We talk about influencer marketing a lot on this blog, and for good reason. Influencer-based advertising has seen incredible growth over the past decade and hit $13.8bn in 2021. But if you have ever run an influencer campaign, you probably know how difficult it is to accurately measure success. While vanity metrics (likes, comments, shares, etc.) can provide insight into what content performs well, these metrics can’t provide any information on converted sales. To get a more accurate picture of your campaign’s success you will need to implement different forms of measurement. We’ve outlined 5 different forms of measurement along with pros and cons to each.
1. SOCIAL ATTRIBUTION
Until recently, social attribution wasn’t possible, but with new technologies, marketers can finally identify individuals that made a purchase as a result of word of mouth across social. With social attribution, marketers can identify individuals exposed to an influencer’s social content using a social audience insights platform (like Silhouette™), where social profiles can be connected to their offline counterpart (known as a personal identifier such as a zip code, name, phone number etc.). This data is then coupled with first or third-party purchase data and sent through to a third-party attribution system to measure sales impact. This data is compared to that of a control group pre and post campaign, to view resulting sales impact and ROI. While that may sound complicated, it really couldn’t be easier, here is a recent blog describing the process a little more in detail.
Pros: Most accurate form of impact measuring
Cons: Requires access to purchase data to understand impact pre and post campaign
2. PROMOTIONAL CODES
Promo codes are a quick and easy way to track an influencer campaign and are probably what you think of when you hear influencer marketing.
They are typically unique phrases or codes influencers share with their followers to use when purchasing the product they are promoting. While these can be a great starting point, they are easy to misuse. With sites like Honey and RetailMeNot, promo codes are shared with the more general public, making it difficult to determine the success of your campaign.
Pros: Great for motivating potential buyers
Cons: Widespread sharing of codes can skew results
3. AFFILIATE LINKS
Affiliate links are specific URLs that have an affiliate’s ID attached to the end of it. These links are most commonly used by bloggers and vloggers and help marketers track the percentage of traffic and sales converted as a result of the influencer campaign. Typically, the influencer keeps a small portion of the sales tied to the link as a commission.
Pros: Very little upfront cost and easy to set up
Cons: Easy for followers to ignore if no extrinsic incentive is provided
4. UTM TAGS
UTM tags are bits of code attached to the end of a URL. Marketers are able to track various parameters about where a specific visitor originated. These parameters include the medium (ie. an email link, social media post), the source (which specific site they came from) the campaign associated with the link, and the content (ie: image, blog post). While UTM tags are fairly easy to create, they require some knowledge of Google Analytics to effectively capture the traffic insights.
Pros: Provides very specific information about the traffic source of a sale
Cons: You’ll need more than basic google analytics knowledge to track
5. UNIQUE LANDING PAGES
An alternative to creating a UTM tag is creating a unique landing page for the influencer to drive their following to. Unique landing pages allow you to see direct traffic and resulting purchases through tracking the number of clicks on the influencer’s shared link. Unlike promotional codes, these pages are less likely to be shared to other websites.
Pros: Easy to measure page traffic and converted sales
Cons: Typically best used for direct mailers that are sent to a specific group of customers
From the quick and easy promo code, to in-depth and more accurate social attribution, marketers have many options to choose from when building and analyzing their influencer programs. No matter which method you go with, it’s important to remember that each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Which method works bext? That all depends on your goals. If you’re looking to track traffic or online sales, affiliate links and UTM codes will work fine. If you’re trying to motivate buyers while tracking sales, promo codes are great. Sending a direct mail piece? Unique landing pages are quite effective. But if you’re looking to measure holistic buying behavior as a result of your influencer campaign (in-store and online purchases), social attribution is the best option as long as you have access to first or third-party purchase data.
Learn more about creating a successful influencer campaign in our eBook, The Data Needed to Drive Successful Influencer Campaigns.