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Measuring the “ripple effect” with your Influencers

As more and more brands begin to activate influencer marketing programs this year, there will be close attention paid to the quality of the content, the engagement of their audience with that content, and ultimately how the sharing of content yields new business and more brand awareness for the marketer.

The effectiveness of any marketing spend is ultimately tied back to how it drives sales so some of the same metrics for success with traditional paid media (reach, efficiency, etc.) will apply to influencer marketing but with a new spin. The “ripple effect” for influencers and micro-influencers can be described as how well their message ultimately carries throughout their network of followers and beyond.

The obvious way to measure this is to look at # of followers, # of shares, do some quick math to look at the collective reach of an influencer for an average post and apply a premium CPM to that content. It’s both a function of their own reach (followers), and the propensity of their followers to share content (potential reach) based on timing, quality, and topic they may be posting.

But the real “ripple effect” is really how far that message carries beyond the initial post and initial shares. How did it impact conversion rates? How did it lead to offline behaviors? Did it yield new, organic posts about the brand from people exposed to the content? How did it contribute to brand recall at the moment of purchase? All of these metrics are now within closer reach through new tools designed to track an influencer’s impact back to the brand.

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One of the reasons that brands are drawn to influencer marketing is that the organic format is less invasive than traditional advertising and that the message is more humanized. The pay-off in looking at “ripple effect” is to know as much as possible about the actual influencer and to equally understand as much as possible about their audience of followers. Finding out that one of the followers of an influencer who engages with their content is also a highly sought speaker at events designed for CMO’s changes the value equation of that influencers’ follow graph. This person has a higher likelihood of sharing positive sentiment to a much larger audience offline and potentially carries more weight with their reputation and the opportunities to promote. Digging deeper into the type of audience someone has can surface common interests, identify similar brands they all follow, and pick up clues on when their audience is most likely to engage and share.

Ultimately, influencer marketing is intended to achieve the same goals as traditional media spend but has the potential to provide a better view into ROI. As we understand more about the audience of the influencer and how they carry that message into their worlds, we can see the true “ripple effect” of influencers and brand ambassadors.

David Rush (@davidmrush) is the Founder and CEO of Earshot, a social media marketing platform that enables brands to discover, prioritize, and engage customers in real-time. Learn more about Earshot at earshotinc.com and follow us on Twitter @earshotinc.