Tracking the right numbers can help you achieve influencer marketing success. Creating an effective process for gathering, organizing, and reporting those numbers can feel overwhelming and maybe even a little boring.
But the truth is quite the opposite. Nothing is more exciting than identifying success and improving upon that success.
Not only will setting key performance indicators (KPIs) radically transform your influencer program, but it will also equip you to inform your team and boss about how your work is critical to the brand’s marketing goals.
Nearly every marketing team is accountable for two things:
But some of the most impactful achievements are more subtle.
For example, your boss instantly understands the ROI of a campaign that led to high sales. But your boss may not feel the same level of excitement over other achievements, such as increased follower counts or website traffic. Deep down, you know that tracking the customer journey means celebrating small milestones that directly and indirectly impact the brand’s bottom line.
So how do you track the customer journey properly with your influencer program?
The answer is – you must set influencer campaign KPIs and assign key metrics to those KPIs. This approach will help you follow the S.M.A.R.T. principle for goal-setting:
An objective is a marketing goal that may or may not be fully defined. Common influencer objectives are increasing brand awareness or generating sales.
KPIs are what define those marketing objectives. They more or less tell you how you know that you’ve hit your goals. The most effective KPIs include numbers, because numbers are trackable and honest.
Influencer metrics are numbers included in a campaign KPI. Without metrics, KPIs are generally worthless, as are metrics without KPIs.
A well-crafted influencer campaign brief will tell the influencer exactly what your objective(s) and KPIs are. And while you may have internal KPIs that you don’t want or need to show your influencer, sharing KPIs that are relevant to an upcoming campaign helps the influencer know your expectations, which is the foundation of good communication. .
Your campaign objectives determine what your KPIs should be. And your KPIs help you determine your most important influencer metrics.
For example, if the objective of a particular influencer campaign is brand awareness (top of the marketing funnel), then your KPIs will most likely identify milestones for the following metrics:
You cannot properly identify your most important campaign metrics without understanding where your target audience falls within the marketing funnel. A lopsided influencer program only focuses on one or two stages in the marketing funnel rather than all three.
As such, you will want to coordinate your influencer campaigns accordingly. Some influencers are best for middle or top-of-the-funnel campaigns while others are perfect for increasing conversions (bottom of the funnel).
First and foremost, a good KPI should be both challenging and reasonable. If the KPI is not challenging enough, then you are missing out on higher ROI and strong program improvements. But if you fail to make your KPIs reasonable, then you’ll either lose motivation or render your KPIs meaningless.
Second, your influencer KPIs should be measurable. For example, numbers – such as engagements, follower counts, link clicks, etc. – are measurable. Ambiguous words like “good” or “better” are subjective and could mean anything. To be measurable, each influencer KPI should fit a number that you can track.
Third, every good KPI needs a deadline. A great way to view your KPIs is to treat them as influencer campaign milestones. Deadlines keep you, your team, and your influencers focused on the objectives.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to incorporate high-level, mid-level, and low-level KPIs. In other words, you may want to break down a single KPI into smaller, supportive KPIs. We’ve laid out our KPIs below in this format to illustrate how categorizing by levels can help your influencer program.
Separating your KPIs by high, mid, and low levels will not only show you how certain metrics impact your brand’s bottom line, but it will also help you craft relevant reports to your team and boss.
Social media is a dynamic environment, meaning that things can change drastically in an instant. For example, one piece of influencer content can go viral and blow up your brand, or consumer spending could suddenly change and render your message ineffective.
That’s why influencer marketers have to be agile. Quarterly goals with accompanying KPIs are a common way to make critical adjustments to your influencer program in a timely manner. That said, you may need to adjust and adapt a KPI before quarter’s end.
If you are collaborating properly with your influencers and consistently updating your buyer personas, you will know intuitively when is the right time to adjust your influencer marketing KPIs.
Your high-level KPIs may look almost identical to your marketing objectives, though they will always include a number and a deadline. The most common high-level influencer KPIs and objectives are:
“Extend brand awareness to [number] of our target audience with a reach of [number] by [deadline].”
Brand awareness puts your brand on the radar of your target audience. Measuring your brand awareness usually involves tracking influencer post reach and impressions.
The difference between reach and impressions are as follows:
Depending on the social channel and post type, you may not always be able to distinguish between reach and impressions. But both help you measure your brand awareness. If you dig deeper into post engagements, you will uncover more information about how effective an influencer was at helping you increase your brand awareness.
“Increase influencer conversions to [number] with an influencer revenue goal of [number] by [deadline].”
Tracking influencer conversions and sales often requires you to leverage attribution tools, such as affiliate links, coupon codes, and/or UTMs. Tracking influencer revenue is usually the program KPI with the most exposure.
That said, a conversion occurs anytime a user answers a call to action, such as signing up for an event or subscribing. The more opportunities and tools you use, the more conversion metrics you’ll have to work with.
“Achieve [number] of social posts and repurposing [number] of influencer posts for [channel(s)] by [deadline].”
One of the smartest ways to partner with your top-performing influencers is to outsource parts of your social media strategy. In other words, your best influencers can be the ones to push out branded content.
Additionally, influencer posts make great repurposed content for ads, future social media posts for your brand pages, email newsletters, and your website. Each of these content opportunities can become their own KPIs, so long as they fit your current influencer and social media strategy.
“Increase website traffic originating from influencer posts to [number] by [deadline].”
There are countless ways to refer social media users to your website through influencer posts. Once consumers arrive on your website, you can have various conversion tools ready, such as incentives for creating an account, exchanging a discount code for joining an SMS list, and more.
When working with blogger influencers, you can further breakdown this KPI into backlink goals, affiliate redemptions, and more.
Each med-level KPI relates to one of the high-level KPIs or objectives listed above. The deeper you go with your KPIs and metrics, the better you’ll track the buyer’s journey for your target audience.
“Increase followers for [social channel] brand page by [deadline].”
Increasing your follower counts with the help of influencer campaigns is a great way to break down your brand awareness KPI above. Many consumers want to become fans of the brands that their favorite influencers love.
“Increase average, non-paid post reach to [number] users by [deadline].”
A combination of brand and influencer posts can dramatically increase how many social media users find your content online. And the greater your reach, the more likely you are to increase impressions and engagements without having to invest in paid ads.
“Add [number] conversion opportunities by [deadline].”
If the only conversion option you’ve made available to influencer followers is to make a purchase, then you are likely missing out on thousands of dollars’ worth of future purchases. Even after an influencer recommends your products, followers may not be ready to buy right away.
But if you create more conversion opportunities, then you nurture a larger number of prospects towards future sales. Examples of conversion opportunities include:
“Implement [number] sales incentives by [deadline].”
eCommerce analytics can show you how many people are visiting your product description pages and adding items to their cart. But what you really want are for shoppers to add items to complete checkout, rather than “window shop” or use your cart merely to create wishlists.
If you notice that shoppers aren’t converting and/or abandoned cart rates are high, you might need to incentivize them to complete their purchase. Many brands leverage influencer-specific coupon codes or free gifts for first-time buyers.
As a bonus, coupon codes are one of the most efficient ways to attribute sales to the right influencer.
“Increase the number of active influencers to [number] by [deadline].”
Scaling your influencer program with the right influencers greatly impacts your brand awareness, as well as your social content production. With each new addition to your influencer team, your brand’s word-of-mouth spreads exponentially.
That said, be careful not to sacrifice quantity for quality.
The effectiveness of your influencer program relies on how well you vet your influencers. Don’t be afraid to take a step back in your influencer activations if you notice that the quality of your influencer team is decreasing.
For example, Organifi revamped their brand ambassador program once they realized that they were partnering with the wrong type of influencers. By examining and updating their buyer personas, they were able to match with the right creators. Today, they scale their program based on their new influencer standards, and doing so has greatly increased their program ROI.
“Manage [number] of [monthly, quarterly, and annual] active influencer campaigns by [deadline].”
If you have the right team members and influencer relationship management tools, you may want to challenge them to manage more campaigns at a time. By adding more campaigns that assist consumers in each stage of your marketing funnel, you can maintain a steady flow of organic social growth and conversions.
“Complete [number] pieces of influencer-generated content by [deadline].”
Closely related to the two previous KPIs, measuring and improving your influencer post frequency offers you more ways to track your program performance. Also, more influencer posts means a wider selection from which to repurpose authentic, high-performing content.
“Collect, organize, and distribute [number] pieces of influencer-generated content among owned and paid brand channels by [deadline].”
When agreeing to terms with your influencer, make sure that you’ve requested rights to all campaign content. You’ll want to gather and reuse that content in other ways. Not only does this approach extend the ROI of your influencer campaigns, but it will also significantly lower your content production costs.
“Increase [social channel] engagement by [percentage] by [deadline].”
It’s not necessary to be active on every social media channel. If you locate your target audience on two or three platforms, you may want to focus your organic and influencer engagement there. This approach will help you grow your online presence faster.
When tracking engagement on your social channels, remember that each channel has its own set of available engagements. The best way to achieve them all is to become familiar with the various social media features on your favorite platforms and collaborate with your influencers on achieving more of each type of engagement.
“Increase engagement by [percentage] by [deadline].”
Just as you would track and improve engagement on specific social media platforms, you should also try to increase engagement for each type of social post.
When recruiting influencers, you’ll want to pay attention to which post types they are most proficient with. Doing so will help you craft your influencer campaigns more strategically.
“Increase user-generated content by [percentage] by [deadline].”
UGC includes both your influencer posts, as well as audiences responses to those influencer posts. Additionally, there may be people talking about your brand without your knowledge. It’s important that you are tracking all positive UGC so that you can capitalize on it for future campaigns.
“Increase campaign/program engagement by [percentage] by [deadline].”
You can find your engagement rate by dividing the number of likes, comments, shares, etc. by the total reach. The better aligned your influencers are with your brand, the more likely it is that your campaign and program engagement rate will increase.
“Increase [type of conversion] by [percentage] by [deadline].”
Similar to how you itemized your KPIs by social channel and post type, you may also want to distinguish between your various conversion opportunities and track each of them separately. This approach will give you insight on how eager your audience is to take “next steps” with your brand.
“Get [number] of qualified leads/prospects by [deadline].”
If you have an intricate sales process where you are nurturing leads for a period of time before a larger purchase, it’s not a bad idea to track your qualified lead volume as its own KPI.
You can also use this approach if you are trying to increase your SMS or email lists.
“Increase influencer-generated link clicks by [percentage] by [deadline].”
Link clicks indicate web traffic and conversions. For best results, you may want to segment this KPI by channel and post type (see above).
Once you’re managing several campaigns at once, you may have influencer or campaign-specific KPIs not listed here. No goal or milestone is too small. So even if a KPI is unique to a single influencer or campaign, you’ll want to track it as a KPI.
In conclusion, the goal of your influencer campaign KPIs is to measure growth and success. By setting challenging and realistic KPIs that align with your marketing goals, you’ll be able to connect the dots between influencer campaigns and overall marketing ROI.
When you decide on a KPI, be sure to record it for easy reference. You may also want to inform your team to keep everyone focused and hold each other accountable.
Lastly, your KPIs can help you build relevant reports on the effectiveness of your influencer program. When you can demonstrate all the ways that your influencer program moves buyers through the marketing funnel, your supervisors will instantly understand how critical your influencers are to the brand’s bottom line.
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