By Shane Barker published March 19, 2019

Calculate Your Influencer Marketing ROI in 5 Steps

Almost 80% of brands say they dedicated budget this year to influencer marketing, according to Relatable’s 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report. By 2020, an estimated $8 billion is expected to be spent on Instagram influencer marketing alone.

While these statistics clearly show the growth in influencer marketing, they do not tell us whether it’s being done well. To determine the success of your influencer program, you need to track campaign performance and make sure the return is adequate for the investment.

This step-by-step plan enables you to track your influencer campaign ROI. Read on and get ready to launch your next influencer program.

Step 1: Set campaign goals for accurate ROI tracking

The first and most important step in any influencer marketing program is to set clear goals and objectives. Determining your goals lets you determine what kind of influencers to work with, types of content, distribution platforms, etc.

Some common influencer marketing goals for marketers include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Reach new/target audiences
  • Improve brand advocacy
  • Increase sales
  • Manage brand reputation

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However, these are broad goals. To run a successful influencer program, dive deeper and set goals at a more granular level. This will make it easier to track your campaign ROI.

To run a successful influencer program, set goals at a more granular level. @shane_barker Click To Tweet

Step 2: Define metrics to measure campaign performance

With the campaign goals set, you need to identify the metrics to measure them.

Well-defined and clear goals should:

  • Be specific. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue, define by how much in dollars or percent growth.
  • Set a timeline. For instance, you could track the increase in traffic within two weeks of launch.
  • Be achievable. Your influencer program is bound to fail if your criterion for determining its success is unrealistic.

You don’t need to pick a single metric to understand whether you’ve achieved the goal. For instance, let’s say your campaign goal is to raise brand awareness. Your performance metrics could include number of impressions, clicks, brand mentions, follower growth, increase in brand engagement, etc.

If you’re unsure of which metrics to choose, look at the common performance metrics used by other marketers. According to a Linqia study, engagement is the most-used metric in influencer marketing programs (cited by 90%). The majority of marketers also use clicks (59%), impressions (55%), and conversions (54%). Other metrics such as reach and product sales are also popular.

59% of marketers use clicks to measure #influencermarketing ROI via @linqia ‏#research. Click To Tweet

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Step 3: Develop goals and performance metrics for individual influencers

It’s important to understand which influencers are contributing and which are lagging behind your expectations so you can focus on what works and cut resources spent on underperformers.

Individual influencer goals must align with your campaign goals. For instance, let’s say your main campaign goal is to generate a certain revenue within a certain time frame. An individual influencer goal would detail the minimum amount the person would generate within that time frame.

Individual influencer metrics include:

  • Total impressions
  • Number of clicks to landing page/website
  • Average engagement rate
  • Conversions to customers
  • Amount of user-generated content created
  • Revenue

With this data, you can assess the performance or impact of each influencer and make informed decisions on how to use them (or not) going forward.

Set metrics for influencers to assess performance of each, says @shane_barker. Click To Tweet

Step 4: Choose the influencer tracking platform

Rather than manually tracking your campaign ROI, look for influencer marketing platforms to help. These will make it easier for you to accurately track your campaign performance and the performance of your influencers. Plus, you will free up time for other tasks that need manual involvement.

Some influencer marketing platforms that can measure your campaign ROI include:

  • NeoReach has a tracking-and-reporting feature that lets you monitor performance in real time. You can track engagements, impressions, and ROI, as well as cost per impression and cost per engagement. Plus, you can monitor the performance of your overall campaign, a post, or an influencer.

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  • TapInfluence lets you analyze your ROI in real time. You can also track the performance of each influencer based on metrics like reach, ROI, engagement, and total media value. It also gives you access to industry benchmarks.
  • Grin has the most comprehensive list of KPIs to measure your campaign performance. It lets you keep track of your campaign based on metrics like conversions, content pieces, revenue generated, revenue ROI, media value, engagements, cost per click, and impressions. It also breaks down the performance of each influencer and content piece based on the same KPIs.
Use #influencermarketing platforms like @NeoReach, @tapinfluence or #Grin to measure campaign ROI. @shane_barker Click To Tweet


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Step 5: Measure the influencers

While most brands measure the performance of the overall campaign, that usually is not enough. Pick an initial group of influencers to begin the campaign. Track each influencer’s performance at the start. Document the engagement rates for each influencer’s post and compare them to the collective group of influencers.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • Unique URLs: Create a custom URL for each influencer to track the direct traffic coming from that influencer’s blog or social media posts.
A custom URL for each influencer lets you track direct traffic coming from their outreach, says @shane_barker. Click To Tweet

You can create a unique URL using a redirect through a service such as bit.ly. Or you can append the URL with the information that you want to track.

  • Unique discount codes: Provide a custom discount code for each influencer to share. This metric is helpful for attributing sales brought in by each influencer.

Assess the results

With the information about the performance of each influencer, you can filter out the poorly performing relationships and retain only the top-performing influencers.

Add a few new influencers from your initial list and run the next short-duration influencer program using this new mix of influencers. Through this process, you can improve the effectiveness of your next campaign and run a successful influencer program for your brand.

It’s safer to run multiple short-duration campaigns and keep filtering out low-performing influencers. If you commit to a long-term campaign with a fixed set of influencers, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

It’s better to run multiple short influencer campaigns to filter out low performers, says @shane_barker. Click To Tweet

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TIP: Track your website’s SEO rankings with a tool like Pro Rank Tracker after each campaign to measure the success of influencer campaigns aimed at driving website traffic.

Track your website’s #SEO rankings, with a tool like @ProRankTracker, says @shane_barker. #tools Click To Tweet

Go forth and measure

Running a successful influencer program requires proper planning and execution. It also requires a detailed measurement strategy. Using this step-by-step guide, you can assess your influencer program with ease and improve the ROI from your influencer collaborations.

What are you waiting for?

Know of any other useful tips and tricks to run a successful influencer program? Let me know in the comments.

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Meet content marketing influencers and learn about influencer marketing at Content Marketing World 2019 this September. Register today using code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. Connect with him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and on Twitter @shane_barker.

Other posts by Shane Barker

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