Improving Influencer Identification, Part 5: Influencer Measurement

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How hot is influencer marketing?

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Influencer marketing is now more searched for, via Google Trends data shown above in blue, than email marketing or social media marketing as a whole. Influencer marketing is the latest, the greatest, the hot thing that every marketer has been mandated to master. In this series, we’ll delve into three models of influence, and show how each model aligns to our budgets and timeframes.

Part 5: Influencer Measurement

We’ve now identified the different types of influencers – explorers, advocates, and broadcasters:

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How do we measure these influencers? If you recall, we chose each influencer based on the outcome we were looking for, from recommendation to raw traffic throughput. Once we’ve designed and deployed our influencer marketing program, we must measure those same outcomes.

Explorers: Measure Recommendation

For our explorers, our desired outcome is recommendation. Did the explorer recommend our product or service? To measure this, we’d measure three things:

  • Did the explorer recommend us publicly? If so, where?
  • Did the explorer’s audience respond to the recommendation? If so, what response did the recommendation garner?
  • In our new audience intake, how many people responded that the explorer’s recommendation was part of the consideration? (Or if digital, were referral traffic from the explorer’s owned media properties)

Advocates: Measure Connection

For our advocates, our desired outcome is connection. How many people did our advocate connect us with via recommendation? We’d measure things like:

  • Connections/followers: even though followers is a top-of-funnel metric bordering on vanity, the role of an advocate is connection, so we’d want to see those casual connections increase.
  • Deep connections: We would measure how many personal introductions to our staff, especially business development, our advocates generated. How many personal referrals came in which we directly attribute to the advocate?
  • Depending on our arrangement, we might even take receipt of a mailing list or contact file from an advocate. How much of the list responds to our outreach depends on how skillfully the advocate prepared the audience for us.

Broadcasters: Eyeballs

Broadcasters are the most familiar kind of measurement for marketers, because broadcasters function almost identically to other forms of advertising. We would use traditional advertising metrics to measure the impact of our broadcasters:

  • Overall reach: how many eyeballs did we appear in front of?
  • Pull-through: how much traffic did we generate from the influencer’s advertising?
  • Cost per acquisition: what did we pay per acquisition?

Attribution is Everything

The key, regardless of what influencer we choose to work with, to an influencer marketing success story is attribution. If we rely on influencers to do attribution for us, our program is destined for failure. Attribution is a collaborative enterprise; the influencer has incentive to correctly attribute in order to prove their worth, but the bulk of responsibility falls on us to demonstrate the program value.

Thus, we must provide as much attribution technology as possible to assist the influencer, which will include one or more of:

  • Correctly tagged and tracked URLs
  • Custom domain names
  • Custom toll-free numbers
  • Custom mailboxes/mailing addresses
  • Custom creative
  • Custom URL shorteners
  • Custom marketing segments in web analytics
  • Custom segments in marketing automation software
  • Custom assignments in sales CRM software

Without correct attribution, we will be unable to prove the value of our influencer program.

For the Influencers

A final thought for the people who aspire to be influencers: choose your avenue of influence wisely. The big money – for now – is being a broadcaster, but this also leaves you vulnerable to competitive pressures. There’s always someone else or something else that’s cheaper. As marketers become more skilled at identifying influencers, expect the broadcaster segment to decline in importance.

The ideal is to have broadcast reach, but the prestige and authority of an explorer. To achieve this, expect to spend years, sweat equity, and hard dollars becoming an authority while growing your audience.


Thank you for reading through this series; you now have a much more strategic approach to identifying and managing your marketing influencers. Rather than resort to quick and easy fixes which generate questionable results, you’ll take this influencer framework to the bank.

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