Today’s empowered customer already understands and has access to the content they need to assess the value of a purchase decision. And increasingly, the content that consumers trust today is content from other consumers. According to Forrester research, influencers and consumers are second only to agencies as the primary source of content for B2C brands.

But as reliant as marketers have become on influencers and consumers for content creation, most continue to struggle with connecting influencers’ value to business performance. As the adage goes, the marketing campaign that performs best is the one that’s best measured. Engagement with marketing content is often mistaken for ‘engaged customers’ and results. This is even more apparent when it comes to quantifying influencer marketing success. Marketers must be able to connect customer engagement with influencer content to business performance. In doing so, they need to understand what kinds of content appeals to their customers and how it helps customers discover, explore, and buy products.

Across every stage of the customer decision journey, there are certain metrics marketers can use to assess the business value of influencer activations. This allows marketers to unlock influencers’ full potential. Compared with impressions and engagements, it is more difficult to “fake” conversions and marketing process efficiencies. Marketing return-on-investment is more than just an input-output calculation of investment vs. sales driven. For instance, one year after Marc Pritchard famously called for digital to ‘clean up its act’ vowing to no longer pay for any digital media who did not comply with his new metrics standards, P&G’s sales are up 2%. Pritchard continues his goal to improve efficiencies in ad spending by $2bn over the next five years.

Marketers’ influencer marketing and relations strategy can also be designed with the same conversion attribution and marketing efficiencies in mind. This can be achieved whether marketers are focusing on increasing return, reducing investment, or some combination of the two. Marketers need to be able to quantify the full value of influencer marketing programs. This includes incremental return: brand lift, sales lift, or channel lift, as well as, money saved by way of reduced investment: time savings, media savings, content savings and software savings. While each can be implemented in-house, a third-party measurement partner is also recommended.

Here are seven ways marketers can measure influencers’ creativity and return-on-investment:

1. Increase Return via Sales Lift

Online Sales Lift: Online Sales Lift is measured via cookie-powered conversion tags, UTM links, app install links, pixels or promo codes.

Offline Sales Lift: An Offline Sales Lift study is performed by third-party that has access to shopper data, coupon redemption data or loyalty purchase data and compares results between an exposed cohort and a control group. It requires minimum exposure and the ability to tag the content. It’s also best practice to blackout other marketing activity.

2. Increase Return via Brand Lift

Implement a brand lift study by surveying an exposed cohort and control group. The survey should contain 3-4 questions to collect n=1,000 responses around recall, NPS, sentiment and intent. It typically requires minimum exposure and the ability to tag the content, blackout other marketing activity if possible. You can also work with influencers to poll their audience before and after exposure to your campaign.

3. Increase Return via Channel Lift:

Repurpose or syndicate high-performing influencer content to improve the performance of existing e-commerce and other paid or owned channels, comparing performance to historical benchmarks. The increased volume of proven content also makes performing A/B or multivariate tests easier to test and quantify incremental lift in performance via a specific channel.

Examples include placing influencer-generated content (IGC) in the form of photos, videos, ratings or reviews on a product page highlighting the usage of the product “in the wild” to other buyers.

4. Reduce Investment via Time Savings

When it comes to output, consider influencers and consumers the 12th man on your marketing team. Influencers enable you to scale or accelerate your existing content generation efforts without increasing headcount.

Influencer Marketing Benchmarks for Time Investment

5. Reduce Investment via Media Savings

On average, influencer-generated content outperforms brand-generated content by a 6x magnitude. High-engaging IGC can yield better media rates. Spend a portion of your paid media budget more efficiently by leveraging influencers, and re-purpose high performing influencer generated content as ad creative, validating performance through A/B or multivariate testing.

Influencer Marketing Benchmarks for Media Investment

6. Reduce Investment via Content and Production Savings

Most brands are paying for content asset generation, collection and curation via any number of creative, marketing and advertising agencies, whether it’s for posts, images, videos, reviews or surveys. With an integrated influencer marketing strategy, you can generate them all for less cost to create your own library of branded marketing assets to use and repurpose in campaigns.

Influencer Marketing Benchmarks for Content Production

This post has been modified from the originally published post on Mavrck.co.

Lyle Stevens

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