Influencer marketing has quickly become a top marketing tactic for brands looking to use industry heavy weights to reach and convert new audiences. Why? Because developing an influencer marketing strategy can help legitimize your brand in the eyes of prospective customers.
As consumers increasingly look to key leaders for social proof of a product, service, or brand’s value, rather than a brand itself, involving these influencers in your marketing strategy has become essential.
Even though influencer marketing is popular, many marketers say they are unable to sufficiently prove the value of their company’s influencer marketing strategy.
Here, I’ll walk you through the basics of influencer marketing and outline solutions to the challenges marketers face in proving the ROI of influencer marketing strategies to executives.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing concentrates on using key individuals outside of your company to communicate your brand’s message, reach new audiences, and drive conversions. These leaders are typically influential within that brand’s specific industry, and they have strong engagement with large audiences your brand is interested in connecting with.
The general idea is that when you engage or hire an influencer, you’re getting access to their audiences and networks. For example, we created a list of influencers who are leaders in marketing. There are similar lists for many other industries.
There are two types of influencer marketing:
- Earned influencer marketing happens through organic relationships your brand has developed with key leaders, and it typically helps those individuals with their professional growth.
- Paid influencer marketing involves brands hiring key leaders to participate in marketing campaigns, and can be in the form of pre-roll advertising, sponsorships, or testimonials. Budgets for paid influencer marketing usually depend on the influencer’s audience size and reach.
Influencer marketing strategies usually involve a system of identifying, engaging, and maintaining relationships with influencers, as well as specific campaigns that involve the participation of influencers.
Influencer marketing campaigns typically focus on different types of content marketing. For example, influencers can be asked to promote branded content on social media, mention a product in blog posts, or talk about a brand in a webinar.
How do you prove the value of your influencer marketing strategy?
Despite the rising popularity of influencer marketing, few marketers feel that they have solid metrics to demonstrate the ROI of their influencer marketing strategies. In fact, in a survey by GroupHigh, 46 percent of respondents said that proving the value of influencer marketing was their biggest challenge.
On top of that, 44 percent of respondents said they weren’t sure how their company calculated ROI for their influencer marketing strategy, and 70 percent said they don’t think their methods for reporting are accurate or reliable.
Of the companies surveyed, 60 percent used five or more metrics to measure the success of influencer marketing. The top five metrics measured included: traffic from media to a specific website (79 percent), social media shares of posts (77 percent), total reach of influencers (61 percent), Google Analytics conversions (60 percent), and estimated impressions (59 percent). Additionally, 22 percent of the companies surveyed said they used four or more tools to track and measure influencer marketing.
There is a lot of time and effort going into influencer marketing, so the fact that marketers are still not confident in their ability to prove ROI points to a problem (or three).
Problem #1: Marketers are facing a data overload.
Marketers may be looking at too many metrics across too many tools to be able to surface the right data they need in order to report on ROI.
Solution: The key to pinpointing these metrics is to examine the data across a set period of time and see which metrics are strong indicators of goal completions.
Take the time to analyze data and pinpoint specific metrics that are strong indicators of your strategy’s performance, while weeding out the irrelevant metrics.
Problem #2: Marketers don’t have an organized approach for analyzing the data.
Don’t forget that influencer marketing is still relatively new. Marketers have been struggling to get a grip on their influencer marketing strategies, focusing on finding influencers and adjusting tactics. They may simply not have had the chance to create a system for analysis and reporting, leaving their approach to data confused and disorganized.
Solution: Luckily, there are now a large number of tools to help measure the metrics mentioned above. It’s time for marketers to buckle down and develop a system for correctly analyzing the data being measured.
Problem #3: Marketers need to focus on marketing attribution.
Executives now expect more from marketers when it comes to proving ROI. Marketers need to be able to show how their influencer marketing strategy has directly contributed to revenue.
Solution: Focusing on marketing attribution, and following leads from the top of the marketing funnel — measuring touches along the way — to the bottom of funnel will allow marketers to show how their influencer marketing strategy directly impacts sales and revenue.
Influencer marketing is here to stay and marketers need to develop these long-term strategies for analyzing data and proving ROI.
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