Now more than ever, brands are recognizing that influencer marketing is worth the investment. In fact, in our recent report, Can Creator-Led Marketing Really Drive ROI?, we found that even as marketing budgets are facing increased scrutiny, teams are allocating more funds to their influencer marketing programs.
As brands continue to shift their focus toward influencer marketing as a key channel, teams are on the hook to demonstrate strong ROI for their campaigns. Whether you have a large budget behind you or you’re a scrappy program eager to prove your efficacy, it’s critical that you’re able to accurately report on the ROI of your campaigns.
Chances are that you know this already. A recent survey found that 71% of brands measure the ROI of their influencer campaigns. So the question is, how are you accounting for the expenses and returns of your program?
Everything Comes With a Price: Tracking Creator Expenses
Let’s start with your expenses. The way you compensate creators likely looks different from campaign to campaign and creator to creator. For example, are you trialing a new creator? You might adopt a pay-per-post method to test the waters. Or are you building an ambassador program and running evergreen campaigns? Then you might want to pay your creators on a regular basis.
Beyond the cadence of your payments, there are even more details to iron out. While the days of free creator collaborations are long gone, you have some options in terms of compensation. You may choose to provide creators with payment directly, send them gifts alone or alongside payment, or pay them an affiliate commission. On top of that, individual creator rates vary greatly and depend on factors like audience size and health, celebrity, and past brand collaborations.
All these details and variables can be difficult to keep straight. The best way to bring some order to the chaos? Track your payments and gifts directly within your campaigns.
First, you need a way to set up your unique payout structure for your campaigns. In an influencer marketing platform like CreatorIQ, you can swiftly set payment amounts per post, or at a base rate for all creators in your campaign. And if you have different payment terms per creator, you can fine-tune those details, too.
If you’re taking the route of sending gifts to creators—a tactic as old as influencer marketing itself—you’ll want to track those expenses just as diligently within your campaigns. In CreatorIQ, you can easily add products to your campaigns from a central database, complete with their respective values. You can even assign unique products with different variants and SKUs to individual creators, so none of the crucial details are lost.
Now, here’s where it gets challenging. When you’re working with a limited budget, defining payout amounts for your campaigns can be a daunting task. You may have to make bets on which creators are a worthwhile investment, and which just aren’t worth the cost.
CreatorIQ’s Campaign Planner can help you forecast a budget based on each creator’s predicted performance, and how much approximate value their content would bring you. By automating those complex calculations, you can set your campaign budget and negotiate creator fees with confidence.
To stay ahead of the curve in a fast-paced online culture, influencer marketing teams have to be nimble. So it’s likely that your payment strategy will shift alongside your ever-evolving content strategy. With so much to consider, defining and managing payments for your campaigns can be overwhelming. Ultimately, you’re left with the question—was it all worth it?
This brings us to the next key challenge that influencer marketers face: measuring the success of your campaigns.
Show Me the Receipts: Evaluating the Impact of Your Campaigns
As your program grows in size and budget, you have to prove your worth with tangible outputs. Your CMO may not be up to speed on the latest TikTok trends, but measuring the efficacy of marketing channels is their bread and butter.
You’re likely already measuring the impact of your campaigns in several ways. Our ROI report found that a stunning 94% of organizations claimed that they could at least partially attribute sales to creator content shared on social media platforms, often via indicators like conversion rates, click-throughs, and marketing mix modeling.
That said, even if you can’t attribute actual sales to all of your campaign activities, you can measure success with meaningful performance outcomes, including engagement, impressions, and reach. These metrics are strong indicators of the brand awareness that your campaigns generate.
Are you already tracking these coveted metrics and conversions? If that’s where your analysis stops, you’re missing out on the full story.
Here’s where we circle back to the predictions you made when budgeting for your campaigns. Within our Campaign reporting, you can view what you spent per creator, post, and platform, then compare these figures to your campaign performance and evaluate whether you achieved your expected returns. You’ll also see the average cost of one thousand impressions (CPM) or engagements (CPE) for each creator, helping you easily determine which creators are driving the most value for your brand with every dollar you spend.
These are the nuanced insights you need to determine which partnerships are worth the investment, which content risks paid off, and what you need to shake up.
The Big Picture: Uncovering ROI
The creator economy demands that you move at breakneck speed, in a dozen directions, all at once. But you can’t afford to run a program that’s disjointed. You know the importance of demonstrating ROI, but it’s not easy to bring disparate expenses and performance metrics together.
The simplest way to evaluate the ROI of your influencer marketing program is to monitor all of your campaign costs alongside campaign performance. With CreatorIQ, you can easily track and report on these key components to tell a complete story about the impact of your program.
Where will that ROI story take your team? It’s exactly what you need to highlight your winning strategies internally and gain leverage for more budget. But even more importantly, it’s a neon sign guiding your program toward growth. With a clear understanding of which campaigns are paying off, you can make investments with confidence and build momentum for your brand.