With non-essential stores forced to close because of the pandemic, we saw a seismic shift in brands’ digital marketing strategies and how they approached communication with customers.
The lack of physical human connection during lockdown encouraged people to spend more time online using social media for ‘face-to-face’ digital interactions. While increased usage was most pronounced among younger age groups, this trend also transcended generations, with a third of 55- to 64-year-olds doing the same. Instagram and TikTok offered many consumers welcome relief as they sought uplifting, inspirational content – whether for escapism or practical assistance.
With an increasing trend for emphasising brand purpose, not product, and with usage of social media on the up, marketers turned to influencer marketing to tell their story during the crisis, and to drive meaningful engagement with their target audiences.
As long as the content is live, it should be be measured. Post-campaign performance uplift can be significant.
Fast-forward to today, and brands are coming to terms with the aftermath of the pandemic. Under increasing pressure to maintain that valuable customer connection, the mounting pressure of a recession-bound economy means marketers are looking for greater campaign efficiencies and value.
However, advertisers have long complained about the perceived challenges in calculating influencer marketing campaign success. According to an IAB YouGov report, measuring the effectiveness of a campaign is the biggest test faced by influencer marketers.
When influencer marketing was born, vanity metrics such as follower size and likes were put on a pedestal, but it wasn’t long before marketers started to see through the cracks. Today marketers want real impact and to understand true audience reach. In turn, the industry has been forced to become more sophisticated in its approach towards measurement and evaluation.
Increasingly, marketers look beyond engagement rates, towards what the audience did next after they engaged with the piece of content. Marketers look for swipe-ups and click-throughs. They look for the number of direct messages generated and how many times the post was saved. They want to know the post’s real reach – the numbers and demographics of who actually saw their sponsored content.
ROI benefit from influencers
But is the industry still missing a trick when it comes to measuring the true value of influencer marketing?
There is now as clear a return on investment from influencer marketing as there is from other social media advertising channels. Unlike other channels, however, influencer marketing content enjoys an afterlife.
To place an advertisement is to buy a moment in time. Digital ads are removed as soon as the promotional budget behind them has been expended. Influencer-generated content, however, remains on the grid indefinitely.
So, if ROI numbers continue to climb over time, shouldn’t the way marketers calculate ROI become fluid, too?
The answer is yes. Yet, typically, influencer marketing success is measured just once – at the end of the campaign. Outcomes are measured against objectives in a report, which acts as a data snapshot. It’s a good place to start, but return on investment does not cease just because the report has been submitted. ROI continues as long as social media users derive value from that piece of content.
Instead, marketers should be looking for dynamic reporting capturing multiple talent activations, and access to live performance data updated hourly. As long as the content is live, it should be be measured.
Post-campaign performance uplift can be significant. Using our Kitly Business influencer marketing workflow tool, Q-83 recently ran a series of reports for fashion and beauty campaigns that ended in March. The reports showed that:
- Feed content gained an extra 44% impressions in the two months following the campaign ending, on average
- Feed content impressions increased up to 96% in the two months following the campaign ending
- Feed content reach increased 39.8% in the two months following a campaign ending, on average.
And of course, as the reports remain live they continue to accrue investment return.
Demonstrating influencer marketing effectiveness through first-party data builds professionalism, which leads to earning trust within the industry. This will help influencer marketing gain a larger slice of marketing budgets, too.
Kitly Business is a new end-to-end influencer marketing workflow tool launched by Australian martech firm, Q-83. Kitly Business offers a way to continually track a campaign’s long-tail of ROI, providing dynamic reports via web link and giving the most accurate, up-to-date performance metrics to whoever needs them.