Influencer marketing is a serious investment; brands spend millions of dollars on campaigns each year. Some value is easy to see right off the bat, such as custom content created with beautiful photography featuring your brand or storytelling that you can repurpose for your own use. Unless you can attribute conversions to your influencer campaign, it’s difficult to truly measure the success by platform or even by individual.
The reality is that many brands are pouring tremendous portions of their budgets into marketing opportunities without accurately monitoring and tracking campaigns, which severely limits their calculation of value and ROI. It also limits the amount of budget that they can shift to influencer marketing that is currently allocated to other, less lucrative forms of advertising.
There are many moving parts when it comes to tracking influencers, particularly those that have a reach expanding across multiple platforms. Brands with an understanding of influencer performance can activate a strategic campaign by simply following these five easy steps to track influencers and attribute their efforts to marketing success.
- Pixels can help map out traffic flow
Pixels and cookies are useful tools for tracking where content viewers are coming from and what their interests are, providing valuable insight for successful retargeting and maximum brand impact. Embedding tracking pixels into influencer content enables brands to collect information on how many impressions the piece has, while using cookies through display and Facebook ads helps collect information on what your audience is searching and who brands can retarget. For example, influencer marketing technology partner Markerly has seen a .2% click-through rate (CTR) on retargeting ads via sponsored content, which is double the industry average for site direct retargeting.
Influencers are the gateway to connecting consumers with the product, with the next step in the process being to bring them directly to the website. While brands generally take CTRs on ads into consideration, data from Markerly has found that up to 40% of site visits via influencers are not currently tracked because they are not the result of a direct click-through. Incorporating a conversion pixel into the website can calculate this missing 40%, identifying the number of sponsored content readers who ended up visiting your website on their own instead of through a direct click-through or targeted ad, within a 30-day window.
Other social platforms such as Instagram provide an opportunity for more creative measurements. Pixel anyone who visits your site organically or via your Instagram link (which are the two most common ways that customers directly respond to sponsored content on Instagram) within a 3-hour window of the post going live, and retarget them with the influencer-created content as the advertisement through both display and social. This will also give you a more accurate picture of true lift in sales and site visits.
- Know which platforms are best for direct response, evergreen value or tracking
Blogs will always be king when you think about tracking the IPs of readers, pixeling all of the readers of the sponsored content, and understanding how they are engaging and optimizing for impressions via syndications across social channels. However, other social platforms have tremendous strength. Instagram has a massive scale at a very cheap rate and a more direct response (because of the 3-hour window of content receiving the most views and activity). Pinterest is the most evergreen and provides the best opportunity for you to receive value for months or years to come. YouTube may be the priciest to activate on, but it provides great reach to a loyal subscribership and is perfect for repurposing for commercials via TV or online, which cuts back on your advertising dollars to a studio for commercial production. Snapchat allows for an organic product integration and complete transparency into viewer numbers. To maximize the impact you are receiving, you must ensure you are activating on the right platform, at the right time, and at the right frequency to get the results you want.
- Let paid media translate to earned media
There are various paid and unpaid opportunities that can help expand audience reach and generate measurable results. The easiest way to broaden your reach is to utilize all active platforms used by the influencer, with a particular emphasis on popular outlets like Facebook and Pinterest. Paid advertising on platforms like Facebook or popular blogs is beneficial because brands can target audiences interested in specific products or competing brands. For unpaid opportunities, the production and distribution of evergreen social content is a cost-effective alternative that can provide continual engagement. For example, in one of Markerly’s recent campaigns for the Dixie brand QuickTakes containers, there were over 200,000 repins of posts with Dixie’s product in the two years following the end of the campaign. Most influencer campaigns create a spinoff of earned media that can triple the media value beyond what is attributed directly to the influencer’s post.
- Make it fun and engaging for the consumer
Use actionable, measureable options that provide a direct and immediate benefit to the end consumer and help generate interest while gathering valuable data on the individual. Everyone loves a good prize, which is why sweepstakes that encourage social activity and collect information like names, phone numbers and emails is a strategic way that engages consumers while simultaneously building a brand’s marketing list. In fact, campaigns that include sweepstakes receive up to 70% more engagement and activity via social networks, ultimately enhancing brand visibility. This same information collection method can be used beyond fun sweepstakes, with knowledge-sharing items like white papers or coupons texted directly to their phone.
- Track in-store sales
Getting consumers to point of sale is one of the end goals of any marketing campaign, so utilizing tools that make the purchasing process easier or more appealing helps speed the process along. SMS marketing provides a great opportunity to continually engage with those interested in your product, and using items like coupon codes that require a phone number to access the discount is a great way to collect marketing information. Not only can you see who is interested, you can also track these in-store purchases with SMS marketing by using text messaging QR codes that are redeemed for a monetary value. Influencer marketing doesn’t need to be limited by comment to buy or online conversions, as it provides many opportunities to provide coupons directly to those interested in your brand.
Besides tapping into an engaged and targeted audience, consumers respond well to sponsored content on social platforms when it’s created tastefully. Markerly has seen that sponsored content on Instagram is engaged with at an almost equal rate as regular, non-sponsored content.
It’s easier now more than ever before to collect information on your target audience’s interests, buying habits and attentiveness to a brand’s product. Once you understand who your target consumer is, activating influencers within these communities helps you magnify your brand awareness and ultimately lift your sales. We’ll see this market continue to grow as brands are able to better attribute company growth to continual brand endorsements online, as well as witness influencer marketing making a well deserved move to the forefront of advertising budgets.
Sarah Ware is CEO & founder at Markerly.