What Does Success Look Like in Influencer Marketing?

Businesses of all sizes consider influencer marketing an essential advertising channel.  Some influencer marketing goals include:  growing the audience; increasing reach and traffic; and driving engagement.  Of course, the primary goal is generating sales and business growth.    Before an influencer gets into the game to score points for their business partner, let’s learn what those businesses “CARE” about in terms of measuring success in influencer marketing.  These are four key performance indicators (KPIs):

Audience growth
Reach and awareness


The conversion rate is found by tracking sales before, during, and after the influencer marketing campaign and comparing any changes in sales that occurred while the campaign was running.  Businesses may use advanced tracking techniques such as setting up affiliate links, UTM parameters, promo codes, landing pages, and link tracking for the campaign.  This allows them to track the traffic sources of customers who converted during the campaign.

Conversions are not always related to sales, and there are other conversion rates that may be monitored.  When a prospect completes a desired action, that activity counts as a conversion.  Examples are:  clicking on a link; signing up for an online newsletter; downloading an item of interest; or requesting a coupon.  Additional conversion rates might include:  how many Facebook likes you add; how many new followers you gain; how many people signed up for emails; how many people completed forms or registrations.

Audience Growth

Audience growth reflects the ability to capture a potential customer.  A consumer needs to be influenced beyond merely clicking through a content creator’s blog or newsfeed to arrive at a company website.  While this may register on the reach/traffic KPI, the consumer would need to be engaged to the point of following the business on Facebook or Twitter to receive updates and promotions in order for this to count as successful audience growth.  It is about more than making a connection with the masses.  It is about converting individuals into loyal fans.

Businesses track audience growth with social media site analytics.  They monitor followers and emails to determine how many were gained during a campaign compared to pre-campaign numbers.  Businesses also pay attention to the analysis of demographics because they must ensure that their influencers deliver their messages to reach the correct audience.  For example, it is not enough to convince tweens to buy a certain sneaker.  The parent who is shelling out for new kicks needs to be on board and ideally become the customer.

Reach and Awareness

Influencers are valuable to businesses because it is their voice that establishes the connection between their audience and the business’ products and services.  This is achieved through the quality of their content.  The connection through content controls access to a built-in audience.  Such access can increase visibility and ultimately boost awareness and build new relationships.

Businesses want to measure reach, a metric that demonstrates the extent of their messages.  They track how many people have been reached with a campaign, how many new prospects became aware of the business, and how well the campaign was reinforced with pre-existing prospects.  Reach and awareness are often measured through influencer follower counts and traffic data.

Follower counts are tracked with “impression” data on a variety of posts (blog posts, social posts, videos) and content created specifically for a campaign. This information is available through an influencer’s personal (blog) site and social media site analytics, the business’ social media analytics, and Google Analytics by comparing new versus return visitors when the campaign is running.

Traffic data is the most reliable indicator because it quantifies the traffic that flowed from the influencer’s link to the business’ website, thanks to the campaign.  The same tools that were used to track conversions can be used to monitor influencer-driven traffic, such as promo codes and UTM parameters.  Other metrics to assess include:  new visitors; referral sources; total page views; and time on site.


Engagement is a significant KPI because it provides a deeper understanding of how well a campaign was received.  Engagement indicates how a business is being received, how strong a relationship is with an audience, how relevant the business is, and how loyal the customers will be.  The following actions taken by an individual are all examples of engagements:

  • Clicks
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Reactions
  • Shares
  • Mentions
  • Votes
  • Pins
  • Video views
  • Brand mentions
  • The number of saved posts

There are two methods of measuring engagement.  BuzzSumo is a specialized marketing tool which will actually track and measure engagement.  It simply requires entering the URL of a specific blog or Facebook post.  Similarly, Instagram allows influencers to make a screenshot of post insights.

Engagement percentage can also be measured manually by dividing the number of engagements by the number of impressions, or by dividing the number of engagements by the number of followers. Cost per engagement (CPE) is calculated by dividing total ad spend by the number of engagements.  Businesses target a lower CPE.  Generally speaking, the higher the organic reach, the greater level of engagement and the more influencer return on investment (ROI).

Influencer marketing is a more sophisticated version of tried and true “word-of-mouth advertising” that builds on the quality of content in the modern age.  By understanding the KPIs that businesses most CARE about, influencers can track progress and measure success in meeting the shared goals of influencer marketing campaigns.

REACH Influencers is the world’s first marketing platform focused on connecting micro and nano influencers to businesses.  Follow us on social to learn more about how you can build your influencer marketing strategy.