How Do You Measure the ROI of Influencer Marketing?

Measuring the success of your influencer relationships is both necessary and delicate work. Measuring return on investment (ROI) was the biggest challenge for influencer marketing in 2018, according to a Linqia study:

measure the king of influence marketing
Source: Linqia

So, how do we measure the efficiency and ROI of campaigns?

1. Measure according to the objectives of your campaign

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

  • Improve your brand’s reputation
  • Promote a product/service
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Community growth
  • Generate sales or leads

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.

Bonus Extra: Watch this free on-demand Webinar on How to Build an Influencer Marketing Strategy That Works for a step-by-step guide into building an effective strategy.

2. Choose your KPIs

Visibility indicators:

  • The reach of influencer: 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, favourites, 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
  • ROI

Awareness indicators:

  • The share of your brand’s voice against your competitors
  • Key message penetration

3. How to 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.

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

Tracking purchase trends.

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.

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, usually supported by the influencers themselves, saving you time and money on your side.

4. Get the tools you need to measure your 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.

An influencer marketing platform

A platform of influence like Meltwater does all the work for you, through collecting and measuring your different KPIs (Reach, Impressions, mentions, sentiment, etc.). All you have to do is analyse the results!

social influencer relationships

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

5. Create your campaign report

Creating a report is the best way to analyse 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.

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

A specific campaign report

This type of report allows you to analyse 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 report

  • Detailed analysis of each influencer: number of posts, true reach, engagement rate
  • Analyse specific posts by engagement, sales etc.
  • Analyse 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
report influencers campaign

Bonus Extra: Access this free eBook on The State of Influencer Marketing for even more industry insights. 

6. Learn for your next campaigns

Analysing your influencer campaigns should allow you to create an action plan to optimise 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 analysing 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. Final thoughts

When creating your reports, don’t forget to analyse 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 reporting.

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

The Top 5 PR Campaigns of 2018

2018 was a banner year for brands who were able to think outside the box when it came to their PR campaigns.

Those that constructed PR campaigns that looked beyond advertising and considered how the campaign would play with the media were able to leverage their efforts to score some big wins in earned coverage.

The Top PR Campaigns of 2018

1. easyJet

Female empowerment was a thread in several of this year’s top campaigns.

Our first example? easyJet worked to inspire more girls to become airline pilots.

They developed their PR campaign based on research that shows childhood role models are crucial in inspiring young people to consider a piloting a career.

The company shot a short film recreating the scene from the Leonardo DiCaprio film, “Catch Me If You Can.” The daughter of a real easyJet captain, Hannah Revie, portrayed the DiCaprio character. She’s flanked by an entourage of boys (also played by children of easyJet’s staff) acting as members of the cabin crew.

Currently, only 5% of all pilots worldwide are female. easyJet has set a target for 20% of new pilots joining the airline to be women by 2020.

Burger King

Burger King is another example of a brand embracing women as part of its strategy in 2018.

To help commemorate the passing of a law allowing women in Saudi Arabia to drive, Burger King offered a free Whopper sandwich for every woman who visited one of its drive-throughs behind the wheel. The sandwiches sported a wrapper printed with the phrase, “Celebrating our driving women,” in both English and Arabic.

Beyond the WhoppHER effort, Burger King has had a number of successful campaigns in 2018. From its AI ads to its Whopper Neutrality campaign, the brand is seemingly everywhere. The ad campaigns drive media coverage, as well, with the brand appearing in publications from USA Today to Fortune to Food & Wine.


Domino’s changed up its PR strategy when it developed its Paving for Pizza campaign. Adopting a corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach, the brand was able to score major media coverage for its initiative to pave potholes and improve the communities of consumers who have pizza delivered to their homes.

“The loose connection between roads and pizza delivery is just enough to give Domino’s justification to engage in a major campaign to demonstrate the company’s social conscience,” says The Guardian.

Bud Light

In an unprecedented move, Bud Light set up “victory fridges” in 10 bars around Cleveland. The refrigerators were stocked with Bud Light – and were to remain locked until the Cleveland Browns won a game during the 2018 football season.

Estimates were that the effort cost the company less than $6,000. The social media buzz alone more than covered the cost. There was significant media coverage in many top-tier publications, making this campaign a winner in more ways than one.

Here we see that Bud Light has enjoyed a streak of positive sentiment for the campaign in related news coverage.

Bud Light - Best PR Campaigns of 2018 - Meltwater Africa Blog


Virgin Trains

To appeal to millennials, Virgin Trains developed its #Avocard campaign, which was a hit on social media while earning more than 100 pieces of media coverage for the brand.

When many passengers in their mid- to late-20s were shut out of purchasing a “millennial railcard,” which was to provide a discount on British rail travel, Virgin Trains launched its #Avocard. These passengers could bring an avocado to the ticket office to receive a discount.

Because millennials are stereotypically fans of avocados, the brand hoped its campaign would successfully reach this important target audience. The effort received praise for its originality and effectiveness in targeting the demographic.

What Can PR Pros Learn from 2018’s Top PR Campaigns?

  • Always be looking for a fresh approach. As public relations practitioners continue to hit a wall by using the same pitching approaches they’ve used for years, adopting a unique angle can help a pitch stand out.
  • Don’t be afraid to take advantage of newsjacking and topical references. While it’s wise to exercise some caution and good judgment, PR pros should be looking for opportunities to capitalize on current events and trending topics.
  • A winning campaign need not break the bank, as evidenced by Bud Lite’s cost-effective publicity stunt,
  • Get creative. The creator of the Avocard campaign said he came up with the idea while taking a break and making a cup of tea. Whatever your process, be sure to allow yourself time to create.

Which were your top PR campaigns that brought your team the most value, and glory? Meltwater India can help you stay on top of campaign performance by enabling you to monitor your coverage and access all the data you need to measure PR’s impact on your business.

The Role of External Insights in the Boardroom

According to Gartner, through 2020, “over 95% of business leaders will continue to make decisions using intuition…and will significantly underestimate risks as a result.”

With what certainty have some of the most significant decisions been made in the past? We’ve seen time and time again, “success breeds conservatism and hubris”. Kodak’s confidence in the success of its film business. Nokia’s inability to anticipate a competitive shift from one that’s driven by product to one focused on platform. Borders Books’ focus on retail expansion at a time when digital was taking off in leaps and bounds.

In a world where we’re producing 2.5 quintillion bytes of data everyday, there is just no excuse for major board decisions to be made based on gut feeling or internal information alone, rather than taking into account the plethora of external and market factors that will impact a company’s future performance.

Armed With Information

In a report for the Korn Ferry Institute, head of CEO Learning Network and former EVP at Kodak Martin Coyne illustrates an experience he encountered when serving on the board of a multinational manufacturer – a scenario he’s witnessed time and time again.

When a new “industry expert” CEO was appointed to turn around the company’s poor performance, he proposed a major acquisition to capture market share in new customer segments.

Then “the CEO convinced the board chair of the deal’s value and together they set out to convince the remaining board members. The CEO presented only facts that supported the deal. He had based the deal on his expert knowledge and made the business case based on older assumptions of market growth that the board had already reviewed nine months earlier. Basically, his approach was: ‘Trust me because I’m the expert and I know more than you do.’”

The board was convinced of his request, and agreed to move forward. Ultimately, the deal was a failure, missed revenue and earnings projections, and distracted management and the board. After a major decline in market capitalization over several years, a competitor acquired the company for a fraction of its previous value.

From HP’s failed acquisition of Compaq, to Kodak’s failure to embrace the digital revolution, to Blackberry’s overconfidence in executives’ preference for a physical keyboard, decisions like these were approved by a board of experts, despite the availability of data and competitive insights that may have indicated a better path.

Today, the way these boards operate has not significantly changed. Founder behavior has not changed. The decisions they must collectively make more or less have not changed. What has changed, however, is the volume of external information they have access to which can and should inform their decisions.

Where they may have once relied on due diligence and reports provided by the company executives they support, today boards can come to the discussion armed with an overview of everything happening in the industry and an unbiased, 360 degree view of the company’s position in the market.

AI-Driven External Data Analysis: Another Opinion in The Room

A 2015 study by McKinsey showed that only 16% of boards “fully understood how the industry dynamics of their industries were changing.”

The solution, according to MIT Sloan Management Review, is to incorporate AI in order to augment business decisions. “Artificial intelligence for both strategic decision-making (capital allocation) and operating decision-making will come to be an essential competitive advantage, just like electricity was in the industrial revolution or enterprise resource planning software (ERP) was in the information age.”

Executives today have already begun bringing an AI opinion into the boardroom. Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff asks the company’s AI, Einstein, to evaluate trends and patterns, answer questions and settle disputes among others in the room. It’s an objective third party voice with the capacity to evaluate facts better than any analyst’s due diligence, and today it’s getting votes at investment firms and guiding boards toward better decisions.

Stepping Back: An Unbiased Industry Perspective

Even the most well-intentioned of company executives will find it in their best interest to share the statistics and information that shines a positive light on their efforts and supports the agenda or initiative they’re looking to push through in a board meeting. It is the role of board members to come to the table with their own informed opinions.

Here are some of the external data points boards at an automobile manufacturer, for instance, can look to in order to understand where there are opportunities or threats in the market that might impact a pending strategic decision.

A look at open job listings in competitor companies indicates where they’re investing in human resources and new skills. Significant discussions in the media or on social can indicate customer feedback or new buzz, while financial changes indicate gaps in the market or new opportunities to take market share. Each of these factors and more demonstrate the wider position of the market and can help boards predict the impact of any future decisions.