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Measuring influencer campaigns

How do you measure marketing return on investment (ROI) when it comes to influencers, asks YAAP’s Arshad Zaheer

We, humans, are social animals, programmed to connect deeply with those who look like us or behave like us, or rather with whom we orient ourselves. Be it Nicole Kidman for Etihad, Chris Hemsworth for Bayut, or Salman Khan for Splash, celebrity endorsements have always been used because of the recognition a superstar could bring to a brand. Celebrity endorsements can surely elevate the public awareness of a brand significantly, and their reach is magnified considerably through servicing a wider-spread audience. But as consumer trends shift and the online world surges, a newer breed of influencers is making an impression on brand awareness and purchase intent. The engagement and sway of these non-celebrity influencers is spreading like wildfire. 

Evolving from classic celebrity endorsements to the dominion of non-celebrity influencers, there are tools and metrics to measure the impact of influencer marketing campaigns. The distinguishing factor between influencers and traditional celebrities is that the former shares a strong rapport with their fan communities. They harness the accessibility of social media to establish personal connections with and gain the trust of their followers. It is hardly a secret that influencer marketing can attract new customers and boost sales at a reasonable price point compared to adverts on other channels. Partnering with influencers is the freshest move in the marketing toolbox of most direct-to-customer brands with an appetite for some mouth-watering sales.

In pursuit of quant-based evidence, one of the most popular metrics for marketers to invoke is marketing ROI (MROI). When it comes to paid promotion, most new-age marketers will agree that influencer marketing can have one of the highest ROIs out there. Marketers can employ a bunch of tracking tools to better understand and evaluate every little thing happening with your influencer marketing campaigns. Impressions – the number of times a post was visible in timelines or feeds on social media platforms – are the most common metric and an effective way to gauge your brand’s visibility to your target audience and, ultimately, calculate your brand awareness. Next, there are unique affiliate links for an influencer, allowing you to track online sales made through their social channels. On the same note, custom discount/promo codes for an influencer will help you track the transactions the influencer pulled in and also the impact of the campaign beyond immediate sales. 

Having said that, sales cannot and should not be the only KPI to evaluate an influencer marketing campaign. Giving discounts or promotional codes through influencers will not always result in the consumer taking the bait, especially in the case of low-ticket-value items in the FMCG category. With the right influencer, your brand can gain more likes, impressions, engagement, and clicks. These, in turn, help increase their reach. You will not only reel in an engaged audience but also double-tap your brand’s reach. People trust recommendations from real people more than traditional commercials – that’s what makes influencer marketing so effective. 

Ask Filip Tysander, and he will tell you how his brand of watches – Daniel Wellington – came to be a massive success, thanks to the power of influencer marketing. Crocs is another great example of a brand that came back from the brink of extinction – from being functional, boat, garden, and kitchen clogs to a must-have fashion pair. This is all because of the influencer marketing strategy deployed by the marketing team at the brand. From collaborations to engaging the likes of Drew Barrymore and Priyanka Chopra, the brand got back its mojo.

Influencers operate in niche communities, and their recommendations are often held in high regard by their followers. Influencers, with their followers at a finger’s distance away, have the power of reach to amplify brand awareness. When an influencer recommends or endorses your brand, their followers are likely to take notice and follow the lead. People will follow the suggestions of trusted influencers. 

This fanatical devotion is rooted in the influencer constantly being in a running dialogue with their following, from answering questions to delving deeper into detail on points of interest with community members. This group is primed to receive messages from the influencer long before the brand slides into their DMs. Therefore, the influencer’s sponsored content becomes part of an ongoing conversation to which the community is deeply committed.

Influencer marketing is the most effective way to reach the most cherished millennial and Gen Z audience. Approximately 70 per cent of adolescent subscribers on YouTube noted that they trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities. With a credible influencer considered a hot shot in their niche, and whose voice
their broad audience trusts, the campaign will, in all probability, babysit itself.

By Arshad Zaheer, Senior Partner at YAAP