First, nobody believed that ads through influencers worked. Back then they were just bloggers, actually. Then suddenly every business realized that it’s the most popular “word of mouth” of the 21st century. That’s when bloggers turned to be influencers.
Now many marketers invest crazy budgets into influencer marketing, but don’t quite get the returns they expect. We suspect that the problem is in the way they measure the performance of influencers’ campaigns — or do not measure at all. Tracking the results for influencer marketing is crucial and it has to be done right.
So let’s take a look at the new era of influencer marketing: all the DO’s and Don’ts, as well as strategy to track & analyze performance for bloggers.
How to advertise with influencers
There are several ways you can go with influencer marketing and depending on the product you are selling and business model you have, you gotta choose wisely how you collaborate with influencers.
Usually influencers do not work directly with brands, but rather delegate brand deals negotiations to their managers or agencies. One of the recent models also involves platforms where you need to pay a subscription fee for a chance to advertise with a particular blogger.
Once you find a way to reach out to a blogger, you are standing in front of a hard choice: what pricing model to choose.
Influencer marketing pricing models
Generally, you can divide pricing models in 2 big categories: flat fee (fixed price) or cost-per-action (CPA), but let’s take a look at the variety of these models.
- Pay per campaign
That means you are agreeing on a campaign (a particular number of posts / videos / Instagram stories, etc.) for a flat campaign fee. Usually larger brands go for this type of model in order to “secure” an influencer for a prolonged period of time.
- Pay per post (PPP)
A flat fee for a unit of content like Instagram post, story or a video. This is probably the most popular model for influencer marketing.
That’s the case for the platforms where you need to pay a subscription fee in order to advertise with an influencer.
- Pay-per-click (PPC)
Usually PPC is used for paid ads channels like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc. In influencer marketing it means that you pay for every single click that was made on the advertisement of your product through the influencer.
- Pay-per-acquisition (PPA)
Pricing model where you pay for particular actions you agree on. For example, it can be a purchase. Usually this model requires an affiliate link (or coupon code) that will be able to track the results of an influencer’s campaign.
What pricing model to choose for influencer marketing?
It solely depends on your goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you want to make crazy sales? Do you just want to increase your exposure? First, make a list of things you want to receive from influencer marketing.
Flat fee pricing models are great for brand awareness, especially if you choose a blogger wisely. However, the end goal of any business is conversions (=sales). Therefore, CPA method works better business-wise if you want to control the results that influencers bring to your scaling.
CPA method, however, is harder to maintain and control since you need the help of ad tracking in order to control the performance without any discrepancies. To make the right payouts to your influencers and not to let them cheat.
How to track influencers’ performance
Here we approach a super important part — how to actually track the performance of your influencers. There are 2 major ways that help you do that: using tracking links or promo codes (coupons in other words). The third way would be to use both of them at a time to serve different purposes. Let’s see how it works from within.
What is a tracking link for influencer marketing?
Tracking link is a link that contains tracking parameters that help you as a business owner understand what campaign, ad or simply influencer brought you the conversion.
The most important part of a tracking link when you work with influencer marketing is to set your parameters correctly to receive all the needed information from your campaigns.
- With the right tracking parameters you can receive, for example, the following info:
- Which influencer brought the conversion
- What campaign brought the conversion
- Which post / story brought the conversion
You can create tracking links with the help of Google Analytics, but if you are using a specialized tracking software you receive other benefits while measuring the performance with use of tracking links — getting dropdown data on a bunch of metrics for your campaigns. It can do anything from simple CTR (click-through-rate) and CR (conversion rate) to data about devices, locations, OS, time of conversions, etc.
Another way to get access to the tracking links (also called affiliate or referral links) is by investing in affiliate management software. It’s a software that helps set up affiliate programs and therefore simplify collaboration of business and affiliate marketers or influencers.
But tracking links are not only good to understand the overall performance of the campaigns, they are a must-have if you are choosing to work on a CPA model (meaning you reward influencers on commission basis).
When working with CPA, you need to double check on your software of choice to make sure that they work using first-party data (it’s very important in 2021), raw data (not data modelling or aggregation) and are keen on attribution. Attribution is a way to create an association between the click and the latter conversion.
Promo codes for influencer marketing
Another popular way to both track the performance of the influencer and also benefit the users who follow a particular blogger is the use of promo codes.
Promo code (or coupon) — is a special code that gives special conditions for influencer followers, but also helps track the sales associated with this influencer.
What is the main problem for marketing professionals or agencies who work with influencers using promo codes is consolidation and processing of this data. Many people still calculate sales according to promo codes using Google Sheets which is not the best way to handle the problem.
A feature that you should be looking for in a tool of your choice is called coupon-based attribution. Coming from the name of it, it helps attribute the sales associated with a particular coupon to the right influencer.
The best thing is if your tool also consolidates the whole data scope and shows that influencer one brough X amount of conversion (Y coming with promo code 50OFF and Z coming from a post with sneaker ad).
That saves a lot of time for you as an advertiser to organize the data and shows the exact amount of earned sales with help of influencer, makes it clear what payout an influencer deserves.
So our recommendation is definitely to invest in a tool with a coupon-based attribution if you are working with influencer marketing on a larger scale. The more influencers you have in your stack, the harder it gets to organize the data flow, issue all the tracking links and promo codes and attribute it.
Tracking link or a promo code?
In order to find an answer to this question, you need to define first what are the goals of your business.
Tracking links are great for measuring the performance to understand what influence bloggers make for your marketing strategy overall. You get to understand what kind of campaigns convert better, what kind of users potentially choose you and so on and so forth.
Promo code is another strategy that rather focuses on benefiting the user (aka giving them more motive for purchase), but it works great only for bloggers with established trust. And of course, keeping promo code attribution under control is not easy (unless you use the right tools), so you have to keep it in mind when starting issuing promo codes.
Do’s and don’ts with influencer marketing
Taking in consideration everything we discussed above, let’s sum it all up with a list of DOs and DONTs when you decide to invest in influencer marketing.
It’s a great way to advertise your business, but remember about the simple rules:
Influencer marketing is a truly powerful way to advertise your product, offer your business. However, you can’t just simply trust influencers’ campaigns to do all the work for you. In order to make it bring real benefits to your business, implement ad tracking & attribution to help measure results and consolidate your data.
If you haven’t decided on your tool of choice yet, RedTrack is a recommended way when you need to combine all of your marketing channels in a single dashboard to analyze performance in one place.
Not only you can track the performance of each channel and compare them, with RedTrack’s Partnership Portal you also get a chance to:
- Start affiliate program or run influencer campaigns
- Issue promo codes or tracking links
- Do complex attribution, including coupon-based attribution