You’ve thought about using influencer marketing to help grow your audience, increase brand exposure, and drive sales.

But have you thought about *how* you’ll measure the success of your campaign?

Although most brands understand the benefits of using influencers, they still struggle to measure return on investment. In fact, according to ‘The State of Influencer Marketing’ report by Linqia, 65% of marketers continue to see calculating ROI as their top influencer marketing challenge.

As influencer marketing evolves, it’s crucial you know how to identify and track key performance indicators (KPIs). The worst way to measure a campaign is based on ‘vanity metrics’, or numbers that don’t directly help your brand (e.g ‘likes’).

To help you take control of your next influencer campaign, here’s everything you need to know.

What are KPIs for influencer marketing?

KPIs are the quantitative or qualitative measures of performance that enable you to tell if you are meeting your targets or goals.

For influencer marketing, one metric might be how many people clicked on a paid partnership post. Another could be how often an influencer’s video content gets shared across social media platforms.

Different KPIs will be relevant depending on the type of campaigns you’re running and the type of influencers you’re working with. Some common ways for measuring influencer marketing success can fall under:

  • Content
  • Brand awareness
  • Engagement
  • Traffic
  • Sales

(This is not to suggest that these are the only KPIs you should track on your future campaigns, but these are all excellent influencer marketing benchmarks that you can start monitoring.)

How are influencer marketing KPIs measured?

To determine success early on, ask yourself these questions first:

  • What are the campaign goals for this specific marketing strategy?
  • Who are my potential partners for my influencer campaigns?
  • How will I benefit from these influencer partnerships?
  • What type of content can I curate or create with them?
  • Is there any important influencer KPI those I work with should be aware of?

With these in mind, you’ll know how to determine the right mix of influencer types and content for your target audience, pick the best distribution methods, and get an estimate of the amount you need to invest depending on the level of success you expect from your influencer campaign.

What are the most important metrics for influencer marketing campaigns?

Most brands consider an influencer campaign successful if it reaches its target audience, increases brand awareness, and generates sales. Many remain unaware of how well influencer marketing efforts are performing because the emphasis is often placed more on stories than hard numbers.

For brands and agencies to make informed decisions about their approach, their influencer campaign KPIs need to offer clear guidance on how metrics differ across different campaigns with different influencers.

Here’s a checklist of 15 KPIs you can use when working with an influencer from theright.fit.

Content KPIs

Many brands seek influencers because they create high-quality and original content (blogs, photos, videos, and so on) that can be repurposed for the brand’s own social media channel or website or collateral such as newsletters and online advertising.

Content KPIs to measure influencer marketing success

#1. User-generated content (UGC)

If the influencer encourages their audience to create UGC through a unique hashtag, monitor this closely and look at who has submitted content that your brand could repurpose.

#2. Amount of original content created

Another important influencer marketing KPI is the amount of original content an influencer generates for you. Some content from an influencer may require payment (Kylie Jenner, for instance, reportedly makes $1 million per paid Instagram post), so make sure to identify how much per publication and how often content needs to be posted for the campaign to fulfill its objectives.

#3. High-quality content

When working with an influencer, review and compare their content against others from the same niche. Bespoke content requires a thorough brief to ensure your idea of quality aligns with the influencer’s idea of quality. While brands have reported an 80% increase in content output in 2020, you need to make sure the influencer you’ve chosen is making thoughtful and creative messaging on your behalf and not just a simple shoutout with your brand’s handle and hashtag.

Brand awareness KPIs

According to a study by MediaKix, increasing brand awareness is the top goal of influencer marketing for 85% of marketers. One benefit of engaging an influencer is that they can introduce your brand to an audience that may not have heard of you (or may not have engaged with you) and that you might not be able to reach through traditional marketing channels. Pushing your brand to the front of their social media followers’ minds and driving positive brand sentiment are both extremely valuable results from engaging an influencer.

#4. Reach

Reach is the percentage of your target audience that has been exposed to the influencer’s content at least once. You can generally tell if the influencer is having an effect on your business if you can see a demographic shift in your followers and customers. Formally, you may wish to survey new customers and ask how they came to know your brand or offer a unique special for the influencer’s followers.

#5. Impressions

For an audience to engage with a brand, they first need to know it exists – they need to be aware that there is a brand and product offering. Impressions denote the number of times users were exposed to the influencer’s content based on your social media analytics.

#6. Audience growth

An increase in new followers for your brand after influencer activity is also evidence that the campaign is working. This can be measured by looking at the number of followers and subscribers of your chosen influencers who became your followers after seeing your content from those influencers’ channels.

Engagement KPIs

It’s not enough to look at follower numbers. You need to know whether the followers are active and engaged and which platforms are important to them.

Gamers, for instance, are a hard-to-reach demographic known to be resistant to traditional media messaging. To maximise audience engagement, retro gaming platform Antsream Arcade started an influencer program featuring niche streamers on Twitch that saw a whopping 1,300% growth for 2021 and around 250,000 new users.

It pays to understand earned media value by quantifying engagement actions such as likes, comments, shares/reposts/retweets, and brand mentions on different platforms. You can compute engagement by taking the figure and calculating the percentage of the influencer’s followers that respond.

There are online tools that can do this for you, or you can simply use the formula:

Total number of engagements on the post divided by the number of followers (x 100 to get the percentage)

Engagement numbers will give you a basic understanding of how successful influencer content is, but also be aware that these are also the most easily manipulated. Many influencers use bots to boost these numbers along with other metrics artificially. You should only put weight on them if the engagement is genuine.

#7. Likes

One of the simplest measures of influencer engagement is through likes. They can increase your reach on social media and generate attention for your business.

#8. Comments

Comments show a genuine interest in whatever the influencer is posting about. You can usually measure loyalty through specific kinds of engagement; for example, positive comments on a branded/sponsored post: ‘Wow, that lipstick looks great on you, I am going to try it!’ or ‘That software you mentioned sounds exactly like what I need. Thanks, I will check it out!’ 

#9. Shares, reposts, or retweets

These are standard engagement metrics that pertain to the number of times an individual has shared influencer content. This is another sign that people find value in what you and the influencer are offering on a social media platform since they want to share it with others.

#10. Follower behaviour

The behaviour of loyal followers is a good indicator of the influencer’s effect. Positive comments and brand mentions that trickle down from an influencer’s account are an indication that they are sharing relevant content with your intended audience.

Traffic KPIs

In digital marketing, site traffic is a benchmark in its own right. It’s a fantastic indicator of whether your influencer marketing campaigns are bringing you closer to your marketing objectives or not. Traffic can be measured using Google Analytics and other platforms for visitor tracking or referral URLs.

Leesa, for instance, was able to attract 100,000 website clicks to their luxury mattress site and a considerable amount of sales after reaching out to social media influencers and sponsoring YouTube influencers.

#11. Website traffic

Which number is important? While page views are helpful, the number of unique visitors to the influencer’s website will give you a better idea of their true audience size. You can also benchmark your website traffic and visitors before engaging the influencer and then later to discern the campaign’s effect.

#12. Referral traffic

Measuring referral traffic will show you whether the influencer’s endorsement has led to their followers embracing your brand. Let the influencer share a URL with followers on their blog or website or via social media platforms like Insta stories or LinkedIn to encourage ongoing referral traffic. When someone clicks on a hyperlink to go to a new page on a different website, Google Analytics tracks the click as a referral visit to the second site. You can measure this and see the influence in action.

#13. Link tracking

Trackable links combine referral traffic measurement and tracking the source of leads. Create a unique, trackable link (such as affiliate links or UTM parameters) for the influencer to share with their audience. The traffic generated from that link is directly traceable to the influencer’s impact.

Sales KPIs

Lead generation and sales show whether people are interested in what your product offers and how well it resonates with the influencer’s audience. These make up the performance-oriented KPIs to track.

Measuring important influencer marketing KPIs, including those influenced by an influencer and later purchased from your store is a vital part of your campaign. It would help if you found what will motivate the influencer’s followers to buy from you – whether a product discount offer or a giveaway – and meet them halfway so they will come back again.

#14. Leads and opportunities

Measure how many new prospects were generated from your influencer marketing campaign. For example, Southwestern Eye Center reported a 12% lift in calls to their contact centre after collaborating with influencers who spoke about LASIK surgery via Instagram posts and Facebook live.

#15. Actual sales

Figure out how much revenue you earned as a consequence of the pre-existing prospects converted from your influencer campaigns. Suppose you are proactive in providing material for influencers to work with, such as asking them to include a promotional offer for their audience or giving away free products or samples for reviews or testing. In that case, you can measure the number of actual sales during any given period.

Ready to connect with an influencer but unsure what to pay? Click here for the ultimate guide to influencer rates [2022 Edition]

Final thoughts

In conclusion, using KPIs to shape how you work with an influencer will give you a framework for measuring ROI. That way, you can compare what works and what doesn’t and better engage the influencer’s talents to promote your brand.

Looking to find the right influencer to meet the needs of your brand? Energise your next campaign by browsing our influencer talent here.

See also: 7 KPIs for your influencer checklist by Taryn Williams