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How to Measure ROI on Influencer Marketing in 2017


By   |   December 7th, 2016   |   Reading time: 6 minutes Brands, Communications & PR

Influencers were a dominating force in 2016, and they’re only getting more popular. We look at how to kickstart and measure your influencer campaigns.

According to a 2016 study from Linqia, 86 percent of surveyed marketers are already working with influencers. And 94 percent found it to be an effective part of their strategy.

What were marketers most happy about from these influencers? The creation of authentic content, increased social engagement with brand and product, and reach into new or niche audiences.

The “wild west” of influencer marketing is becoming more refined, and will only continue to do so in 2017. In the Linqia survey, 78 percent of marketers said determining the ROI of influencer marketing will be one of their biggest challenges in 2017.

Next year, marketers plan to spend 50,000 to 100,000 dollars on each influencer program. Making sure these campaigns are effective is a big freaking deal.

So how can you do it? How can we value and find the data that proves influencer marketing?

Where Will You See the Most Value from an Influencer?

First, you need to determine what channels you’re going to run an influencer campaign on.

Instagram is the most popular, according to Chute, followed by Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Personal blogs are also an engaging method. As Snapchat and chat apps like WhatsApp become more sophisticated in metrics, these may grow in popularity.

Food and travel influencer, Melissa Hie, is known for her iconic “food on landscape” photos. Her posts drive tens of thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

Influencers have strong organic audiences of their own, and can often bypass the algorithms of social media platforms that may devalue a brand’s content in users’ feeds.

Any interest will have its own set of influencers. Brands can work with these influencers to access these followers on a much deeper level than possible on their own channel. Even more general influencers can help a brand, such as employing popular pets.

Many influencers have multiple channels that they can have an impact on. When Mercedes Benz partnered with Loki the Wolfdog in March, they created both Instagram and YouTube content, including a 360 video.

So how do we know how to measure the success of a campaign? We can ask a few key questions.

1. How Much Engagement Does the Influencer Usually Drive?

In general, and on branded content they may have created in the past. What are the average numbers for each metric, across likes, shares, comments, views, or anything else?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BNdMBK7jeeZ/

Jay Alvarrez, a renowned travel Instagrammer, drove over 173,000 likes and 3,600 comments for this video, which was for Armani Exchange.

His nine Instagram posts from November 2016 drove an average of 299,042 likes and 2,733 comments. It’s worth considering here that videos often don’t drive as many likes as photos on Instagram.

This sponsored photo with Belkin drove over 211,000 likes and 750 comments, so the Armani video did better in comments but not as well in likes. For a comprehensive look, you’ll want to look at the influencers’ average for both all their content and their sponsored content.

2. How Much Engagement Have Your Competitors Seen on Similar Campaigns?

Have your competitors used influencers before? How much engagement did their influencer campaign see when measured against both the influencer’s usual average, and your competitor’s engagement average?

We can take a look in NewsWhip Spike to see branded content on Facebook. We can quickly identify a few brands using influencers to power their marketing campaigns. Or, if we want to stick to Instagram, we can make a panel of competitive brands. Let’s look at Millennial fashion brands. This panel includes brands like H&M, Forever21, Urban Outfitters, ASOS, and Free People.

Millennial Fashion Influencers

In just this 24 hour view, we can see that these brands drive a good deal of likes when they include other Instagrammers. We can export this to figure out what our own KPIs should be comparable content.

We can also see the different tactics used by brands if we explore deeper — Forever21 sees big engagement for deconstructed outfit posts from influencers, while Urban OutfittersFree People, and ASOS do well with visual aesthetics.

By determining the amount of interactions that your competitors have seen for using influencers, you can benchmark what success might look like for your brand.

What are the Best Practices for Your Industry?

Like we mentioned before, there are influencers for nearly every niche interest and topic. You may want to get an idea of the top tactics for the influencers in your industry before choosing your influencer. Does their content feel like something your brand’s audience would truly enjoy?

Let’s say we’re a science or technology brand, and we’d like to give YouTube videos a try to expand our audience and improve brand awareness. If we take a look at what the top-liked science YouTube videos are, we can see a trend here. 

science influencers spike

According to Spike, hands-on science experiments drive the most likes. Influencers like Vsauce, Grant Thompson, Smarter Everyday, McGear, and The Backyard Scientist, see substantial likes on their YouTube videos. We can further explore these content creators to see if they fit our brand’s intended value to our target audience.

What are the Best Practices Overall?

Maybe there are influencer tactics outside of your industry that would do well for your brand. Take a look through the influencers you like personally. What are they doing that makes their content interesting to you?

Explore multiple platforms. Who are the top influencers by channel? What makes them so catchy?

Once you’ve identified those aspects, you can explore if there are similar influencers you can work with, who can drive comparable engagements.

Keep yourself naturally curious and analytic about the things you yourself enjoy and this will help you have a keener eye to what’s working on social. Then, with the data, you can back up your ideas and measure how well your campaigns do.

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