- Promoting products on social media is a lucrative revenue stream for creators.
- Brand investment in influencer marketing is also growing and will reach an estimated $ 4 billion this year.
- Here’s what brands and marketers look for when partnering with creators on paid campaigns.
Influencer-marketing spending continues to ramp up, with new platforms like TikTok catching the eye of brands.
Insider Intelligence estimates the industry will grow 12% this year and surpass $ 4 billion in spending, up from $ 3.6 billion in 2021.
As the market matures, the strategies brands use to measure the success of
campaigns are becoming more sophisticated and data driven.
“Influencer marketing is becoming the equivalent of a media buy on social,” said Ryan Detert, CEO of influencer-marketing platform Influential.
Brands have also begun to request more data directly from creators.
Julie Tecson, the founder of the talent-management firm MPS Management, said that when she’s negotiating a brand deal for a client, she sends screenshots of all of the creator’s backend stats in a
folder, taken almost in real time, to make sure that they reflect the most accurate data possible.
This normally includes the age and location of the creator’s audience, and insights from past campaigns, such as likes, comments, saves, number of times a post has been sent, the number of accounts reached, and the profile views a post or video garnered .
Conversion data, in particular, has also been a focus of requests, according to industry insiders.
But this kind of data is not always easily available to creators. Even when they’ve had experience with brand partnerships in the past, conversion data – or how many purchases the creator was able to generate – is normally tracked by brands, and creators can’t access it.
Susan Lee, a talent manager at Underscore Talent, encourages her clients to use affiliate programs. As part of these programs, creators get paid a commission each time a user buys a product through their personalized link, allowing them to track conversion and be more prepared when brands come knocking at their door.
“It’s a good way to know what their community is buying from them, and have data points,” Lee said. “Data’s gold in our business.”
Insider spoke with 15 influencer-marketing experts, brands, agents, and managers about the metrics brands use to determine which creators to partner with and measure the success of a campaign.
The data brands analyze when finding creator partners
Here were the top metrics that industry experts mentioned as being important to brands in 2022:
- Brand alignment
- The aesthetic and overall appearance of the creator’s content should match the brand.
- Brands also check whether the creator already uses their product, or if they tend to prefer competitors.
- Comment sentiment
- Brands track the quality of comments on paid campaigns, such as the ratio of positive to negative comments and the percentage of comments that are relevant to the brand.
- Backend statistics like age and audience location help brands understand if the creator’s audience matches their target audience.
- Saves of a post can help determine brand value beyond the initial impressions.
- Performance of past campaigns
- For an in-feed Instagram post, metrics include interactions like profile visits, reach, and impressions.
- For an Instagram Story, data also includes clicks on the link sticker, on the brand mention, and replies.
- For a TikTok video, data includes views, reach, and user generated content responses.
What metrics brands want to see on Instagram and TikTok
The metrics that brands analyze on Instagram and TikTok are similar, industry experts said, with major differences revolving around platform-specific features, such as the For You page on TikTok or Stories on Instagram.
For example, for a TikTok campaign, brands may analyze how many times a creator ended up on the For You page, because when a video appears there, it means it will be shown to a much wider audience of people who don’t follow the creator.
Experts pointed out that Instagram is more mature in terms of driving sales, because of its stability and the wealth of shopping-related features it introduced.
TikTok, on the other hand, is better for brand awareness campaigns, because of its virality factor that can cause videos to be seen by millions of people on the For You page.
The right type of creator depends on the goals of a campaign
Before securing an influencer-marketing campaign, brands must determine what they are trying to achieve.
Industry insiders said that if the goal of the campaign is awareness, brands tend to work with influencers with larger followers and broader audiences.
But if the campaign’s goal is to drive conversions – or clicks on a link and subsequent sales – creators with smaller audiences may be better fit, as they tend to have a more engaged audience and “generally convert better,” according to Emily Fonda, the cofounder of the influencer-marketing agency The Sociable Society.
“For a conversion campaign, they will look at cost per acquisition, so ‘How much is it going to cost to get one sale?'” Fonda said. “So they will want to work with cheaper creators to belt out that cost per acquisition, rather than throwing all of their budget into one big celebrity.”
What is often important for both kinds of campaigns is that the creators like the products they are promoting.
“Our entire social strategy is about supercharging our ‘superfans,'” said Tressie Lieberman, VP of Digital Marketing and Off Premise at Chipotle. “We find people who are talking about Chipotle through social listening. ‘Culture hunting’ is how we think about our team.”