Influencer Marketing ROI: How to Maximise The Impact of Influencer Campaigns

Measuring influencer marketing ROI can be complex, and there’s a lot you can do to make sure you’re maximising your results. Here’s our Head of Creative Strategy on how.
Fanbytes | Influencer Marketing ROI

In 30 seconds:

  • Influencer marketing statistics consistently prove it to be one of the most effective marketing channels – if done right.
  • Influencer marketing campaigns help brands to expand their audience reach, and make a lasting splash on social media.
  • With expertise from Tom Sweeney, our Head of Creative Strategy, we’re bringing you all the details you need to effectively maximise your influencer marketing ROI.

Achieving a strong influencer marketing ROI – that’s ‘return on investment’ – should be the top priority for any brand looking to launch a campaign on social media

Many brands who choose to incorporate influencer content within their ad campaigns approach the measurement of that influencer campaign in terms of the stone-cold metrics: engagement rate, impressions, comments, etc. But, in a recent talk by our Fanbytes’ Head of Creative Strategy Tom Sweeney, he explained how this way of understanding the ROI of influencer marketing doesn’t do justice to its role within a successful campaign. 

He said, “With all the talk about impressions being a meaningless metric, we mustn’t forget that brand awareness is powerful. But you just have to think about where it really leads. How do we drive people to form an attachment and move further?” 

At Fanbytes by Brainlabs, we’ve run multiple viral campaigns for brands – with an enviable set of results. So we’re sharing how to understand, measure, and maximise the impact of your influencer campaigns. 

How effective is influencer marketing?

You may be wondering – is influencer marketing worth it? 

Of course, since it’s our bread and butter, you’d expect us to say yes. But you don’t just have to take our word for it – influencer marketing statistics show that the strategy has a consistently high impact on the success of a marketing campaign, with 60% of marketers stating that they believe it has a higher ROI than traditional forms of advertising. 

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the influencer marketing market size has grown exponentially over the last few years – both in terms of the number of brands planning to use influencers within their digital marketing campaigns (only 7% of marketers say they haven’t), and the number of social media users who self-describe as influencers (more than 50 million, by some counts).

Last year, Forbes reported that consumers had ‘completed the move to digital’, making it more vital than ever for brands to cut through the noise in order to secure sales online. 

The resulting boom in social media campaign popularity is something that Tom hasn’t been surprised by. 

Speaking at our recent event ‘100 days to engage Gen Z’, he said, “When it comes to retention and creating brand champions, there’s something special about social that no other channel can replicate.” 

Those results are visible in the kinds of campaigns which have successfully used influencers to reach huge online audiences – and even go viral. 

There are a lot of reasons why influencer marketing has this kind of impact – read our guide on Why Influencer Marketing is Effective for the full breakdown – but it’s why this kind of campaign is so popular on social media – and why we’re so passionate about teaching brands how best to harness the impact in their own campaigns. 

How to measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaign

The idea of measuring ROI is deceptively simple. 

In most businesses, a spike in your Google Analytics results, SEO, or performance against some other key metrics is enough for brands to assume they have a full view of the success of a campaign. 

But when it comes to an influencer marketing strategy, the effect of the overall campaign is seen across a wider variety of channels. Influencer campaign performance measurement is complex. 

As Tom explains, when deciding your KPIs (key performance indicators), consider the real-world influence as well as your social impact to get the best view of your overall campaign success:

Maybe you measure this based on people visiting your site to find out more, maybe you run some brand perception tests and surveys as we’ve done for many of our clients. Whatever you use to measure this, it’s based on inspiring a real action. Not just landing on your site, but actually reading the content, registering for that event, downloading that content, whatever it is.” 

These KPIs may well – and indeed, probably should – differ from one campaign to the next. So having the discussion about what metrics will most accurately describe the impact of your campaign early-on will help you to more accurately measure influencer marketing ROI once the campaign is done.

How to maximise your influencer marketing ROI

Social media influencers are a varied bunch. There are influencers on every social media platform to suit your fitness campaign, your vegan product launch, and even your public health campaign. 

With our industry experience, we’ve been able to identify the common strings between them that lead to the biggest return on investment. Here are our top tips for maximising your influencer campaign: 

1. Work with different sizes of influencer

When it comes to influencer marketing campaigns, there is no ‘one size fits all’. 

Mega influencers, micro-influencers, macro-influencers… they don’t just have different audience sizes (and different fees) – these accounts differ hugely in their overall impact and target audience reach – meaning your ROI would vary between them, and not always for the reasons you think. 

For example, studies have shown that TikTok micro influencers have a much higher engagement rate than any other kind – an impressive 17.96%. We’ve written a detailed guide on How TikTok Micro Influencers Can Help Your Brand Grow.

By varying your approach to influencer sizes, you can hit different goals with your campaign: smaller influencers for more audience-engagement, larger influencers for more overall impressions, and so on. 

It’s a great way to tailor the results of your overall campaign. 

2. Cluster effect

One way you can maximise your influencer marketing campaign (and stretch your marketing budget) is to create a cluster effect of posts. 

Getting UGC creators involved (more on how to work wth UGC creators here) is a great way to increase the reach of an influencer’s post. TikTok users love to create content, so you can create an effective influencer marketing hub by encouraging users to take part in a challenge, or share something on their own social channels related to your campaign. 

This drives overall impressions, creating lasting brand recognition and increasing your reach far beyond just one central account’s audience. 

In action:

We recently worked with Rhino Entertainment to deliver a ‘David Bowie Moment’ on TikTok and get younger generations talking about his music. We created a challenge using the hashtag #TheStarman, in which influencers transformed themselves into some of Bowie’s most iconic looks, using Starman as the background sound.

We drove #TheStarman to become the #1 trending hashtag on TikTok with over 30K UGC – meaning more people getting involved, and pushing the cycle of discovery even further. As a result, David Bowie saw a massive climb in streaming numbers and the campaign won a Digiday award for the best UGC campaign.

3. Join trends

Often the best ad campaigns are those which blend seamlessly amongst the native platform content. That’s what TikTok and Instagram influencers are particularly talented at, since authenticity is a buzzword which really matters to young audiences. 

And influencers can help to make sure your branded content achieves just that, joining trends, using viral sounds, and ensuring your ad campaign draws attention for all the right reasons. 

One example of a brand getting things right in this sense on social? the Ryanair TikTok account, which often pokes fun at itself, posting funny TikToks featuring a filtered face overlaying an image of their planes.

As Tom explained, “It’s about what the talking plane represents. It’s about making no apologies for how cheap Ryanair is. It’s about cutting through with edgy content and then reinforcing the USP of their brands – it’s no frills but it’s the cheapest way to get where you want to go.

At every stage of the funnel, Ryanair are using their social channels to reinforce that brand promise and then continuing to build a real connection with the audience.”

4. Have a good relationship

It’s true of any industry, but in order to maximise the power of influencer marketing, you need to build good partnerships with your influencers. 

This starts from the very beginning and choosing the right ones for your campaign – we have a guide on How to Find TikTok Influencers: 5 Insider Tips you can start with. 

From there, maximising your influencer return on investment is often a matter of trust. You need to trust that they understand best how to turn the piece of content you contract them for into something that will resonate with their audience.

After all, it is their job to know! 

In action:

Throughout the pandemic, we worked with PHE to create quality content that encouraged Gen Z social media users to follow lockdown rules, get vaccinated, and do regular Covid tests. 

We worked with influencers to create a hashtag trend called #TestReadyChic where users posted their ‘fits’ for going to get tested – and the hashtag achieved 41% over TikTok’s engagement benchmarks

But the key ROI indicator was what people were saying about the campaign and the initiative as a whole. People were not only interacting positively, but talking about behaviour change – something that speaks to the native nature of the campaign, and the relationship between audience and chosen influencers, who were able to navigate the campaign without setting themselves apart from their audiences. 

5. Test, measure and scale

As we’ve mentioned, measuring your influencer marketing ROI is a matter of more than just judging whether you’re hitting or surpassing a benchmark

And while giving your influencers a UTM, or promo code, to entice new customers is a great way to boost your engagement rate – it might not get you the earned media value you’re really looking for. 

That said, there is undoubtedly a role for data to play in the influencer marketing funnel: and that’s that it will help you to build a campaign that scales in the correct direction

Whatever your campaign goals, starting with a smaller pool of posts or influencers, and then using paid ads to maximise the impact of those which perform best is a clever way to increase your ROI. 

We talk more about how to begin in our guide on How to Perfect Your Influencer Campaign: Create, Scale, Influence, Measure

Testing and measuring the data in this way can help you to scale your campaigns in the right direction. But, as Tom mentioned, when you’re presenting the results to your C-suite – don’t get too bogged-down in the data:

Show them results of impressions, engagement and conversions in relation to where you want your brand to go, and help them visualise it.” 

In action:

Our recent e-commerce campaign with Casio used influencers leveraged through paid ads to drive users to their G-Shock product line. We wanted to drive people to their store landing page – and while the resulting order value was averaged at around £104, it’s hard to attribute this directly to social (given some of the convoluted user journeys). 

However, we were able to inspire confidence that social had played a major part in driving these results. After all, more people were posting about Casio products organically than they were at the start of the campaign. 

The impact of influencer marketing

Social used to be an afterthought and yet, now we have the power to drive the whole customer journey.” 

In his speech at our recent event, Tom was clear about the role of your marketing funnel in understanding the impact of influencer marketing. 

The funnel, he said, should be used to measure your engagements in terms of what people are actually talking about – conversions, earned media value, direct sales, improved SEO… Not just the vanity metrics

He explained, “We’re not just talking about sentiment analysis – of course it’s important to know whether people are reacting positively or negatively to your social content, but also going deeper than that. Are people talking about your brand in relation to other areas? Are they engaging with you outside of just your products and campaign activations?” 

Done right, your influencer marketing efforts can be understood as an important step along the marketing journey, raising awareness and making your brand much more “culturally relevant.” And that, after all, is the real ROI. 

To hear more from Tom, visit Top Takeouts From Fanbytes LIVE: 100 Days To Engage Gen Z: Measure to download the guide. Or get in touch to discuss how our creative strategy efforts can transform your brand’s performance on social.

As we mentioned, influencer marketing is our speciality. We’ve got a lot of expertise to share – so read on to find out how we can help you maximise your next influencer marketing campaign:

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