Creators’ authentic connection with their audiences and deep understanding of their platforms has proven value again and again as the influencer marketing industry has developed. It’s simple: Creators speak their audiences’ language, without having to play with words or A/B test. Because of their immediate impact, brands can treat creators as business partners that define and execute an audience-conscious strategy to elevate brand performance.
Many brands today are working with creators to grow brand recognition and awareness. But creators are also powerful partners when it comes to driving sales. Giving creators autonomy to connect in the way they know best can create meaningful touchpoints with audiences brands want to reach—and often, spell a huge payoff for brand success.
With an average ROI of 550%, influencer marketing should be part of any robust marketing strategy. But the true value of a brand-creator partnership starts with a good match—and 73% of brands struggle to find the right creator-partners. Authentic connection, as well as data-driven sourcing, are two strategies that ensure strong sales and performance metrics.
Take sexual wellness brand VUSH, for example. The company connected with Cardi B to promote a new product. She was an authentic fit for the brand’s campaign, since she shared the VUSH values around self-love and pleasure. Initially, the music video extras were tapped for product placement. But when Cardi B walked on set, she chose to hold the product herself, front and center. That choice drove massive results. The music video not only pulled in over 69 million YouTube views in a month, but also drove pre-sales, earning 125,000 swipe-ups to VUSH’s product page.
Brands can also leverage AI to find the best creators to drive conversions, from celebrity to micro-influencer campaigns. Philo, a TV streaming service, wanted to optimize performance by targeting audiences that had the strongest engagement. The plan was to tap into college students as a primary audience. But after testing multiple verticals, AI showed that the greatest opportunity for conversions was with families, African American moms, and LGBTQ+ viewers. By finding the perfect creator-audience matches, campaign click-through rates improved by 172% and Philo saw a 10x conversion efficiency increase.
Find the Right Match for Maximum ROI
Once a campaign has launched, the actual impact of an influencer marketing campaigns are quantifiable—beyond the performance forecast—across several performance metrics. In fact, metrics for influencer marketing are advancing rapidly as networks compete for the best monetization tactics. Now, brands can see a direct link between influencer content and their bottom line. Instead of speculating the impact of 5,000 impressions on Instagram, brands can use analytics to attribute actual dollars to an influencer campaign or even a single post.
When potential customers are considering a product, they’re looking for information that leads to a confident purchase. At this stage in the buyer’s journey—the consideration stage—brands can use metrics like comments, likes, and percent of video watched to gauge influencer impact on their audiences. High engagement rates indicate conversion potential. A brand lift study, which surveys consumers before and after their interaction with a campaign, can measure more precisely how much content increased purchase consideration. From there, conversions can be measured through link clicks and purchases, as well as campaign-specific codes.
While it’s easy to measure sales for click funnels (for example, swiping up on an Instagram story to purchase a product), brands need a customized approach to measure the full impact of influencer marketing. BEN calls this “measuring the halo effect.” For example, one fitness brand and Peloton competitor hired BEN to track the long-term conversions of influencer marketing. Traditional click-and-buy funnels on the brand’s social media pages weren’t working for a higher-end product that consumers were less likely to buy immediately. Still, BEN was able to measure that influencer content was driving roughly 3% of all sales, with a 2-4% ROI, accounting for purchases made in-store on online at a later date. With order values between $1,800 and $10,000 per month, influencer marketing was directly responsible for big company profits.
In the age of social selling, creators are a brand’s biggest resource. A good influencer match means a brand will make an instant connection with a dedicated audience—one that’s already primed to engage. And the result of a perfect partnership is strong ROI.