How Companies Should Evaluate an Influencer’s ROI

By Kaitlin Clark, Marketing & Media Analyst

30_3284_med2

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “Influencer Marketing” in the past year, I could take that money, invest it and never work another day in my life.

Influencer Marketing is all the rage and many in marketing will tell you to “Invest in Influencers!” because they are more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods.

And, they’re not wrong. Studies show that 70% of Millennial consumers are influenced by their peers. Brands, ranging from large corporations like Coca-Cola and Delta to local businesses like coffee shops and clothing boutiques, are all using influencers to promote their brands in order to get that “authentic” and “organic” touch.

Influencer marketing is an incredibly effective strategy when done correctly. Planning and researching influencers and your target market online before selecting an influencer is a great way to ensure that your business is partnering with the right choice for your brand.

But wait a minute, what happens after a brand uses an influencer to promote their brand, product or event? How can an organization tell if using Influencer Marketing was effective? Below are three ways that we’ve found effective in measuring ROI for Influencer Marketing.

  1. Quality

Though it might sound like an oxymoron, we seek to quantify the qualitative nature of a post. We look at both the authenticity and effectiveness of a post. Is the content that’s been produced believable and authentic? Does the content connect with the projected target audience? Is the photo or video excellent quality? If the answer is no to any of these questions, your business may need to reevaluate if the chosen influencer is a good fit for your brand. At Jackson, we’ve developed a scoring rubric to quantify these qualitative features of a post. It’s a beautiful blend of art and science!

  1. Engagement

OK, this is where I can start to get on my soapbox if I’m not careful. Let’s say your brand has chosen to partner with an influencer that has 50,000 followers. If that influencer is averaging 100–200 likes on their posts, then there is definitely something off with their follower count to be averaging an engagement rate that low. The average Instagram engagement rate is 4.7%. By using the average engagement rate in the example listed above, the influencer should be receiving ~2,350 likes per post. As you can see, something is not adding up. Having a large follower count does not matter if the followers aren’t real and engaged. Perhaps it’s a better use of your company’s resources to partner with a micro-influencer, someone with 1,000 to 10,000 followers, that has a higher engagement rate; meaning that their followers are actively engaging and excited about the content being posted.

Some would argue that engagements matter more than anything else when it comes to evaluating whether an influencer’s partnership is worth the investment. Using a social listening tool to keep tabs on an influencer’s performance or even having the influencer send over their analytics so your business can see key metrics is imperative. In my opinion, this is the most important step in evaluating ROI. If the metrics consistently fall short of projections, it’s probably time to choose a new influencer.

  1. Mechanics

Another area to consider when reviewing an influencer’s performance is their knowledge and utilization of the social media platforms that they’re using. For example, if on Instagram, an influencer should be using Instagram stories, tagging your brand, using appropriate hashtags and maybe even using live videos. Maybe your brand is hosting an event and has invited an influencer to help garner excitement and awareness—an excellent platform to use for real-time event postings is Twitter. If an influencer isn’t taking advantage of live tweeting, responding to their followers’ questions/comments about the event, or appropriately using hashtags on Twitter, then they’re not taking full advantage of the platform. To generate meaningful engagements, an influencer needs to appropriately use social media platforms to their fullest extent. Choosing an influencer who understands how to leverage various social platforms will only benefit your brand and increase your potential reach.

Hopefully, the key criteria listed above can jump-start your business’s evaluation on how beneficial Influencer Marketing is to your brand.