By Sofia Kumpumäki
Maybe it goes without saying, but the backbone of data-driven influencer marketing is data, and the only way to collect data is to focus on KPIs. That being said, depending on what type of campaign you’re running and what your goals are, that data might differ. Subsequently, the KPIs will also differ. Because of this, it’s important that you understand how crucial KPIs are to a successful influencer marketing campaign but also which KPIs to focus on. In fact, without knowing what KPIs to use, you won't be able to determine whether your campaign has been successful or not. If you’re not sure what KPIs in influencer marketing are or you need advice figuring out which KPIs are suitable for your next campaign, you’ve come to the right place. Below we share our top KPI tips based on many years of experience with data-driven influencer marketing.
What Are KPIs?
Not sure what KPIs are? Then there is no need to worry because it’s a rather easy concept to understand. KPI is short for key performance indicators - sometimes called just performance indicator - and they can be used to measure progress in pretty much any part of your business. For example, KPIs can be used to track everything from sales and customer acquisition to manufacturing and supply chain management. In fact, chances are that you are already tracking KPIs within your business, at least if you’re interested in growing and developing. In other words, KPIs are the numbers you look at to determine whether a project was successful, whether you are manufacturing is running as expected or simply to track your reach and brand awareness.
It’s important that you decide on which KPIs you’re going to evaluate before you start an influencer marketing campaign or you will be running campaigns for no reason. KPIs are also the only way to evaluate how well a campaign is performing. Normally, KPIs are based on the goals you have for the said campaign. For example, if increasing sales is your goal, you’ll look at KPIs related to conversion, and if you want to boost your reach, you might look at KPIs related to brand awareness and growth. To help you figure out which KPIs are important for you, we’ve curated a list of the most important ones below.
Conversion - Are You Selling Anything?
In most cases, the goal of an influencer marketing campaign is to drive sales and therefore, the conversion is one of the most common and important KPIs for anyone working in social media marketing. The goal of a conversion KPI is to evaluate and track how much you’re selling as a direct result of the campaign you are running, and there are several ways one can do so. One easy but not very accurate way to track sales is to compare the numbers before, during, and after the campaign to see if the number of sales spiked. Although, it’s more common to use affiliate links and UTM links as well as specific landing pages in order to get the exact numbers. In addition, conversions can mean more than just sales. For many, lead generation or customer acquisition is the main conversion goal, and in other situations, your goal could be to increase your following or boost your brand awareness. Depending on the goal, the specific KPIs you’ll focus on will differ, and we will talk more about that below.
Traffic - How Many Potential Customers Followed Your Links?
Besides tracking your conversion rates, measuring traffic and where that traffic came from is almost equally as important. When tracking traffic as a KPI, you will be able to determine how effective a landing page is by comparing the number of visitors to your number of sales. In turn, this can help you fine tune your landing pages and offerings for future projects. Better yet, if you’re using several influencers at once, you can use traffic to determine which influencers performed better. Similar to conversion as a KPI, traffic is easily checked using traceable links. And we strongly advise you to provide all your influencers with their own unique links so that you can track them independently.
That being said, a simple tool like Google Analytics can also provide you with a lot of insight into where your traffic is coming from and whether your campaign is working.
Engagement Rates - The Foundation of Influencer Marketing
There is no denying that conversion is the most important KPI in any form of marketing. However, in influencer marketing, you and your influencers engagement rates are almost as important. As a matter of fact, in many campaigns, increasing engagement rates is the main goal and therefore also the KPI you’ll focus on most. By keeping a close eye on your engagement, you can paint a picture of how well certain influencers perform but also how effective the content is. Naturally, there are many types of engagements that you can focus on depending on which platform you use and what type of content you are sharing.
Some of the most common engagement factors that brands look at are:
- Reactions (Facebook)
- Brand mentions
Reach - Number of Impressions Per Post
Just because you have high engagement rates doesn’t necessarily mean your content and campaign are as optimal as possible which is why you want to compare your engagement with your reach. To give an example, if an Instagram post has a high reach compared to the actual engagement, it means a lot of people saw the post but most didn’t interact with it. Your goal is to have reach and engagement on similar levels because that means the post engaged your intended target group.
The only exception to this rule is YouTube where you can have a lot of views (impressions) but not as many engagements (votes and comments), although the higher the engagement the better. Now, measuring your reach is not always easy or even possible although some social media platforms allow it. If you are running ads on Instagram or Facebook, Facebook Ads Manager provides information about the number of impressions. Similarly, Instagram Stories and Snapchat show you exactly how many people have seen your content, and with a Business Account on Instagram, you get regular updates about your reach.
Quality of Traffic - How Are People Interacting With Your Site?
If you’re into SEO or just want to have an optimized website that offers a great user experience, you should also track the quality of your traffic. Naturally, this is something you should be doing all the time, but if you’re into influencer marketing, you need to pay more attention to the details during your campaigns. When we talk about quality traffic, we don’t necessarily mean converting traffic even though that is technically great traffic. Instead, we want you to look at more specific KPIs such as bounce rate, exit rates, and session duration. Not only can this help you evaluate how people interact on your site, but it will also give you a better rating on Google’s search engine algorithm which can lead to more organic conversions later on.
Moreover, keeping an eye on bounce rates, click through rates, and session duration will give you an idea of whether people were sticking around on your site or web shop by clicking internal links, or if they left the site right away. It can also tell you if people came to your designated landing page and decided not to make a purchase because they became interested in something else you're offering, i.e. leading to an indirect conversion.
Growth - More Followers Is Always Good
Lastly but definitely not least, a KPI that everyone in influencer marketing needs to pay attention to is social media growth such as new followers on Instagram and more page likes on Facebook. Growth is one of those things that trickle down and affect all your other KPIs. When your number of organic followers grow, your potential reach will increase and so will your engagement rates. In turn, that can lead to further growth and a delayed conversion boost.
Also, growth can be an indication that a campaign is working even when it’s not producing sales. Just because you hire influencers and start a campaign doesn’t mean all your potential clients are ready for what you’re offering. However, if the message is strong enough and you get people’s attention, they will likely follow you on social media with the goal of interacting with you later. Therefore, a successful influencer marketing campaign should not only help you convert and maximize your engagement rates, but it should also help you grow. In fact, in certain cases, your main campaign goal might be growth, making gaining new followers on Instagram your conversion goal.
Our point is that growth, as in more followers on social media, is a KPI that should be considered for every and all influencer marketing campaigns even when it’s not the main goal.
By now, you should have a better idea of what some of the most important KPIs are in influencer marketing. We also hope that you better understand how one measures success when marketing on social media using KPIs. And to finish this guide off, we want to remind you that you can and should look at several KPIs for each campaign. Even though your main goal is to drive traffic and sell a product, it’s good to determine if your engagement levels are higher or lower than normal as well as evaluating the quality of the traffic.