How should influencer marketing be measured?
Photo: Getty Images/dragana991

Linking influencer marketing to revenue is “the golden ticket,” Christina Westley, head of influencer marketing at PepsiCo Content Studio, says in Econsultancy’s “Influencer Marketing Best Practice Guide” study.

However, a wide range of approaches and methodologies are used to measure ROI and real-world interactions are particularly challenging to value.

PepsiCo’s Ms. Westley stated, “Influencer marketing will always have this human element to it that turnkey paid media won’t, so some of these metrics still have to account for the human side of things, and the natural reaction influencers might have to campaigns.”

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently released its first set of guidelines for measuring influencer marketing. According to ANA, measurement guidelines for paid advertising — i.e., pay-per-click, branded content and display ads — have been available for almost a decade, but the ”lack of both consistency and transparency has limited organic influencer marketing’s value to advertisers.”

ANA’s guidelines offered various ways to define cost per reach, engagement and conversion.

Measurement hurdles, according to ANA, include a lack of measurement standardization and consistency across social media platforms as each defines what constitutes an engagement differently. At the same time, agencies’ proprietary measurement algorithms often make it challenging to know how different campaigns from different agencies compare with each other.

A recent report by Publicis Sapient and analytics firm Launchmetrics based on a global survey of 1,000 marketing and PR professionals found that 38 percent count on influencers to self-report their data, risking potential misrepresentation and manipulation. A third employ URL tracking to monitor influencer mentions and 22 percent, campaign engagement and hashtags.

Still, 80 percent of respondents are now using economic measures to gauge the efficacy of influencers versus only 24 percent who prioritize reach and views, indicating a shift from measuring awareness and engagement to measuring consumer conversions.

Publicis Sapient’s study states, “The reach and return on influencers remain undisputed however, marketers need to select the right tools to analyze the data (based on what channel, purpose of tracking, and needs of the team viewing the report) as without the right tools, marketers can’t produce the right analysis.”

BrainTrust

“Until the in-person purchases can be linked to digital content, we won’t really have the full picture on influencer marketing.”

Melissa Minkow

Director, Retail Strategy, CI&T


“The impact across channel lines is blurring and so too should the indicators used to measure success.”

DeAnn Campbell

Head of Retail Insights, AAG Consulting Group


“The best part of influencer marketing is word of mouth, and it’s notoriously hard to measure word of mouth.”

Georganne Bender

Principal, KIZER & BENDER Speaking

Discussion Questions

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the primary challenges to measuring influencer marketing? Are adequate tools and approaches available to measure conversion driven by influencers?

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How precise are the tools and approaches available to measure conversion driven by influencers?

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6 responses to “How should influencer marketing be measured?”

  1. Melissa Minkow Avatar
    Melissa Minkow

    This one is tricky because, as an influencer friend of mine was saying the other day, if followers don’t click on her link for something, but they buy it in person because they were influenced by her review, the brand will never know that she caused that purchase. Thus, even with clickable links now making it easier to track an influencer’s influence, there are still large gaps in accuracy when determining how far the reach actually goes. I used to think views weren’t as accurate an indication as active engagement (likes, shares, comments), but views do often mean influence. Until the in-person purchases can be linked to digital content, we won’t really have the full picture on influencer marketing.

  2. DeAnn Campbell Avatar
    DeAnn Campbell

    The lift to sales can no longer be measured in channel specific silos. The impact across channel lines is blurring and so too should the indicators used to measure success. Basket size, sales, engagement, traffic and repeat business are still key measurements, but data from online and offline channels, including influencers, should be blended to understand how these channels support each other.

  3. Georganne Bender Avatar
    Georganne Bender

    The best part of influencer marketing is word of mouth, and it’s notoriously hard to measure word of mouth.

  4. patrickjacobs Avatar
    patrickjacobs

    Tracking the true reach of influencers is hard, especially with all social channels being their own silo. The availability of live shopping tools enables brands to track sales but there is no real universal management. At the end of the day, this is the price to play, and influencer marketing works. The tools and approaches to understand and measure conversion are more than adequate, the larger pain is the price point of each solution.

  5. Craig Sundstrom Avatar
    Craig Sundstrom

    I don’t think the metrics for measuring this are much vaguer than for many other marketing concepts … how do you measure the value of goodwill or philanthropy?

    What is different, IMHO, is that this type of marketing doesn’t have a lot of lasting value: so let’s get busy on those metrics, people, to prove me wrong! 🙂

  6. Matt Krepsik Avatar
    Matt Krepsik

    The biggest challenge to measuring influencer marketing is the social platforms themselves. With the tagging restrictions each platform presents, it is not easy to get a holistic view of a program’s performance across multiple social platforms.

    The measurement approach will depend on your program objectives, but for Quotient, sales is usually a main KPI for a program. We feel that geo-based A/B testing is the gold standard to show campaign effectiveness if we can show a brand the incremental sales on their programs. There are trusted 3rd party vendors out there we partner with, such as Nielsen, that can deliver results to brands with confidence. Also, a new measurement tool that has gained a lot of traction in the last two years is Click2Cart, which can provide carting metrics, dollars and products in retailer baskets for shoppable programs. This shows purchase intent and is an easy way for CPGs to check online sales to show performance.

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Melissa Minkow
Melissa Minkow
Member
1 year ago

This one is tricky because, as an influencer friend of mine was saying the other day, if followers don’t click on her link for something, but they buy it in person because they were influenced by her review, the brand will never know that she caused that purchase. Thus, even with clickable links now making it easier to track an influencer’s influence, there are still large gaps in accuracy when determining how far the reach actually goes. I used to think views weren’t as accurate an indication as active engagement (likes, shares, comments), but views do often mean influence. Until the in-person purchases can be linked to digital content, we won’t really have the full picture on influencer marketing.

DeAnn Campbell
DeAnn Campbell
Active Member
1 year ago

The lift to sales can no longer be measured in channel specific silos. The impact across channel lines is blurring and so too should the indicators used to measure success. Basket size, sales, engagement, traffic and repeat business are still key measurements, but data from online and offline channels, including influencers, should be blended to understand how these channels support each other.

Georganne Bender
Georganne Bender
Active Member
1 year ago

The best part of influencer marketing is word of mouth, and it’s notoriously hard to measure word of mouth.

patrickjacobs
patrickjacobs
1 year ago

Tracking the true reach of influencers is hard, especially with all social channels being their own silo. The availability of live shopping tools enables brands to track sales but there is no real universal management. At the end of the day, this is the price to play, and influencer marketing works. The tools and approaches to understand and measure conversion are more than adequate, the larger pain is the price point of each solution.

Craig Sundstrom
Craig Sundstrom
Active Member
1 year ago

I don’t think the metrics for measuring this are much vaguer than for many other marketing concepts … how do you measure the value of goodwill or philanthropy?

What is different, IMHO, is that this type of marketing doesn’t have a lot of lasting value: so let’s get busy on those metrics, people, to prove me wrong! 🙂

Matt Krepsik
Matt Krepsik
1 year ago

The biggest challenge to measuring influencer marketing is the social platforms themselves. With the tagging restrictions each platform presents, it is not easy to get a holistic view of a program’s performance across multiple social platforms.

The measurement approach will depend on your program objectives, but for Quotient, sales is usually a main KPI for a program. We feel that geo-based A/B testing is the gold standard to show campaign effectiveness if we can show a brand the incremental sales on their programs. There are trusted 3rd party vendors out there we partner with, such as Nielsen, that can deliver results to brands with confidence. Also, a new measurement tool that has gained a lot of traction in the last two years is Click2Cart, which can provide carting metrics, dollars and products in retailer baskets for shoppable programs. This shows purchase intent and is an easy way for CPGs to check online sales to show performance.