Influencer marketing is mainstream. With 80% of marketers engaging influencers, both brands and agencies are consolidating their efforts into unified practices across the digital landscape.
Technology is required to launch, maintain, and scale those practices. Brands are using influencers as one of the primary content creation drivers in their businesses, and repurposing that content across their own social channels, websites and microsites, email marketing, and in programmatic display. More social channels and mediums exist than ever before, which means elevated complexity in measurement and strategy. As with any marketing initiative, program performance needs to be measured to demonstrate value and ROI.
Influencer marketing has similarities to digital media, and both can be measured by looking at engagement metrics. The mistake marketers make is to compare influencer marketing with other digital media campaign engagement metrics side by side.
Digital media engagement metrics
Engagement rates measure the level of interaction that a piece of content or an ad is receiving from an audience, including comments, likes, shares, pins, retweets, etc. Cost per engagement, or CPE, is the price paid when an ad or piece of sponsored content is engaged with and is measured by dividing the cost of the program with the sum of all social media engagements.
These engagement metrics are vital to measure influencer marketing. However, there are two key variables, timeframe and spend, that are different in traditional digital programs due to the cost to acquire this content and the lifespan of that content on social platforms.
Influencer-generated content delivers value over longer periods of time, hence its evergreen nature. Take a Pinterest post, for example, that may be surfaced in search for years after it was initially Saved. This evergreen effect of social content makes it difficult to compare influencer campaign performance to other digital campaigns that have distinct start and end dates. Marketers run the risk of undervaluing an influencer marketing campaign that may continue to perform over many months because it was measured based on its performance after an 8-week timeframe instead of over a longer period.
“Don’t let your KPIs overshadow the importance of knowing exactly how your digital marketing strategies are performing in relation to your peers who are competing against you in the market.”-Marketing Profs
TapInfluence, in a study done by Nielsen Catalina Solutions, found that a single piece of influencer content showed a 4X ROI after four months, however it showed an 11X dollar-for-dollar sales lift over a 12-month period. Additionally, the CPM halved every three months over the same twelve-month period.
As marketers become more and more data centric, tracking results and showing value and return on investment has become a requirement for proving value and keeping marketing initiatives funded. Additionally, with tools such as Google Analytics, marketing automation systems, and performance reporting getting metrics is standard. However, understanding “what good looks like” is not always so straightforward.
“The number one question clients ask about their influencer programs is how it performed against industry standards. In the past, it was difficult to gauge due to lack of resources. Now, however, with the TapInfluence Benchmarking tool, we have access to analytics from thousands of programs at our fingertips. It’s so exciting!”
– Deanna Dugo, Account Supervisor, Influencer Marketing, Ketchum
Introducing TapInfluence Benchmarks for Influencer Marketing
Benchmarks help you compare the performance of your programs to industry standards and examines engagement rates to provide the best relative understanding of your influencer marketing campaign’s performance. Until now, there has been no general repository of historical data that could be analyzed dynamically across different categories and social platforms. TapInfluence has released the industry’s first, validated benchmarks for influencer marketing, based on over eight years of repository campaign and transaction data on over 2000 influencer marketing programs in multiple verticals and categories.
The TapInfluence Benchmarks make it possible to understand how well influencer marketing campaigns are truly performing relative to tens of thousands of data points. This enables marketers to optimize their spend by benchmarking performance of programs by both social channel, category, and even influencer. Benchmarks are intended to be an iterative guide to maximize return on investment with sponsored content and ultimately driving the one metric that really does matter – sales.
The TapInfluence Benchmarks are calculated using view rates for blogs and engagement rates for social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram. TapInfluence updates this data weekly so customers always have access to the most current measurements.
How benchmark scores are calculated
The performance of individual content posts is compared against our historical category and social platform data. For example, if an influencer produced a beauty Instagram post 15 days ago, the performance of that content it would be compared to both 15-day old beauty category benchmark and Instagram benchmark.
Performance of the content is classified as “below average” when it’s below the 33rd percentile, “within average” when it’s between the 34th and 66th percentile, and “above average” when it’s above the 67th percentile.
Based on the distribution of the content’s performance, a weighted score is calculated for the category your program is associated with and for each social platform your program has content on. Benchmark scores can be broken down into three categories with 1-3 indicating “below average”, 4-7 being within “average”, and 8-10 signaling “above average.”