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When evaluating campaign results, the pressure to prove ROI typically leads marketers to focus on conversions. Scenario: a popular influencer recommends a product in a sponsored post. A reader clicks the link and makes a purchase. This is the ideal outcome, right?

The real answer is — it depends on your campaign goals. There are usually several steps in the buying process, and the number of “Buy Now” clicks generated isn’t always the most critical component of a successful influencer marketing campaign.


Metrics: The Direct Conversion Distraction in Influencer Marketing

Where once consumers were blasted with sales pitches and promotional messages, they are more sophisticated now, ignoring traditional advertising and relying on reviews from the Internet and social media for their buying decisions. Digital marketing has become more nuanced in response. Online influencers fill the gap between traditional advertising and getting a recommendation from a trusted friend.

Influencers are the secret sauce that drives both awareness and action: Scrolling stops, stories and images are consumed, hearts are clicked, content is shared. When used to its full advantage, influencers can play a role at every step in the sales cycle and help forge long-lasting connections with potential customers. These connections are not only more likely to result in a sale, but in recommendations to friends and followers.

All of these touch points deserve to be measured when evaluating the success of your program. Once influencer content goes live, look at each platform to determine what resonated with audiences. Was there a specific visual layout that sparked engagement on Instagram? Or a type of recipe or printable that drove lots of re-pins? Did a video get views or shared on Facebook? In the same campaign, what kind of conversations and reactions were happening in the comments sections? Assess audience responses across each platform on which you’re engaging influencers, and use content performance measures to fine-tune your next influencer program—both along the way and at the conclusion of a campaign.

Here are some of the many ways consumers respond to influencer posts:

    Judith pins a delicious-sounding recipe on Pinterest from an influencer who partnered with a spice brand. When buying groceries, she remembers to stock up on the recommended spice so she can try it at home. Pleased with the results, she shares the recipe with her social media followers, along with a tempting photo: #sogood!
    A parenting influencer April has been reading for years recommends a specific diaper brand in a funny, touching sponsored post. She enjoys the well-crafted story, but doesn’t need diapers: She doesn’t have kids! However, her best friend is a new mom, and April suggests she give the brand a try. She picks them up on her next visit to Target.
    While browsing her favorite Instagram fashion influencer’s feed, Rachel sees some gorgeous fall styling options shared in a sponsored post for a clothing brand. She double taps the photo but moves on because it’s still 90 degrees where she lives. A month later when temperatures drop, she remembers to check out the brand’s website where she finds the perfect sweater.

For marketers, it’s still a bit of the Wild West when it comes to quantifying results of influencer marketing campaigns. For many, the only relevant measure of success is an immediate sale. But just as with traditional advertising, making a sale is not the endpoint—but the start of developing a true relationship with a consumer.

The big picture strategy is to connect with potential customers, motivate them to engage with your brand, and interact with them as you guide them towards your ultimate sales objectives. In the end, relationships are what create true brand advocates.

At Sway, you have the opportunity to partner with expert influencers who produce top-notch creative content that gets your message to the audiences they worked hard to build. It’s your chance to not only affect your bottom line but to increase brand affinity for years to come.

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