With growing engagement of billion and billions of people on social media every day, brands have recognised its potential in terms of marketing and publicity. One of the social marketing tricks that is gaining popularity with supersonic speed is Influencer Marketing.

Influencer Marketing has proven to be a powerful tool that brands are leveraging to gain visibility and earn loyal customers. In fact, it's giving traditional advertising - a tried and tested strategy in marketing - a run for its money. According to Forbes, 92% of consumers trust influencers more than a traditional advertisement.

As phenomenal as influencer marketing might be in ensuring reach and visibility for your brand, how do you track ROI on it? It isn’t as straightforward as traditional means of marketing, and the results aren’t always as tangible as direct sales or lead generation. So, how do you see if you’re getting your money’s worth?

But before we answer HOW, let’s put the spotlight on WHAT. What are the different parameters that brands can track to calculate ROI on influencer marketing?

The Metrics of Influencer Marketing

There could be multiple reasons why a brand opts for an influencer marketing campaign. But to refine the outcomes, it is essential that you, as a brand, decide what primary metric you want to track. Setting measurable metrics instead of just focusing on 'drive awareness' works the best. Some brands may be more interested in building their follower base while others prioritise conversions and sales. Depending on the goals of your influencer marketing campaign, there are varied parameters that a brand can track. Here they are:

  1. Audience Reach
  2. Impressions
  3. Engagement
  4. Sentiment
  5. Conversions

Let's look at each of these parameters one by one.

Followers

It has been common practice for businesses to track their audience reach. The idea is simple - the more people who see the promotion, the more likely they are to react and buy your products, sign up for the subscription, or visit your website.

However, basing your ROI entirely on audience reach isn't a wise move. The calculation is fairly straightforward - total number of influencers’ followers per rupee spent on the campaign. But, there's no exact connection between the number of followers and number of people who see your content, and for this reason, it doesn't generate a particularly meaningful statistic.

Impressions  

In most situations, impressions work better to measure visibility on social media than audience reach. Impressions - the number of times people view a post on social media - is an important statistic that helps you judge the true reach of an influencer. It tells you how many people are genuinely paying attention to the post.   

These statistics come in handy when you are comparing the reach of multiple influencers. You can also weigh the impressions on a particular post shared by an influencer during a campaign to the number of impressions you usually receive on the post when shared on your own social media channels.

Engagement  

Having people see your brand or product is one thing; getting them to take notice is another. In addition to the audience reach we discussed above, you must take into account how these followers are engaging with the post.

In the current scenario, engagement on social media works on a much broader spectrum. A more appropriate measure would be when you look at a combination of shares, comments, and likes.

When determining ROI of an influencer, somebody who is regularly engaging with their followers and whose followers are dedicatedly chatting back with them will prove to be more influential for your brand than somebody who merely broadcasts without any engagement, even with a considerable following.

  

Sentiments  

When exploiting both the engagement and impressions statistics, one of the best ways to juice out positive results is to look at your targeted audience sentiment behind particular posts. For example, what kind of topics catch their attention the most? Which posts do they like the most, comment on the most, and ultimately share the most.

While it’s not easy to evaluate a numerical ROI on sentiment, it does help you to decide upon the kind of content you would want to use with influencers when aiming for the best possible outcome. Hence, by observing which of your brand’s posts resonate among the influencers and their followers, and which they ignore, you can better strategize your future campaigns.

Conversions

Most people confuse conversion with an increase in sales value. However, in the marketing industry, a conversion is when you manage to get somebody to respond to your Call to Action (CTA), and it could vary depending on the goal you set at the beginning of the campaign. For example, if your purpose was to add an extra 20 email addresses to your database each day throughout the campaign, every new email id you got would be a successful conversion. On the other hand, if your goal was brand awareness, then a retweet with a brand mention would also be considered a conversion.

However, to determine an actual Return On Investment, you need to assign a monetary value to each additional conversion and decide how much each extra “item of conversion” is worth to you. In some cases, it will straightforward. A sale of a 200  rupees book is clearly worth 200 rupees to you, but in other cases (such as the new emails you've collected) it may be less tangible.

Influencer marketing is a smart and effective way to create a buzz leading to conversion. But without the ability to measure the ROI, it’s difficult to know what is working the best for your brand. And there is no ROI without a set goal. So, once you're sure of the results you're aiming at and what you want the influencers to accomplish for your brand, tracking the corresponding metrics to measure the success of your campaign becomes a whole lot easier.

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