With 73% of brands operating influencer marketing programs today, increasing visibility into campaign performance has become top of mind for marketers. Rather than just a brand-building opportunity, marketers are looking for their influencer investments to drive real conversions.
Enter: Performance marketing, a form of advertising in which the brand pays their agency only after achieving measurable engagement outcomes. In BEN’s own words, it’s the art of using quantifiable results to design an ongoing influencer marketing campaign that can successfully drive direct traffic, purchases, and conversions for a brand.
A performance-based approach is not only outcome-driven, it’s also scalable. With access to performance metrics, brands can maximize their ROI by adjusting their strategies in response to data signals overtime, and in effect, create a continuous cycle of performance improvement across the board. By laying the proper groundwork, partnering with the right creators, and optimizing strategy based on data, sales leaders can drive real, measurable results.
Creating a scalable campaign starts a strong foundation: once brand goals are clear, an evidence-based testing and optimization process can ensure brands orient around the best target demographic to pursue and creators to partner with.
Take BlendJet, a blender company looking to drive sales for its BlendJet’s newest product launch—the BlendJet 2. Knowing its mission resonated with the fitness community, BlendJet initially looked to partner with health and wellness creators exclusively. But after an in-depth optimization process, it became clear that consumer interest in BlendJet was actually much broader. In fact, lifestyle and family creators saw the highest engagement numbers throughout the testing period, with many of them using the brand’s products at home to advertise easy, on-the-go recipes.
By optimizing these campaign fundamentals, BlendJet achieved success at scale. The team expanded the program beyond the fitness community and partnered with a wider variety of creators. The campaign drove over 8,000 sales in the first two weeks, and ultimately generated more than $1.7 million in revenue and 28,000 purchases.
SCALABILITY STARTS WITH A STRONG FOUNDATION
With a performance-driven strategy, marketers can also use metrics to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses of any given campaign, allowing brands to scale up or down based on what’s working—and what isn’t.
Goat Treats, for example, wanted to drive holiday sales for subsidiary brands Licorice.com and Pretzel.com. Colorful pretzels and licorice spilling out of festive holiday-themed packaging were featured across creator posts to highlight their gift appeal. While the campaign lasted only six short weeks from November to December, BEN immediately saw that mom creators and interior design creators were outperforming all other verticals—and decided to double down on those same creators during the second half of the campaign to increase engagement.
As a result, performance metrics jumped dramatically month over month, driving even higher results—ultimately increasing conversions by 206% for Pretzels.com and 192% for Licorice.com.
A scalable performance-based campaign is one that allows marketers to detect these changes in consumer behavior and adjust its approach based on data.
PERFORMANCE SIGNALS OPEN OPPORTUNITIES TO SCALE SUCCESS
By launching performance campaigns over time, brands can be constantly optimizing strategy to achieve results. Similar to the Goat Treats example, understanding trends in consumer behavior can open up opportunities for scale—all year long.
For photo book company Chatbooks, the priority was to increase app installs and in-app purchases with influencer marketing. Over the course of the long-term campaign, the team made tactical adjustments based on engagement metrics. When YouTube creator efforts led to poor performance, for example, BEN prioritized other platforms. But after seeing engagement numbers rise again in Q4, they made the decision to pursue the channel once again. The risk paid off—YouTube actually ended up performing better than Instagram and TikTok. Ultimately, Chatbooks saw 20,000 conversions and $3 million in sales during that year-end YouTube campaign in 2021.
Marketers tend to underestimate the power of brand-creator partnerships, with some even claiming it’s difficult to measure direct impact on conversions. But influencer marketing isn’t just a brand-building tactic anymore; it’s the future of digital advertising. Eight in 10 consumers have reportedly made a purchase decision based on an influencer’s recommendation, making it one of the most effective ways for a brand to boost its sales in record time. As demand for influencer marketing continues to grow, it’s time for brands to partner with the right creators to help them achieve scale and maximize their conversion potential.