tool to determine the number of new newsletter subscriptions.”
“Your second step should be to measure your metrics aka social media analytics such as engagement and content generation. It will help you track influencer’s sponsored posts and number of likes, comments, and shares.”
“You can provide unique promo codes to your influencers to track your sales when their social media followers use these codes.”
“Your last step is tracking your website analytics. Yes, it is difficult to find out the impact of the influencer campaign on your SEO, but you can use tools like Google Analytics to get a rough idea. It will help you see time spend on site, bounce rate, pages per session, page views, and so much more.”
“You want to have a good tracking system in place by giving the influencers you work with a unique link,” says Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers.
“When working with influencers, create a specific URL for them. You can do that by creating a UTM or by using URL shorteners. This will make it easier for you to track the success of your campaigns.”
Amanda Milovich of Serendipit Consulting adds, “I would always recommend applying as many tracking metrics as possible within the CTAs.”
“This includes UTM codes via email and social, unique tracking phone numbers (we use CallRail), and promo codes for e-commerce. At the very least, you can use Google Analytics to correlate spikes in website visits to the post(s) from the influencer.”
Ed Brancheau of Goozleology says, “I create special freebies or offers for each influencer so that they know I’m not treating them like everyone else. Then I create landing pages for each freebie or an offer with a unique URL. And I know that everyone that lands on that particular page came from that particular influencer. It’s a simple system that works.”
Alessandro D’Andrea of Clickable adds, “I got the chance to monitor an influencer campaign once, together with some Google Ads campaign for a client.”
“The main thing I can suggest is to use and monitor a dedicated landing page for each influencer with a custom promo code.”
“This helps you to easily monitor the influencer performance in terms of sales or leads.”
“In case of leads, you don’t even need a promo code. It’s enough of a squeeze page with a unique URL.”
“Doing this, you can understand how much direct results each influencer is bringing to your brand.”
“Last tip: remember to pay attention to the growth of brand keywords as well! Influencer marketing can help your brand awareness, too.”
“We track and measure influencer marketing campaigns through a variety of ways, but the most important metric is qualified leads,” says Jess Guffey of Design Pickle. “As a SaaS company, we realize the purchase might not be immediate once someone sees an influencer post on Instagram.”
“So, we’ve incorporated lead magnets tailored towards the influencer audiences to start the relationship/funnel. Once email addresses are captured, we’re able to measure how many qualified leads we’re seeing, as well as if they end up converting through HubSpot. We can then compare these against metrics set in advance of the campaign to determine success.”
Carissa McCall of Impulse Creative adds, “It’s important to track the volume of leads as they come inbound but it’s equally, if not more important, to use date capture of when they came inbound to the time that they convert (whatever that conversion point is).”
“Having a clear understanding of how many leads that influencer source brings, how many of those leads hit certain conversion points, and ultimately, how long that bake rate is, is critical in determining the success of the campaign. It will also help to provide insights into whether you should put your marketing spend towards that lead source in the future.”
“Because influencer marketing campaigns are mostly a branding exercise, we track and measure impressions, reach and engagement,” says Sanju Ganglani of Gang & Lani Media. “If we were able to reach a significant new audience, and were able to create some conversations, we consider that a success.”
Alex Perkins adds, “Reach is an essential ROI element for any influencer marketing campaign. You certainly want to determine how many people potentially saw your brand. The more reach your influencer marketing campaign has, the more potential sales you can net.”
“To know the influencer reach, you should know the number of followers he/she has; the impression, which is the number of times your brand gets in front of your target audience, and; the traffic data, which is the amount of traffic an influencer is driving to your site. You can use tools online that read social metrics.”
“In this process, you can measure not only the number of engagements but also the cost per engagement (CPE). Influencer engagement essentially indicates the future of your brand loyalty among consumers and is a powerful way your brand can track long-term ROI. To measure it, track the number of clicks, likes, reactions, shares, comments, and mentions.”
“One of the best ways to track influencer marketing campaigns is by monitoring social data,” says Andre Oentoro of Breadnbeyond. “And one of the easiest metrics to track when analyzing social data is engagement.”
“Pay attention to the numbers of likes, comments, shares, and mentions on both the influencer’s post about your brand and your own social accounts.”
“Do audiences like the influencer’s post that shows off your brand? Or do you gain an increase in website traffic or sales directly following their activity?”
For example, Daisy Jing of Banish says, “We keep a sheet of the influencers we work with. Together with their data, link to the post for our company and the number of likes/views, we also check how their followers’ reacted, then we can see if we got a response.”
“We respond to the influencers’ comments and assist his/her followers as well. We also repost the influencers’ content and see how well it will do. At the end of the day, it’s not just about ROI, but valuing the additional followers, the input we receive, and data we can gather from a certain campaign.”
“We use two apps to measure influencer marketing campaigns,” says Paul Burke of Sidekick Digital Media. “One is Bit.ly. It tracks clicks and the source of those clicks. Gives us an idea of the general reach of an influencer campaign.”
“The other is a Shopify app called GoAffPro. It tracks revenue from links that we give our influencers to put in their videos and elsewhere. Tracking revenue from a link is the best measure, we’ve found, to determine the success or failure of an influencer campaign.”
Jack Choros of Iron Monk adds, “Upfluence is one of my favorite influencer marketing tracking tools that offer some free features you can use to track metrics like impressions, shares, and likes. It also allows you to discover the kinds of influencers you’d like to work with. It’s like having a database and a tracking tool all-in-one solution.”
In sum, the metrics you use to measure your influencer marketing campaign will depend on your specific business goals. Once you determine your influencer marketing strategy, identify your desired goals and outcomes, you can choose and track the influencer marketing metrics that matter the most for your business.
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