At one time, influencer marketing consisted of finding the most prominent celebrity a brand could afford, striking a deal with them to post about your product, garnering a bunch of views, and calling it a day (or campaign). But the industry is undoubtedly growing up, especially as it pertains to measurement.
The days of leveraging influencer marketing purely as a brand awareness tool are over. One big reason for this is the maturation of the measurement and optimization capabilities of social media ad platforms. Now with platforms providing more granular reporting metrics, attribution data, and specific ad placements, we are able to customize paid media campaigns for our clients based on their campaign objective, opening the door to the next-generation of more meaningful measurement within the industry.
Influencer marketing has not only transcended the days of brand awareness, but advertisers are now investing large chunks of their budgets into Influencer marketing alongside their traditional search, social, and display campaigns.
The Emerging Metrics Driving ROI
There comes a time when the luster wears off the bright shiny object in the room, and marketers are forced to go under the hood. In the case of influencer marketing, advertisers now expect (and demand) proof of real ROI for each campaign. The metrics emerging as initial indicators of ROI include cost per acquisition, revenue per customer, Life-Time Value (LTV), click-to-websites, total interactions, and cost-per-view.
One of the best ways to show this is through paid media distribution behind the influencer content, which guarantees that we are reaching the client’s target audience consisting of specific demographics, psychographics, and other first and third-party data sets. This targeting capability paired with creator channel authentication enables detailed campaign reporting, that measure specific outcomes tied to the campaign objective. And with brands, agencies, and marketers having a deeper understanding of what KPIs they want to transact on, it helps them create and curate their campaigns accordingly.
The Next Step: Proving Sales Lift
Social platforms have made some significant advancements when it comes to campaign reporting capabilities. We are now able to optimize the media buy in real-time for Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) customers when they are able to pass conversion and LTV data back to our media team. But for CPG clients measuring the campaign’s ROI for offline sales, it requires the layering of additional data sets to truly understand sales lift. One way the influencer marketing industry is doing this is through match market tests, which have already emerged as a necessary demand for CPG brands when engaging with creators.
Match market testing is a process that helps identify the real impact of advertising on sales by controlling the other variables that impact sales for a brand, category, or market. Brands typically execute this by running a campaign nationally, while picking a controlled set of sister cities. In one city you run the campaign, and in one city you don’t. Then you compare the data after a certain amount of time and see if there is a sales lift, which essentially results in a geo-targeted based A/B test.
Influencer marketing is on an undeniable path to maturation, transcending the traditional norms, and asserting itself as a viable marketing channel. In addition to sales lift for industries like CPG, influencers are also being leveraged to drive app-downloads and subscriptions for DTC brands effectively. So, when it comes to influencer marketing, if you can prove your campaign sells the product, you’re winning.
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