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Masooma Memon on January 12, 2021 (last modified on April 22, 2021) • 11 minute read
So, you’ve paired up with some influencers or you’ve been doing so for a while now. You have invested a lot of money and you are not sure whether these campaigns really pay off. In other words, you are struggling to calculate the ROI of influencer marketing.
Before you call it quits or end up undecided on whether it’s worth your time and resources, we’ve got the answer for you.
We asked 20 marketing experts about how they measure their influencer marketing ROI. We also inquired about their average ROI from influencer marketing – whether it’s more or less than what they see from other channels. So, we have lots of valuable information packed for you in this post.
Let’s give you an index and dive straight into the details:
The return you get from the amount of resources you invest in influencer marketing is your influencer marketing ROI.
Of course, all the time and resources that you invest have to yield something for you to understand how valuable it is to your marketing.
If you consistently see poor results, it’s safe to say that the ROI is low. On the flip side, a good ROI means your investment and the effort you’re putting in is paying off. This helps you map out the next steps by answering questions like:
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, if you’re doing it right, expect an ROI of $5.78 for every $1 that you spend on influencer marketing as other brands do. Sponsored blog posts, for instance, tend to yield an 11x ROI as compared to banner ads.
The expert respondents that we surveyed agree with this with the majority saying that the ROI of influencer marketing is more than the ROI that they drive from other marketing channels. Only about 15% of the respondents say that the ROI is lower than what they see from other marketing channels.
However, a high influencer marketing ROI doesn’t mean you need to work with tons of influencers. In fact, over 45% of the experts we talked to say that they collaborate with an average of 2-5 influencers.
Translation: you need to work with influencers that have an actual influence on their audience. But how do you tell that? Simple: look at an influencer’s engagement instead of their follower count. And there you have it – the key to success with influencer marketing.
Now, for the juicy part: how to calculate ROI of influencer marketing campaigns. But keep in mind: “The best way to review the performance of your campaign is to wait for a couple of months after its end,” advises Monica Garrett from Margaux Agency.
“This way, you will have a clear picture of exactly how it affected your sales and brand awareness. Once you’ve compared your results to the initial goals you set, you can start tweaking your strategy for your next campaign.”
Let’s now walk you through how to measure your influencer marketing ROI along with two tips to keep in mind as you go about doing the math:
Tip number one, “To measure the accurate ROI, you need to set campaign goals for tracking to ensure the return is adequate for the investment,” Catriona Jasica of Top Vouchers Code says.
“Set clear goals and objectives, establishing goals lets you decide what kind of influencers to work with, distribution platforms, types of content etc,” elaborated Jasica.
Your goal-setting process should also read along the following lines: “If we achieve X, the campaign will be considered a win! It could be sales, brand awareness, gathering emails, to name a few,” notes BarBend’s Max Whiteside.
Whiteside continues, “The biggest mistake I see marketers make is waiting until the data starts coming in (CTR, views, reposts, etc.) and then picking the best data points to present as the ‘success’.
Depending on your ultimate goal you might have multiple wins at different stages of the campaign. For instance, recently I leveraged an influence to help me gather responses to a survey. My ultimate goal is to use the insights we gained through the survey responses to craft an article about what women experience while working out in the gym.
The first success of the campaign was gathering the number of responses we wanted. The next measure of success will ultimately be how well the article is received once published.
Finding small wins within a larger project is a great way to keep my team engaged and the project momentum going!”
Another important tip comes from Dylan Gallagher of White Wolf Tours who shares their experience: “To measure ROI, we make sure to go over the details of deliverables with the Influencer before we offer our tour.
This means instead of just ‘posting to my Instagram,’ we ask for past examples — prior work and references we can call. Then look through their blog/platform and crunch the numbers to make sure everything looks true. The pros will check out, with the fakers usually outed. We had to learn our lesson after being burned a few times.”
Mariana O’Connor from Keyhole shares a simple formula that you can use: “Net Return / Total Investment X 100.”
Here’s how it works: “The total investment includes all the costs associated with working with the influencer (fees, transportation, merchandise, etc.)
The net return can be simple if, for example, your campaign included a referral code it would be easy to have a dollar value for the return.
However, if your goal was impressions or engagement, it is necessary to convert these metrics into a dollar value (e.g. 100,000 impressions bring in an average of $500).”
You can also ask the influencer to share the metrics to get a picture of your influencer marketing ROI.
Dimitris Tsapis of Coara shares how this works for them: “We usually partner up with smaller (micro) influencers that are self-managing their accounts, without using a manager. These accounts, which usually have up to 30.000 followers, usually explore their analytics in terms of engagement to find out how they can grow their account further.
We ask the influencers to send us this information via email, and check with specialized software if their followers are organic. If the data checks out, we roughly estimate that at least 4-5% of the average engagement number of the influencer can lead to product purchases. For example, if a micro-influencer receives 1000 likes for a photo with a product placement we estimate around 40-50 sales.
Of course, to achieve this high conversion rate we do thorough research to find influencers that attract the exact segment of our audience that we wish to sell to.”
Editor’s note: Use this free Google Analytics Referrals Overview Dashboard to track the sources referring traffic your way.
“You have to observe your engagement rate to measure how much influence the campaign actually had on your audience,” advises Sharma Brands’ Nik Sharma.
“This is a simple metric to follow when calculating ROI for influencer programs. The engagement rate will give you insights on what your customers like to see which is utterly invaluable.”
But how do you measure your engagement rate? Good question. Dusan Stanar from SS Monitoring has the answer for you: use engagement tracking tools.
Stanar explains, “There are many social media marketing tools to track engagement rates within which you can track each post by an influencer linked to your brand. The best method is to measure engagement post by post so you can assess what works and what doesn’t.
If you really want the particular details, use metrics like CPE or cost per engagement and CPA or cost per action, which measures how much you are paying for engagement, i.e. clicks and comments.”
Speaking of tools, Ken Fortney from GRIN.co says, “Using GRIN’s platform, influencer attribution is automated and exhaustive, tracking everything from impressions to engagement to conversions to ongoing user-generated content.
Using manual tools, eCommerce vendors partnering with influencers do a great job tracking ROI so long as they use tags, affiliate links, and track EVERYTHING. Manual tracking also requires the marketer to do a lot of legwork to record influencer posts and measure engagement. See more here and here. Without automation, it can be almost unbearable for marketing teams.”
“Create unique URLs for the influencers you work with,” suggests Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers Marketing.
“Influencer marketing can be powerful when done the right way. But, when working with influencers, you want to track the results they bring in. I recommend you create unique URLs for them either by creating a UTM tag or by using a URL shortener. This way, you will know precisely which influencers bring the most bang for your buck,” continues Aufray.
SpdLoad’s Maksym Babych shares their experience on calculating influencer marketing RO as well: “The calculations are simple. At first, we analyzed the percentage of the relevant and potentially convertible audience as a part of the whole influencer’s audience.
Then we check the number of people reached by the blog post, stories, or video. And finally, we checked the URL with the UTM tag, which we put as a conversion goal, and compare it with a budget.
It helps us to analyze the efficiency of the type of content, time of publications, influencer’s audience. Also, we do a few analytics interactions in case, the blog post would generate leads in a few time slots run.”
“There is no perfect way to measure influencer marketing ROI,” notes Adam Connell of Funnel Overload. “However, one of the most effective methods is to give influencers a unique coupon code for each campaign.
You can add a small discount to encourage sales if you like. This will allow you to tie purchases back to specific influencer campaigns. The same method has been used in TV advertising for years because that had the same inherent challenges when calculating ROI.”
PitchFunnel’s Emmett Florence echoes the same. “Creating a custom URL on your website for the influencer to share with their followers is a great place to start (e.g. yourwebsite.com/influencer).
You can be 100% confident any traffic you get on this page will be a direct result of your partnership with the influencer.
Another variant of this strategy is having the influencer give their followers a unique promo code. You can easily count how many times the promo code is used to measure the influencer’s impact.
An even more low-tech solution is simply to have the influencer promote a single product or sub-service. To get a sense of how effective your influencer marketing efforts are, just benchmark your influencer promoted offering against the rest of your catalog.”
Sky Alphabet Social Media’s Steve Yanor has another hack for measuring influencer marketing ROI. According to Yanor, “Making the cash register ring is by far the best ROI an influencer can deliver, so it’s a good idea to track the various ways that sales happened through your social channels with Databox.
You’re looking to track conversions as they occur through clicks on various ads and even organic posts. Make sure you set up the tracking code on your posts and ads.”
Editor’s note: Get a complete picture of your sales on one dashboard – the Marketing & Sales SLA Scoreboard. It shows you important metrics such as traffic by source, leads by source, and even customers by source.
Calculating your influencer marketing ROI isn’t tough. You just need to be crystal clear about your goals and what success from influencer marketing looks like to you. Then with the help of these thirteen ways to measure the ROI of influencer marketing, you can go about getting your yield in numbers too.
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