How do we measure influencers?

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Influence is a nebulous term. Its Latin roots hint at things flowing into something, the idea that ethereal energy flows into human destiny. Yet it might not be too bold to say that our ability to measure marketing influencers controls the destiny of our marketing today.

Why does measuring influencers matter? Not all influencers are created equal. Some command enormous audiences; others inspire incredible engagement or compel purchase behaviors that we marketers need.

In my previous book, Marketing Blue Belt, I outlined a basic social media funnel:


Just as with any other marketing funnel, no one part of this funnel is more or less important than another; all are connected. When we talk about measuring influencers and what they can do for our brands, we can’t rely on just one “influence” number.

We start by asking why we are engaging an influencer.

Do we need more brand awareness?
Do we need more engagement?
Do we need increases in purchase consideration or behavior?

Pick one.

Once we know why, we can examine our influencers’ data through that lens. If our goal is to increase purchase intent, and our metric is clicks from the celebrity influencer’s Twitter feed to our website, what are we paying for?

Let’s look at an example, Kim Kardashian West’s Twitter feed to determine if paying her $200K advertising fee per tweet is worth it.

Here’s Mrs. West’s click data since January 1, 2016:

Clicks per Tweet, by type.png
(click for full size)

Let’s dig into JUST the paid promotional tweets:

Clicks per Tweet, Paid Only.png
(click for full size)

The median click per paid tweet is 5,351 clicks. That puts your average cost per click at $37.38. Is that reasonable? Is that high? Low? The answer depends on what you’re marketing. In Google’s AdWords, PPC management company Wordstream reports “insurance” as a keyword has a 54.91 cost per click. “Loans” costs44.28 per click.

Depending on your product, conversion rates, etc. using Mrs. West’s paid ad platform may or may not be worthwhile. However, we can now make an apples-to-apples comparison for paying this influencer vs. other marketing methods at our disposal. We might seek an influencer with a lower cost-per-click price, or we might be willing to pay $37.38 per click.

Before you start measuring influencers, understand what result you seek. Match your goals against the social media marketing funnel, then determine if the influencer’s audience reach, engagement, or purchase lift capabilities are a fit.

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