Retail products are a home run for influencer marketing. Non-name brands that have their products portrayed seven times in an Instagram user's posts over the course of six months garner 84 percent brand recall from that user’s followers. Placing your brand within content on an ongoing basis is the best way to attract consumers. Your brand will be top of mind over others that aren't using influencers to promote their products when it comes time to purchase.
Like any current marketing or advertising tactic, at some point the discussion moves past engagement/visibility into numbers — e.g., we’ve spent X on these campaigns; how can we see if they've generated any revenue back into our pockets?
There are five reliable ways that you can track sales directly from influencer marketing efforts. Keep in mind, while influencer marketing does have a direct response element to it for consumer products, return on investment increases with each influencer mention. Therefore, sales after seven mentions will be astronomically higher than after one mention.
Text messaging is becoming superior for redemptions compared to email based on the campaigns that we've run on Instagram. While email marketing still dominates on blog posts, Instagram is the platform of choice for retail brands. By having influencers tell their followers to text a phone number to receive a coupon for redemption in-store, you're able to track sales from an Instagram view to an in-store purchase.
For example, we activated influencers for Coca-Cola to track sales of its product in AMC Theatres. We implemented SMS marketing to ensure that we were actively capturing redemptions and able to pin the first touchpoint to a specific influencer promoting Coca-Cola. This was incredibly successful. Coca-Cola's $1 Coke Campaign had followers eagerly texting to receive a coupon for a $1 Coke the next time they went to AMC Theatres.
Comment to Buy
Piggybacking off of a user’s natural behavior is the best way to get sales. You need to get them in the moment when their interest is the highest, and it needs to be as easy as possible. Instagram influencers simply need to tell their followers to comment with their email address to buy the product that's featured in the photo. An email is then automatically sent to the person with a link to buy the product, and the email address comment is erased for privacy.
Working with bloggers provides the most insight and accurate tracking because of the use of pixels. Tracking pixels allow for brands to distinguish between engaged readers and page views, but they also enable them to cookie all of the readers, run retargeting campaigns and track which readers end up purchasing, even if it's not a direct clickthrough. Many conversions attributed to influencer marketing are lost by brands not pixeling the readers of sponsored content.
If you're advertising on Instagram and you don't want to implement Comment to Buy, SMS marketing or a simple coupon code, you can look at sales within a three-hour window of that Instagram post going live.
For example, when we activated more than 300 influencers on Instagram for FitTea, we put a tracking pixel on the FitTea website. We monitored the brand's average site traffic and conversions, and when an influencer posted content, any spike in sales or site visits within a three-hour window was attributed to that influencer. This allowed for FitTea to measure the performance of influencers, identifying which were successfully selling product and which weren’t.
Any time you leverage bloggers for influencer marketing, you need to pixel the readers and retarget them across display and social. We all know the value of retargeting site visitors, and it's even more successful when you retarget readers of sponsored content. This audience needs a few reminders to drive them to purchase, which is evident when you see how many readers of the sponsored post end up clicking advertisements to learn more about what they just read. Retargeting ads for sponsored content work even better when the advertisement features an influencer-created picture. Repurposing the influencer content for advertising via display and social has a much bigger impact than standard advertisements featuring models.
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful tools out there for retailers today, but in order to show value, you’ve got to be able to track ROI and attribute sales to your campaigns. Use these strategies, or partner with a technology firm that can, and you’ll give a boost to your marketing efforts moving forward.
Sarah Ware is the co-founder and CEO of Markerly, an influencer marketing technology partner focusing on identification and tracking for some of the world’s largest brands.
Related story: New Balance's Changing Marketing Strategy
Sarah Ware is co-founder of Markerly, an influencer marketing technology partner focusing on identification and tracking for some of the world’s largest brands. Markerly partners your brand with influencers to create original and authentic content. Influencers share this content to their social media communities to inspire interest, engagement and ultimately drive purchases.