May 03, 2021

How to Achieve & Measure High ROI Influencer Partnerships

According to one recent study, nearly 80% of brands these days currently participate in some type of affiliate program. If you needed a single statistic to underline the importance of affiliate marketing for the modern digital climate, let it be that one.'

Regardless of how you choose to look at it, affiliate marketing brings with it a wide range of different benefits that cannot be ignored. In addition to a (relatively) low cost of start-up, affiliate marketing is also known for its low ongoing costs - especially once your program gets going. It's low risk, it brings with it a high degree of flexibility, and it's one of the best ways to generate the highest possible return on investment for your efforts that you can.

But at the same time, it's that last part that is particularly tricky for a lot of brands. Simply having an affiliate marketing program in and of itself is not enough to get the job done. To truly generate the results that you're after, you need to be able to prove that ROI moving forward. This means that you need to lean into critical, data-led practices to not only find the audiences with an affinity for your products and services, but to also uncover those measurement strategies that will help you scale campaigns in a way that creates a mutually beneficial situation for everyone involved. That includes not only influencers and customers, but your brand as well.

Thankfully, getting to this point isn't nearly as difficult as you may think. If you truly want to achieve and measure high return on investment influencer partnerships, there are three key steps (and one critical formula) that you'll want to keep in mind.

Achieving and Measuring High ROI Influencer Partnerships: Breaking Things Down

One of the issues that makes this all something of a moving target is that people measure the performance or success of their influencer campaigns in a host of different ways. According to one recent study, about 57% said their most important metric had to do with the ultimate sales that were generated by their efforts.

But a not insignificant 20% said that reach was their most important metric. Another 41% said that engagement was what they were paying the most attention to, and 35% said that traffic was the deciding factor. Interestingly, about 14% listed some other way or said that they weren't sure entirely - making it difficult to really nail down a single way to prove return on investment.

So obviously, all of this is going to be impacted by the larger goals that you set for your campaign - goals that will naturally vary from one brand to the next. Where one organization may be very concerned with engagement for obvious reasons, a newer entity may simply be trying to increase their reach. Another might be trying to generate as many sales as possible, all so that they can continue to grow and scale.

All of this is to say that there really is no "one size fits all" approach to what you're attempting to do, because your very definition of "return on investment" may vary depending on whatever it was that you were trying to accomplish.

Having said that, there is a very simple formula that you can apply to your influencer partnerships to help achieve and measure high ROI campaigns moving forward.

Simply take the total amount of profit that you were able to see from the campaign after all expenses were considered, and divide it by the total amount spent on your initial investment. Multiply that number by 100 and you'll arrive at a number representing the return on investment of your efforts.

The caveat here is that return on investment is going to differ depending on whatever your goals happened to be. So if you were simply trying to raise brand awareness, you'd be looking at a different set of key performance indicators than you would if you were trying to generate more sales. In the former example, you'd be looking at things like social reach (meaning the total number of new followers your influencer partnership was able to generate, or the subscribers or impressions they brought to you). You'd also want to look at how much editorial news coverage you were able to earn, all of which will continue to pay dividends moving forward.'

If the goal of your influencer partnership was to increase sales, you'd want to take a closer look at things like cost per click, click-through rate and, obviously, conversions. The key performance indicators would change, but the ultimate equation would be the same - and it would be a great way to really get a sense of which partnerships are working out and which ones aren't moving forward.'

But regardless of what the ultimate'goal is of your campaign, this level of affiliate marketing and especially influencer partnerships bring with them a host of different benefits that you'd be hard-pressed to achieve through other means. Influencers have built-in relationships with an audience - they've worked hard to achieve trust and credibility, and they're ready to help you leverage it to your advantage. That's not the type of thing you'd be able to do overnight. This in turn can help significantly improve brand awareness, especially by allowing someone else to share your story in the right way for the right audience at exactly the right time.

Most importantly, these types of high return on investment influencer partnerships enrich your existing content strategy across the board. They can absolutely help you fill in some of the gaps that exist in your own content schedule, taking some of the burden off your own team members so that they can focus on those matters that truly need their attention. Over the long-term, they're an incredible chance to provide even more value for your audience that you would ever be able to accomplish on your own - which may very well be the most important benefit of all.