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Written by Hoozu CEO, Natalie Giddings.

Influencer Marketing seems to get a bad press when it comes to ROI. There lingers a general assumption that measuring the performance of this channel is difficult and vague. Indeed, we’ve heard first-hand that this limiting belief has been the barrier to many brands who may otherwise benefit greatly from the power of Influencers. And that’s a real shame because, if you ask me, this uncertainty is nothing more than a mindset issue.

Change can be a scary thing, and whilst brands will happily invest dollars into such traditional, age-old marketing channels as magazine, TV, billboards without any concern for the absolute inability to measure their results accurately. They will still hesitate to invest in a channel where there are true, specific analytics relevant to virtually any marketing goal a brand could have… Influencer Marketing. 

There is some justification for this mindset issue; Influencer Marketing did indeed begin as something of a vanity tactic – providing brand kudos by aligning with big names/celebrities. In these early days you may well have hoped to pay a Kardashian-type to take a selfie with your product and instantly see sales roll in. And by and large, that probably wouldn’t have happened – the strategy simply wasn’t in place to make the partnership successful.

However, measuring Influencer Marketing has continued to improve hugely year on year, as the social channel engineers understand the value of providing deeper and deeper content analytics. We’ve reached a stage now where there is a KPI for pretty much any marketing objective your brand has… so long as you strategise carefully and know what to look for.

From vanity tactic to awareness tool, Influencer Marketing grew as a driver of reach and awareness for brands looking to meet current and new audiences. We can accurately measure true reach (number of people reached by the content) as well as impressions (how many times it was consumed). We can even see who was reached (demographics such as location, age, gender) and how long they stayed with that content (view times). Such specific analytics are a far-cry from the loose circulation figures predicted by print magazines, or estimated number of views on a TVC.

Beyond awareness, Influencer Marketing became a tool for education; informing target audiences on the benefits of XYZ products. We can measure reception of this through engagement and interaction rates; we can look at sentiment in comments and DMs, we can get direct questions from customers/potential customers on Story question boxes; or see a mindset shift through Story polls.

The key Influencer Marketing ROI measurement of today seems to be conversions (Return on Ad Spend; Cost per Acquisition; etc). Influencer Marketing has become a viable sales-tactic in recent years, as measuring web-traffic became possible through Link Clicks. Next, directly attributing that traffic to a specific influencer became possible with UTMs. We can even measure and attribute conversions per influencer/deliverable/channel, through discount codes. Accurately measuring ROAs/CPA has never been easier than with the Influencer Marketing field as it currently stands. And, as discussed in my Hype Champions piece, we are seeing more and more brands take advantage of this. 

At Hoozu we work with several brands, running full conversion campaigns. These activations require participation and integration between agency and brand to accurately monitor conversions and their sources. The data available allows us to learn, shift and optimise the campaign in an always-on fashion, toward CPA/ROAs targets. The results (which are acutely measurable) can be mind-boggling.

The rise of conversion campaigns will undoubtedly encourage new brands to enter into the Influencer Marketing game, as they see the promise of strong ROI in the channel. My advice, however, is to have this campaign format as part of a larger, strategic ecosystem with Influencers. You still need your awareness-drivers, educators, content creators in order to build the social appeal, the consumer touchpoints and the credibility of your brand. Conversions will only come with this additional scaffolding. And ROI will only be measurable where specific marketing goals are in place.

If you’ve been uncertain around testing Influencer Marketing because you’re not sure how to accurately measure its success… get in touch with us today. We can work with you to create and implement a strategy that allows visibility on your ROI.