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How To Track & Prove ROI On Influencer Marketing

These days, brands just don’t hold the same kind of clout they once did.

Your audience trusts people more than brands, that’s why Influencer Marketing is so effective. Most consumers, 92%, trust recommendations from strangers over those from brands.

To learn what Influencer Marketing is and how you can use it effectively, take a quick look at the video we teamed up with Dan to make below.

 

Almost half of all online consumers use ad-block technology. A majority, 74%, report that they use social media to inform their purchasing decisions.

There’s no doubt that Influencer Marketing now plays a crucial role in reaching and connecting with your consumers.

Over the past two years, marketers have doubled down on their Influencer Marketing spend, with budgets now ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

Influencer Marketing seems to work for some brands, but how do you know if it works for you? How do you track how it affects your bottom line? How do you prove to your boss that it’s worthwhile?

Here are five ways to get started:
 

1. SET YOUR GOALS

Before you launch an influencer marketing campaign, be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish. Goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) are going to vary widely depending on your business, service, or product.

B2Bs that are working with influencers are probably going to want to track leads more than audience growth and impressions. B2Cs could be interested in building a social presence on a new channel, gaining engagement around a hashtag, or pushing sales.

Here are some common goals and metrics you could potentially track:

Awareness

🍔 Impressions

🍔 Clicks

Engagement

🍔 Number of follows

🍔 Number of comments

🍔 Number of shares

Sales

🍔 Revenue

🍔 Downloads

🍔 Number of products sold

Make sure that influencers and brand are aligned when it comes to strategy and the outcomes you hope to achieve. That way, you can make sure everyone has the same idea of success.


 

2. MONITOR AUDIENCE GROWTH

The easiest way to track an influencer’s impact is to see if your audience grows from before and after the campaign. Seeing a spike in web traffic or fan and follower growth can show you that a campaign is working to grow awareness of the brand.

Specifically, you’ll want to measure:

🍔 Brand mentions

🍔 Engagement around hashtags

🍔 New followers & fans
 

3. CHECK YOUR TRAFFIC REFERRALS

Tracking referral traffic can give you a macro and micro view of your Influencer Marketing efforts.

Using tools like Google Analytics, WordPress’ JetPack plugin, or Bitly, you can see the total traffic that any given campaign is driving, or how each individual influencer’s content is performing.  

Creating UTM parameters for Google Analytics and Bitly can help you get more granular with your tracking. You can create links with custom tags for each influencer or even for each piece of content an influencer creates.

Bitly provides more of a top-of-the-funnel view, and Google Analytics gives a bottom-of-the-funnel view.

On the back-end, both platforms will be able to attribute how much traffic comes from each source according to how you documented it with UTM parameters.

If influencers are creating content for you across various channels and devices, you can see all of this in one view, right in your Bitly dashboard.

Here’s an example of how a brand can use Campaign Builder, a Bitly Enterprise feature, to run and track a cross-channel influencer marketing campaign.


 

4. DRIVE & MEASURE CLICKS

Bitlinks help you get a better view of when influencers are sharing and what type of content is performing best.

You can also see click data by source and geography, as well as how often a link is being shared.

Dave Neuman, director of social media services at Prime Visibility, uses Bitlinks to show clients the impact of third-party placements:

“When we look to position a client as a thought leader, part of the strategy includes linking to and voicing their reaction to third-party content where we don’t necessarily have analytics or comprehensive data like we have with our own content,” he says. “Bitly empowers us to gain an understanding on which content, and types of content, a client’s social audience is interested in reading and engaging with the most, regardless if it’s from a site the client owns or a third-party content source.”

Tracking from traditionally dark channels like Instagram and Snapchat is important.

On Instagram, brands often ask influencers to share a link in their bio and direct followers to their “link in bio,” because links in captions aren’t clickable on Instagram. They can also include a link in the caption, which followers can then write out in their browser. Instead of including a long url, it’s better to shorten the link using Bitly, which also helps you track traffic from Instagram.

Lucasfilm and HP partnered with Instagram influencers to hype up the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”. The influencers used trackable Bitlinks that drove followers to a targeted landing page.

In one campaign, HP asked their Instagram influencers, a mix of musicians, artists and tech professionals, to promote the #AwakenYourForce sweepstakes, which offered followers a chance to win a Star Wars Special Edition notebook and a movie ticket voucher.

The influencers shared galactic-inspired posts with a dedicated Bit link in the caption that drove to the sweepstakes landing page.

HP also worked with Vine influencer Rudy Mancusco, asking him to remake the Star Wars’ theme song using HP technology. Rudy shared the result with his Instagram following and, in the caption of the Instagram photo, pointed followers back to the full link in HP’s bio.

It’s important to know that when a follower clicks on the link in your Instagram bio, the traffic source will just show up as “direct” in Google Analytics. But by adding custom URL parameters to your link and shortening it with Bitly, you’ll now be able to know not only where your traffic is coming from, but also how effective your influencer marketing on Instagram is.

We’ve seen a lot of influencer campaigns being run by Bitly customers. Behind the scenes, companies use Campaign Builder to measure how many total clicks a campaign has generated and also see a more granular breakdown of how many clicks each individual influencer link drove.

With the #ForceAwakens campaign, HP received 68,019 total clicks from that one Bitlink, of which 14,649 was from Instagram.
 

5. DISCOUNT CODES & DRIVERS

If you’re a retail or eCommerce company, your top priority is probably seeing whether an influencer drove sales. The most direct way to do this is to provide an influencer-specific discount code.

That way, no matter what channel an influencer is using to promote a product (blog, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) you have an easy way to track the bottom line results of the campaign.

B2B companies that are more interested in lead generation should offer partners and thought leaders a specific UTM parameter and driver.

At Bitly, we create a parent campaign in Salesforce to track the total leads coming in from all of our different channels and then create child campaigns for each different channel. For each partner promotion, we create a child campaign (usually identified by the partner name) and then give them a Bitly link with a specific driver and UTM parameter.

Since we use Marketo to collect leads through our forms, we integrate each form with Salesforce. So that way, we can actually tell not only whether a partner has driven prospects to the landing page, but whether those prospects filled out the form.

By using Bitly Campaigns to display that information, we get something like this:

This is the Customer Loyalty ebook we recently published with Mention.

 

THE RELATIONSHIPS BEHIND THE METRICS

By opening up your tracking parameters beyond likes and shares, you give yourself more flexibility to dig into the true impact of influencer marketing. Beyond the number of engagements influencers drive, the quality of these relationships is just as, if not even more, powerful.

You might be surprised at some of the results you see behind the scenes, because likes do not necessarily equal conversions… and a lack of likes doesn’t necessarily mean no one clicked.

What’s your opinion on Influencer Marketing? How do you track ROI? let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Denise Chan
Denise Chan
Denise Chan is the Senior Content & Community Manager at Bitly. She geeks and writes about all things customer experience.
  • brands still prefer paying influencermarketing by CPM, not CPEngagement, how would it affect goal setting?