social-media-helpYou’ve worked with your influencers to develop marvelous content. Selected influencers post the well-crafted, beautifully shot Instagram, video blogs or YouTube videos. But did the audience like it? And will your influencer marketing impact brand awareness or ROI? Without adequate measurement, it’s impossible to know.

That’s a common problem. Many marketers struggle to measure their influencer marketing efforts. While influencer marketing is a common PR and marketing strategy, it may be losing its attractiveness due to lack of insight that media measurement can deliver.

Digital marketing experts say measurement enables marketers to improve their influencer marketing programs, demonstrate its value to management and obtain increased funding. In short, measurement proves that your influencer marketing campaigns work – and how well.

Proving Value: a Top Challenge

In a new GroupHigh survey of 139 marketers:

  • 47% of respondents said proving value is the biggest challenge in measuring influencer marketing.
  • Many marketers (28%) cite gathering data and knowing which metrics to track (13%) as significant challenges.
  • More than half of respondents have no consistent process for calculating ROI of influencer marketing.
  • Just 29% believe their methods for reporting influencer marketing results is reliable and accurate.
  • More than 60% of companies track five or more metrics. Popular metrics include traffic to a specific website (79%), social media shares (77%) and conversions (60%).
  • 40% of organizations use three or more tools to track metrics (22% use four or more tools). The wide variety of tools for tracking metrics may be due to the lack of a consistent process for determining ROI.

Let’s Get Serious about Measuring ROI

Influencer marketing measurement is a vital component to improve the effectiveness of campaigns and win budget approval from clients and corporate leaders. With integrated measurement, marketers can better track the effect of specific influencers, better analyze the return on the influence marketing investment, and better allocate budgets for future influencer campaigns. Better data demonstrating superior return often results in increased budget allocations.

“Reporting closes the influencer campaign loop and should be the final step in your influencer marketing campaign,” writes Samantha Wright, business development manager at Webfluential, in Social Media Today. “Reporting provides insights into what worked and what didn’t (better yet, who worked versus who didn’t). Feeding the learning back in to your brand’s influencer marketing strategy allows you to better refine it and improve on it.”

“The tools are in place, the metrics are obvious and influencer marketing is here to stay,” writes Kimberlee Morrison for Social Times. “Companies need to get serious about their influencer marketing data, as marketers in other sectors have. ROI is the goal, and hesitance associated with influencer marketing will only result in lagging behind the competition.”

Joe Fields, digital marketing associate at SaaS company Onalytica, recommends tracking success by measuring:

  • activity (volume of outreach to influencers),
  • engagement (two-way interactions from target influencers),
  • awareness (volume of brand mentions or other relevant topics from your influencer community),
  • perception (quality of brand coverage from your influencer community) and
  • action (site traffic generated by your influencer community).

Network maps, visual representation of your influencer community, illustrate the social landscape of your brand and enhance understanding your community of influencers, Fields says. By showing the connections between stakeholders, you can see how far their influence reaches. Network maps can be built around your corporate brand, product, an event, a thought leadership topic, a reputational issue or your competitors.

Bottom Line: Influencer marketing is now a mainstream PR and marketing tactic, but experts warn the lack of measurement hinders effectiveness and threatens long-term viability. Fortunately, tools are available to help companies analyze their influencer marketing efforts.

This post was originally published on the CyberAlert blog.