Ever wondered how to measure the success of marketing campaigns when they include influencers? You’ve planned your campaign, and you’ve found your Instagram influencers, Youtube influencers, or TikTokers. They’ve published, you’ve collected the results, and now you have to make sense of whether those are good, or not so good.
In our influencer marketing guide, we walk you through the five critical steps of any campaign. The last of those is Campaign Analysis, which goes into how to analyze your results and determine if the campaign was a success.
But we thought it might be helpful to elaborate a bit more on this topic. We want our users, especially those who are new to influencer marketing, to feel confident throughout their campaigns. And the final step may end up being the trickiest if you don’t have the right perspective.
This article will look at some different ways to measure success in influencer marketing campaigns. We’ll talk about the how-to, but also provide examples so you hopefully walk away with a more tangible understanding of the concept.
Before everything else: success is relative!
9 out of 10 marketers say that influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing. Okay, that’s great, but what does that really mean? What exactly is the meaning of effective when we’re talking about influencer marketing? How do you know if your influencer marketing strategy is successful or not?
Let’s go straight to the definition of success.
The accomplishment of an aim or purpose. When you set a goal and achieve it, you’re successful. But as this concept is dependent on your goal, we come to a very important point, both in the abstract sense of the word and in the context of marketing: Success is relative.
In marketing, that means there’s no one standard of success. You can only measure your achievement against the specific goals you were working towards, and the specific resources you invested in reaching those goals.
Therefore, if you’re expecting some type of fixed number or percentage that denotes success in influencer marketing, you won’t find them. So it’s important that you widen your perspective, and understand that success in these campaigns comes in various forms, and sometimes in ways you don’t expect.
How to prepare for measuring the success of your influencer campaigns
First, think about your campaign objectives and what data you need to collect to track your progress. These are called KPIs, or key performance indicators. As the name suggests, they indicate your performance concerning a certain objective.
Some common KPIs in influencer marketing campaigns include:
- Sales made through influencers
- Uses of influencer-specific discount codes
- Clicks on the links you promote
- New followers gained on social media
- Visits to or time spent on your website
- Sign-ups to your site or newsletter
- Impressions, or the times the campaign content is displayed
Once you decide on your KPIs, you can set up an analytics system to track them. If you need to track sales, you can usually do so through Shopify or whatever sales platform you have. But for the other types of KPIs mentioned in the list, you’ll probably need a more general analytics platform.
Google Analytics is a good starting point. It’s free, and while it can be a lot to grapple with at first, there is plenty of material about how to get started. Google even has free courses you can do online.
In order to track clicks and activity on your links, you’ll have to either use a link shortener tool or UTM parameters. If you’re not caught up on these, check out this section of our influencer marketing campaign guide: setting up campaign tracking.
Finally, don’t forget about the analytics built into social media, like Instagram Insights. Insights lets you see more specific information about your Instagram account and the people who have seen or interacted with your content.
Insights are private though, so mention to influencers ahead of time that you’d like data from their Insights for impressions and the other metrics you want to track in the campaign. This way, when you have to measure success, you’ll have a clearer picture of the impact that the content made.
How to measure the success of marketing campaigns
To see if your campaign has been successful or not, check if the benefits are greater than the investment. If the value of the positive results outweighs the investment, then you’ve been successful. This calculation shows you what marketers call the ROI, or return on investment.
As mentioned above, always relate this calculation back to your campaign objectives. To help illustrate how to do that more concretely, here are some examples related to specific goals common in influencer marketing campaigns.
Goal 1: I want to increase sales
If your goal is to increase sales, measure sales. This type of measurement is quite simple, really. Compare what you invest in an influencer to the value of the sales they bring in. When the total in sales is greater than the total investment, you’re successful!
Imagine an online personal shopping service that charges $200 for a bespoke box of fashion finds. They pay an influencer $1,000 to collaborate with them on a spring campaign. So, to recuperate their investment, the brand needs the influencer to sell 5 boxes. But the influencer actually ends up selling 20! That’s a great success, both for sales and for branding.
Goal 2: I want more followers on my brand’s social media account
Now, let’s say you want to attract new followers to your brand’s social profile. First, you have to set your goal. Make your goal ambitious, but also realistic. Look at your profile growth up until now and use it as a jumping-off point. Also, consider the type of influencer you’re planning to work with, and how many followers they have.
So, for example, you want an influencer to bring you 1,000 new followers. In the end, they bring you 1,500, surpassing your initial goal. This is also a success! It might be a bit more difficult to see than with the sales example. Unlike sales, social media followers aren’t worth any specific value. But new followers are great for brand awareness, which is an invaluable part of the marketing funnel.
Goal 3: I want to raise brand awareness through social media impressions
A bit more on branding. When your goal is to increase brand awareness, it can be hard to measure your progress. To deal with this issue, marketers tend to work with impressions and something called CPM when analyzing if a branding campaign has been successful.
An impression is any time that the target content renders on a user’s screen. Careful, that doesn’t mean the exact amount of times the content was actually seen by a human user. How many times have you scrolled through social media without looking intently at every bit of content you pass? So, this concept is more of an educated estimation of how many times the content was seen.
CPM means cost per mille. Mille is Latin for thousand, so cost per mille, in modern English, means cost per 1,000 impressions. This calculation can give you a sense of how much impressions are costing you.
Okay, example time. You pay an influencer $1,000 in exchange for 4 Instagram stories for your campaign. Based on their 300K followers and analytics data for past posts, you estimate 100K impressions per story. So for that influencer, you estimate around 400K impressions for the campaign. The estimated CPM would therefore be $2.50.
Now, say the influencer really enjoys your products and campaign, and instead of posting 4 stories, they post 6. In the end, they send you their Instagram Insights data and you see that the total impressions measured were 600,000. Now, the CPM lowers to $1.66. That means you can say that every 1,000 impressions cost you $1.66. This is clearly a success story, as you got more impressions for less money than you planned to!
Goal 4: I want clicks on my links
This one is a bit more simple, as clicks can be easily tracked with an analytics system. Don’t forget to use link shorteners or UTM codes so you can track the activity on your links. Again, looking at the influencer’s follower count and past Insights data, estimate how many clicks you think you can achieve.
Let’s say you expect an influencer to bring in 100 clicks on a certain link. If you see that they exceed that, and for example bring in 300, then great! You’ve been successful in that you’ve exceeded your goal. You can also measure clicks in a similar way to impressions. Just divide the total investment by the total number of measured clicks, and you can see exactly how much each click cost you.
Other benefits to take into account
Your influencer campaigns can be successful in other ways, too. Sometimes, you get positive repercussions you hadn’t expected. These benefits may not have a specific monetary value attached, but they should be considered when you evaluate your success. So when analyzing your campaign, look for anything like:
- Reposts and saved posts
- Brand mentions
- Press coverage
- An influencer’s fan club account reposts your branded content, giving you extra exposure to its followers
- As part of the collaboration, the influencer does a photoshoot of your new restaurant, saving you hundreds of dollars
- You get content from influencers that you can use in other marketing contexts
These aren’t all hard metrics that you can necessarily track and analyze. So when measuring the campaign’s total impact, make sure to keep your mind open to all types of benefits.
What if I’m not successful?
We’ve talked a whole lot about success. But what about failure?
If you fail to meet your objective, that doesn’t mean that the entire campaign was a failure. It could have succeeded in another way. For example, maybe you didn’t accumulate all the sales you wanted to, but you got lots of impressions, which means exposure for your brand.
Also, take a step back and look at the objectives you set for yourself. Were they too ambitious? Reflect on this and keep it in mind for next time.
Finally, marketing is a world of generally trackable results. This means you can try out a new strategy, and in a few weeks or months, get a sense of if it’s working or not. If not, adjust your strategy and try again.
And always, always analyze your results, even the poor ones, to see what you can learn for next time. Essentially, don’t be afraid to fail. But when you do fail, find out why and learn from it.
There’s no one formula you can use to prove that an influencer marketing campaign has been successful. Success is totally relative to your brand and its objectives. Further, success isn’t always a neat and tidy package. You might enjoy some extra benefits you hadn’t foreseen. So when analyzing your campaign, carefully examine all the data you have, but also keep an open mind for benefits that aren’t so easy to track.