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Influencer Marketing Measurement: KPIs, Metrics, ROI

Paul-Louis Valat & Lance Concannon

Jan 1, 2024

Influencer marketing has become a hot topic. As a whole, the industry is worth an estimated $21.1 billion as of 2023 (Statista). Data suggests that 17% of companies have allocated over half of their budgets to influencers. And 89% of marketers say influencers are at least as effective as other channels. It’s a potentially lucrative tactic for marketers, but how do you know your influencer marketing campaigns are successful?

This fast-growing acquisition channel can add strength and scope to the rest of your marketing strategy. But as with any type of marketing, there are no guarantees. The only way to know whether your efforts pay off is to track your progress.

Strong ROI is possibly one of the influencer marketing industry’s greatest advantages, yet many find this the hardest KPI to quantify. This might be because of the unique ways brands spend money on influencers or the “newness” of the industry. 

Marketers are still learning how to calculate spending. However, you need to know just how valuable your influencers are to your brand and strategy, and the right KPIs and metrics will tell you everything you need to know.

More and more industry professionals rely on an important metric known as earned media value (EMV) to estimate an influencer campaign’s ROI. But there are other metrics that matter in an influencer program, too.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. Learning how to measure the success of an influencer campaign takes a slightly different approach compared to other types of marketing. It’s more fluid and less rooted in numbers.

So, how do we do influencer marketing measurement?

1. Measure according to the objectives of your influencer campaign

Setting campaign goals for your influencer marketing helps you decide what success looks like. Maybe it’s short-term sales, or a larger social media following, or something else. 

Once you set your goals, you can start connecting the dots between your current position and where you want to be. If you achieve your goals, consider your influencer campaign successful. 

And if you miss the mark, you might still call your campaign a success. Making progress toward those goals can show you something is working. Discover what you need to tweak or refine to do better on your next campaign.

Prove Your Value

There’s also the matter of proving your effectiveness to higher-ups. You’ll have a much better chance of getting more budget for your influencers if you can demonstrate how your efforts are working.

An influencer marketing report that details your influencer ROI is a great resource for this very purpose.  

Or, if you’re managing influencers on behalf of clients, you’ll become more valuable to them when you can support your work with data. Clients want to know their budgets are being well spent, and providing them with data that makes you look good can help you retain clients longer.

Predict Campaign Results

Once you know more about what works and what doesn’t in influencer marketing, you’re in a better position to win bigger and lose smaller over time. You can predict influencer campaign results before spending any money because you know how successful previous campaigns have been and what led to those wins.

An influencer marketing campaign can be thought of with many different goals in mind. For example:

These goals should be at the forefront of your campaign. At every step of planning & implementation, you should always keep this goal in your mind.

2. Choose your influencer marketing KPIs

There are different categories of influencer marketing metrics you can choose from:

Visibility indicators

  • The reach of influencers: Number of unique people who have seen their posts
  • Impressions obtained: Number of views of a post (the same person can be exposed several times to the same publication)

Indicators of engagement

  • Number of reactions: likes, favorites, reposts, etc.
  • Number of comments
  • Number of shares
  • Number of brand mentions
  • Publication engagement rate: number of followers

Community growth indicators

  • Number of new subscribers earned over the campaign period

Web traffic indicators

  • Clicks generated by influencer posts
  • New users
  • Page views
  • Session duration
  • Bounce rate

Sales Indicators / Lead Generation

  • Number of conversions
  • Influencer marketing ROI

Awareness indicators

3. Measure the ROI of your Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Track sales generated

It’s fairly easy to track sales generated from influencer campaigns. There are two main ways to track whether a sale has come from an influencer.

Using UTM tracking

UTM example

If you send your influencers links to your site to share, consider incorporating UTMs.

UTM tags (also called UTM parameters) are simple codes that you can attach to a custom URL. They’re useful in tracking influencer marketing performance.

UTMs allow you to see how many people are clicking on your links, where they’re coming from, and what type of device they’re using. This information helps you see which marketing channels are working and which ones aren’t.

Then follow the conversions generated from Google Analytics.

Promotional codes

Provide promo codes to influencers. Followers can then use this code at the checkout to receive a discount, you’ll then be able to track how many sales have been made through these codes.

Remember to give different links or promo codes to each influencer, so you can track the individual performance of each influencer. This will also be important if you have agreed to a commission for each sale generated with the influencers.

Similar to affiliate links, you can generate unique discount codes for your influencers to use in their content. These promo codes make it easy for marketers to track campaign performance at a glance. See which codes are driving the most conversions to see your influencers’ effectiveness.

Promo codes can also help you separate sales that come from influencers and sales that come from other marketing channels.

Another method of tracking sales that have been created off the back of your influencer marketing campaign is by looking at purchase trends to see if your campaign has generated sales peaks.

Why check this? It might be the case that a follower has seen an influencers post, but then organically searched for your brand or product, rather than use the UTM code.

Of course, not all influencer marketing campaigns aim to generate sales. How do we measure the ROI of these?

Compare to your own campaigns

If you prefer to rely on your own experiences, you can compare the performance of your influencer campaign to your other social media advertising campaigns.

For example, by comparing the cost per engagement, per click or lead of your paid campaigns to the performance and cost of your influence campaigns, you can estimate the return on investment of these.

Reading Tip: Are you wondering how much influencer marketing costs? Learn more about influencer pricing.

Take into account the other benefits of influencer marketing

Influencer campaigns have other benefits that are important to consider when reviewing your campaigns.

This type of campaign allows you to win new content, the one created by influencers. You can re-use their posts on your site, social media campaigns, emails, etc. (provided you have agreed with the influencers beforehand). This is usually quality, authentic content, featuring personalities familiar to your audience.

Also, unlike social media campaigns, content creation is outsourced, and usually supported by influencers, saving you time and money.

Calculating Influencer Marketing ROI with EMV

Traditional marketing channels will use ROI as one of the benchmark KPIs for tracking campaign impact. Since influencer marketing spend is allocated differently than native ads or PPC, estimating ROI is also done differently.

For this reason, we use the Earned Media Value (EMV) metric to estimate the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign.

What Is EMV?

The earned media value metric measures the value of reach and engagement received by an influencer on a campaign. It estimates how much you would have to spend on ads to receive the same results with paid media buying.

  • EMV is expressed in a dollar amount, 
  • Shows an influencer’s effectiveness
  • Does not reflect the revenue an influencer brings in

When calculating EMV, we distinguish between network, type of post, and type of engagement. Then we assign a benchmark value to each. 

Calculating ROI Using EMV

Many marketing professionals agree that influencer marketing is more valuable than traditional paid media. The nature of the content is naturally more authentic and intimate compared to a paid advertisement. The goals are different, too — influencers aim for engagement rather than just reach.

How do we know it is more valuable, you ask? Well, that’s where EMV comes in. 

As we mentioned earlier, EMV calculates how much money you would have to spend on paid media to achieve the same results (reach and engagements).

 It is estimated that influencer marketing is 10.52X more cost-effective than paid media. Or, to put it another way, it would cost $10.52 of paid ad spend per $1 of influencer spend to achieve the same results. 

To calculate your influencer marketing EMV, you can use this formula:

[(Total impressions/1000) * CPM] + (1500 * Cost Per Like) + (500 * Cost Per Comment) = EMV

Let’s say you’re doing a social media influencer campaign that earns 2,000 engagements, let’s say 1500 likes and 500 comments. We’ll assume a $3.00 cost per impression (CPM). 

Let’s plug that into our formula:

6 + 375 + 2500 = $2,881

Again, this is NOT the ROI of your campaign. But you can use this metric in conjunction with others to gauge the effectiveness of your influencer and see the value of your content.

Putting Influencer Marketing ROI Into Context

Once you calculate your influencer marketing ROI, you also need to understand what to do next. Metrics without context aren’t very helpful.

This KPI should not exist independently. Rather, it should act as a benchmark for understanding your general marketing ROI and how it relates to your other marketing channels. 

For example, you might compare social media ROI of various channels. Your Instagram influencers might be bringing in more traffic and sales than your YouTube influencers, or vice versa. These metrics can show you where you should invest more or less.

Set success metrics to measure your various marketing channels (i.e., reach, engagements, conversions) and analyze these metrics against the ROI of each channel. Identify which channels are achieving success metrics in the most cost-effective manner, and set a strategy that optimizes these channels. 

4. Get the tools you need to measure your influencer campaigns

To gather this data, you will need to equip yourself with the right tools.

Here are the tools needed to measure the indicators listed above:

Google Analytics

Ideal (and free!) To track all the KPIs related to your websites like the traffic obtained and the conversions generated.

A spreadsheet (and a lot of patience)

If you want to manually track the performance of social media posts from your influencers, you can create a spreadsheet and record the number of engagements, comments, and endorsements received.

Impressions will not be visible publicly, so you will need to ask influencers to share them directly.

However, some indicators are very difficult and time consuming to measure manually, especially when working with multiple influencers at the same time.

Use an Influencer marketing platform

Screenshot of the Meltwater and Klear Influencer Marketing Platform

Influencer marketing tools like Meltwater Influencer Marketing do all the work for you through collecting and measuring your different KPIs (Reach, Impressions, mentions, sentiment, etc.). All you have to do is analyze the results!

These platforms generally allow you to retrieve all content generated by influencers (even Instagram Stories, which is notoriously difficult to track!) and analyze the results in depth.

Get your free Meltwater Social Influencers demo today and learn how to measure your influencer programs with Meltwater →

5. Create your campaign report

An Influencer campaign report is a data-driven aggregation of a campaign’s content that offers macro and granular insights into the performance of the campaign. It is common to create campaign reports at the end of a campaign to review a campaign’s impact and to share successes with relevant stakeholders.

Creating a report is the best way to analyze your campaigns and make better decisions for your strategy. It’s also important to internally showcase your efforts and what your work brings to your business.

A campaign report should include all the content that appeared in your campaign across all mediums. In order to measure the content, the report should include relevant metrics that align with the goals of your campaign. All of Meltwater Influencer Marketing's campaign reports include Impressions generated by the campaign and individual influencers, as well as the Earned Media Value of the campaign and individual posts.

To evaluate your influence marketing work, two types of reports are possible:

A specific campaign report

This type of report allows you to analyze a specific campaign, product launch, brand event, or special promotion.

We focus here on the objectives of the campaign (sales, brand awareness, engagement), which we can choose to compare with other campaigns. The benefit of comparing to previous campaigns is you can realistically benchmark against previous work.

Over a time period (month, quarter, year)

This type of report is interesting if you work with influencers over a long run.

The report will be built around the objectives of this long-term campaign and will highlight the evolution over time of these different KPIs (month after month, quarter after quarter, etc.).

You can also incorporate a competitive benchmark to compare your influencer strategy with other players in your market.

The benefit of a time period report, as opposed to a campaign report, is that sometimes we won’t see all the results of a campaign until much later down the line.

What metrics to include in your influencer campaign report

  • Detailed analysis of each influencer: number of posts, true reach, engagement rate
  • Analyze specific posts by engagement, sales etc.
  • Analyze audience reached: age, location, gender and interests
  • Analysis of the mentions generated: key trends, sentiment, increase in mentions
  • Comparison: to a past period, to a competitor, to a similar campaign
Influencer marketing metric screenshot

Sharing Campaign Report

Campaign reports are meant to highlight your campaign performance, so they should be digestible, easy on the eye, and easy to share. Sharing a report is extremely important because it lets all the relevant decision-makers understand the success of your campaign. Whether you’re an agency sharing a campaign report with clients, or a brand sharing your work with the rest of your team, having a data-driven method to highlight success will provide confidence in our stakeholders and help build lasting relationships.

6. Learn for your next influencer marketing campaigns

Analyzing your influencer campaigns should allow you to create an action plan to optimize your communications strategy. Here are some examples of lessons to be learned:

Effective content for your audience

Influencers in your industry know what kind of content will resonate with your audience. Pay special attention to the content they offer you as part of your campaign.

Once the campaign is over, identify the publications that have generated the most reactions, and get inspired for your own content strategy.

The most engaging influencers

By analyzing the impact of each influencer during your campaign, you will be able to determine which ones were most effective.

You can then focus on these influencers and build long-term relationships with them.

Discovery of new ambassadors

If your campaign is effective, it will generate mentions and comments. Scan the profiles of people who have mentioned you, you may find your next ambassadors!

7. Predict Influencer Campaign Results

Meltwater Influencer Marketing offers a Predictive Mode feature that allows users to see predicted campaign results before the campaign goes live.

To use the feature, users simply input the expected deliverable for each influencer. For example, if one influencer should post three stories and two feed posts, simple manually input that into the expected deliverable column. Then our machine learning technology will look at the results of your influencer’s past content and predict the results. 
Predictive metrics include

  • Engagements 
  • Engagement Rate 
  • True Reach 
  • Earned Media Value

Best of all, predictions are specific for each influencer in a campaign. Meaning each influencer can have unique expected deliverables and individual predictive results. 

Predict Campaign ROI

Not only can you predict campaign content performance, but you can predict the ROI of your collaboration. A vital tool when budgeting. Simply input the expected budget for your influencer. Meltwater's Predictive Mode will analyze that against the expected deliverable, and estimate performance data to help you understand the assumed value of each collaboration.

8. Measuring Influencer Marketing Success with Meltwater

Measuring influencer marketing success is usually the last step in a campaign. But at Meltwater, we think that measurement should be part of the whole process, not just something you do after the fact.

Track Influencer Campaigns With Unlimited Monitors

With Meltwater Influencer Marketing entire campaign tracking process is easy and seamless. When creating a new campaign you can immediately set as many monitors required to adequately measure your campaign. Best of all, these do not have to be pre-set monitors used to discover influencers or monitor your industry. These are monitors that are purely related to your campaign.

Influencer campaign monitors

What’s the value of multiple campaign monitors? It expands the breadth of your campaign tracking. Say you’ve created a hashtag for your campaign, #mycampaignhashtag, but some of your influencers are only using your brand’s Instagram handle, @mybusiness. Now you can capture and measure all content, regardless of how your influencers promote content.

Or, perhaps you have multiple #hashtags for your campaign. You no longer have to pick one #hashtag as the monitor, both will pull in the content for analysis.

Measure the ROI of Your Influencer Campaigns

Monitoring campaign content is one of the most important stages of an influencer campaign. Without a complete catalog of content, you will have no way of assessing impact. Meltwater Influencer Marketing's unlimited campaign tracking capability ensures that you never miss any campaign content.

Influencer ROI tracking

Once content is aggregated, Meltwater's deep learning algorithm can automatically estimate campaign ROI. This feature is extremely important, especially as the influencer industry moves away from metrics such as Likes, Follower Count, and Comments. Our tool helps decision-makers identify which influencer, content form, and social platform is the most impactful. And, with the ability to predict ROI, you can strategically budget for future campaigns.

Automatically Monitor All Influencer Content

Best of all, with our unlimited tracking capability, you know for sure that all campaign-related content will be saved. Meaning you don’t have to manually save all of your influencer content to an excel or screenshot Instagram stories. Set as many filters as you need, so no stone goes unturned.

Experienced marketers know that manually monitoring influencer content can take hours, even days, and takes away from time-sensitive tasks. We want you to leave the manual labor to us, so you can confidently focus on developing your influencer marketing strategy.

Get a Demo of Meltwater Influencer Marketing

Learn how to measure influencer campaigns a better way! Our platform gives you data-driven insights from start to finish. Discover and vet influencers who share your target audience, and partner with influencers who are most likely to give you great results. Then, easily track your campaigns in real-time, step-by-step. Monitor all your most important performance indicators and high-performing influencer posts. Track consumer sentiment and see how your influencers are making a difference.

Easily manage and scale your influencer campaigns with our influencer marketing hub - demo Meltwater banner

When creating your reports, don’t forget to analyze a range of metrics. Keep influencer fraud in the back of your mind. This is where influencers fake followers & engagement.

“There are literally thousands of influencers who are making a full-time living out of creating the appearance of having a big audience when in several cases 95% of their engagement is fake,” Bartlett said. “In real terms, you’re paying $1,000 to get 1,000 people to act, but really if I only get 50 people to act I’m stealing $950.”  says Social Chains CEO, Steve Bartlett.

Make sure you are blending a range of metrics based on your objectives to ensure accurate influencer marketing reporting.

Contrary to what one might think, it is quite possible (and simple) to estimate the impact and return on investment of influencer marketing. The key is to focus on the important indicators for your business, and serve you this as a springboard for your next campaigns, and make use of a social influencer hub!

Budgeting for Influencer Marketing

It’s easy to figure out your influencer marketing costs, but you also need to know how much value you’re getting in return. As you may know, influencer rates can vary widely, depending on things like audience size (e.g., micro-influencers versus mega-influencers), social channels, type of content, and more. The right tools can simplify the budgeting process for you.

Influencer marketing rates 2023 Nano and Micro
Influencer marketing rates 2023 Macro and Mega

How to Understand Influencer Rates

Once you’ve understood your influencer marketing ROI and you’re ready to budget for your next campaign, you need a general understanding of influencer rates. Knowing ahead of time what influencers charge can help you estimate your budget with a sense of accuracy. You can also enter negotiations and rate-setting fairly.

To help you budget with a sense of ease, we’ve surveyed over 4,800 influencers to better understand rates and pricing trends in the influencer industry and created a complete influencer rate card

Influencer rate cards can give you a general idea of what you might expect to pay based on an influencer’s audience size and type of content. However, keep in mind that these are baseline rates and may vary slightly depending on your project.

How To Achieve Cost-Effective Goals Through Influencer Marketing 

Optimizing your influencer marketing strategy for the best possible outcomes at the lowest spend hinges on good data. Analytics gives you direct insight into what’s working and what’s less effective so you can adjust your spending in the right areas.

Leveraging third-party tools like Meltwater Influencer Marketing that quantify campaign performance on your behalf can help you skip some of the heavy lifting and get straight to the insights. Use analytics to conduct audits on all of your social accounts and see where you’re moving the needle in your marketing strategy.

Meltwater Influencer Marketing also helps you find and vet influencers that will be a great fit for your brand based on various factors, including brand relevance, values, audience engagement, audience size, and more. This gives you a better chance of forming the right long-term partnerships from the beginning instead of having to trial-and-error with multiple influencers to see who fits best.

Fill out the form below for a demo of Meltwater Influencer Marketing.