Influencer marketing is still a very young discipline, but its importance is increasing and with it the degree of professionalization. Certainly, those who invest more into this channel want more clarity about the success of campaigns too. While engagement rates were previously used as a measure for influencer marketing campaigns’ success, other key performance indicators (KPIs) will become more important in the future.
The reason is that likes, comments, and shares for posts or campaigns are becoming fewer and less important. In addition, their informative value is dwindling, and engagement rates are falling. Therefore, it makes more sense to focus on increasing attention and relevance in certain target groups in influencer marketing, as well as pushing traffic and sales and developing new target groups.
According to experts, the success of influencer campaigns is so far primarily based on reach data, with net reach (achieved followers) coming first. However, gross reach (impressions), clicks on the landing page and story views, are considered as well—but reach is not everything.
Marketing managers and agencies must keep an eye on the criteria of brand and audience fit when selecting influencers, since the impact of influencer campaigns increases enormously when influencers and their community are an ideal match for the brand. Micro-influencers with fewer than 50,000 followers, who are increasingly used for special niche topics, are particularly popular, as it has been proven that proximity to the fans counts more than reach.
Follower loyalty and brand sympathy
A high level of loyalty between the followers and their influencer gives a campaign credibility. That results in "trust" becoming a KPI for marketers, because the trust of the followers has a direct impact on the image and branding of the company and its activities. In the two areas of 'influencer selection' and 'campaign evaluation', brands and agencies should, therefore, define engagement key figures and other sustainable KPIs in influencer marketing.
For selecting influencers:
- The KPIs that play a role in the selection of the right influencer include the influencer's credibility and the perceived coolness factor, as well as their level of activation. The latter evaluates the influencer's ability to activate his/her followers to test and buy recommended products. The more popular an influencer is in the community, the more likely the followers are willing to use, for instance, discount codes that play a major role in sales.
- Key figures on the side of the followers are the loyalty to their influencer, but also consumer behavior, attitudes, and topic interests.
For evaluating the campaigns:
- Campaign-accompanying advertising impact studies examine not only reach and socio-demographic factors, such as age and gender, but values like brand sympathy and product awareness, willingness to recommend, as well as the tonality and relevance of follower comments. Because it is not the number of comments that ultimately determines the success of the campaign, but its quality, i.e., how followers respond to the brand.
- Comments and surveys on likeability and awareness values show whether there is a positive image transfer from the influencer to the brand—for strong branding and a community that is also motivated to test and buy a product.
- Another important indicator for the success of a campaign is the user-generated content. It shows how well the influencer succeeds in motivating followers to become active themselves and to create content in which they use campaign hashtags and tag the brand. An influencer, for instance, can call on his/her followers to post their best vacation photo under the hashtag of a travel provider to win a travel voucher. The success of the campaign can then be measured directly via the number of campaign hashtags used and the tonality of the content.
By Daniela La Marca