Data and analytics maturity is still on a wide spectrum – not every marketer is ready for predictive analytics even though it is increasingly possible. Shifting from views, shares, or likes to true business metrics and eventually predictive analytics is a company-wide, resource, and education-intensive process. Measurement accuracy and expectations must be set from the top and then cascaded down to every function, including content and influencer marketing measurement. Marketers – influencer marketing and relations professionals in particular – need the assistance of their measurement centers of excellence and finance teams to help bridge the divide and put the right foundation in place.

Influencer marketing measurement presents unique challenges, with the need to quantify the value of influencers and content assets, which are activated across multiple channels and networks concurrently that appreciate over time. Neither traditional marketing mix modeling (MMM) nor attribution modeling are effective alone in quantifying and unifying the value of each. The top-down approach most  traditional MMM provides to marketers often  provides insight into econometric values, but  fails to account for the real-time nuances that drive customers’ purchase decisions. Attribution  models often swing the other direction, able to  connect content value to online purchase at its  best, but with limited ability to ascribe a conversion value or credit offline behavior and interactions with non-click channels like Instagram as touchpoints.

Influencer Marketing Success Starts with Measurement And Cross-Departmental Alignment

To determine influencer marketing’s full business value and true impact on a customer ’s path-to-purchase, as much knowledge as possible is needed about the customer’s current decision journey. A recent PEW research study indicates that no amount of measurement maturity or statistical modeling can compensate for poor data quality. This insight requires marketers to invest in strategies, technologies,  and partners that also leverage and unify first-party consumer data to help bridge the gap between online and offline behavior. As such, it is also no longer sufficient for marketers to measure the impact of their individual efforts in silos.

It is an investment in which cross-department alignment actually pays off. According to a global survey by Gartner, business intelligence and analytics remains the top priority for CIOs in  2018, and those who have been able to improve their measurement maturity saw significant increases in their competitive advantage and differentiation.

“Organizations at transformational levels of maturity enjoy increased agility, better integration with partners and suppliers, and easier use of advanced predictive and prescriptive forms of analytics,” said Nick Heudecker, research vice president at Gartner. 

Figure: Overview of the Gartner Maturity Model for Data and Analytics

Source: Gartner (October 2017)

Which makes cross-departmental alignment not only a strategic advantage but necessary. Today ’s empowered customer journey is a near infinite scope of “choose your own adventure” paths-to-purchase that includes touchpoints that even the most modern models can’t forecast nor account for yet.

Even a multi-touch attribution model that feeds into a modern MMM could miss an influencer’s organic Instagram post that was the key touchpoint for driving thirty purchases and assisting fifteen. It is critical for effective measurement to not only understand the current maturity of an organization’s measurement capabilities and its ability to unify as much data as possible from different sources but its limitations in order to help evolve them.

A Five-Part Framework to Measure Influencer Marketing Return-on-Investment

Where to start? The five-part influencer marketing measurement framework that follows not only provides marketers with a blueprint for attributing influencer marketing performance to business value,  but also provides the foundation to develop performance forecasts and ROI models specific to brand objectives. These capabilities will allow for more data-driven and scientific Influencer marketing campaign planning, design, programming, and optimization based on the influencers, content,  and channels that truly influence business outcomes.

Part 1: Identify opportunities to increase return and reduce investment.

In our current state, most marketers who are collaborating with influencers, advocates, referrers, and loyalists are doing  so in a limited capacity. The majority of influencer marketing planning and execution occurs within the creative or  media functions of an organization or agency, used to only impact one stage of their customer decision  journey, such as awareness.

Across every stage of the customer decision journey and marketing process, there are  metrics against which marketers can assess business value of influencer activations to unlock the full potential of  influencers’ values.

It starts with understanding whether you want to increase return, reduce investment, or achieve a  combination of both, as well as identifying opportunities around the different ways to do so – even if it requires collaborating across departments.

For instance, if your initial brand objective is to generate high-quality content, opportunities to measure ROI that can be considered include knowing:

  • What is the macro business goal to which that goal is rolling up to (what your CMO or CFO measures)?
  • What are all the ways in which that content can generate sales (i.e. amplified on paid media or
  • How much time is your creative team saving by repurposing influencer-generated content?
  • How much money is your media team saving by amplifying influencer-generated content?

Part 2: Determine Brand Objectives to Increase Return and Reduce Investment

Return-on-investment is more than return on spend. Marketers need to be able to quantify the full value of influencer marketing programs in  the context of increased return (brand lift, sales lift, or channel lift), as well as money saved and process efficiencies by way of reduced  investment (time savings, media savings, content savings, and software savings).

Part 3: Establish Historical Performance Benchmarks (Mavrck and Brand) to inform your  campaign or program goals and KPIs. 

Based on historical performance benchmarks, determine what goals should be set to improve on the cost and returns sides of the equation. Keep in mind that the goals established  will inform the metrics and KPIs, as well in turn, what tracking parameters (which may require IT  assistance) and measurement partners need to be put in place before your influencer marketing program or campaign kicks off.

In short, knowing this in advance of strategy and planning enables you to reverse-engineer your  success. When you have the right people in the room to start, it ensures that you are then able to  measure the right things to quantify your success against this goal. It also illuminates holes that you need to fill before kickoff. Are you missing a benchmark or control value? When someone inevitably asks “compared to what?” you will know.

Mavrck has established the following vertical-agnostic  efficiency benchmarks:

Part 4: Determine Brand-Specific Operating Risks and/or Constraints (Inhibit measurement within  this framework).

With your goals established, you need to also understand what constraints or risks you need to operate  within and manage when implementing an influencer marketing campaign or program.

For instance, your capacity or budget for incentives may limit the volume of content you’re able to  produce, which has a waterfall impact on your ability to potentially achieve your ultimate return goal, as well as your ability to reduce investment – regardless of what that initial objective was.

The primary constraints to consider include:

Vertical: Any brand that is newly direct-to-consumer or highly regulated may struggle, simply because of its lack of access (e.g., legacy CPG brands that have relied on channel sales).

Product: Is your product widely available for consumers to immediately act on the IGC that they see? Online, national, and regional availability are all factors to consider knowing social is a global medium.

Brand Equity: Your brand awareness, recognition, loyalty, and perceived quality can accelerate or  limit success. High-perceived value products may be able to reduce incentive investment because  response rates are higher than average; startup brands may struggle from lack of awareness.

Incentives: If you only have “X” products or budget to reward, that may limit the volume of content  that you’re able to generate, and as such, any lift or efficiencies you’re able to gain.

Part 5: Use Influencer Marketing Measurement Framework to Determine Influencer Marketing Strategy.

Once you have all of your influencer marketing measurement inputs together, you can use those to  inform and determine your influencer marketing strategy: which influence persona(s) to activate, recruitment sources, what content needs to be created, how to incentivize performance, what KPIs  can be forecasted so you can optimize along the way, what parameters and partners need to be in place so you can successfully measure ROI, and how everything contributes to your larger brand objective. You might also consider who you need buy-in from internally to maximize your influencer marketing  program’s potential.

Brand Exmple: Online Sales Lift + Channel Lift Strategy for COSMEDIX 

COSMEDIX Influencer Marekting Strategy

For customer-obsessed leaders, influence is not just a touchpoint on the path-to-purchase – it is  the path to purchase. Our 2018 Influencer Marketing Measurement playbook provides a  step-by-step guide to using your influencer marketing measurement framework to inform your  influencer marketing strategy and how to align that strategy to your customer experience.