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April 9, 2018

2 proven tips for making your influencer campaigns more data-driven

Mike Sędzielewski
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The surge in ad blocker usage and skyrocketing amounts of time consumers now spend on social media has led to a recent boom in influencer marketing. Klear reported that the number of influencer posts doubled between 2016 and 2017 on Instagram alone - to more than 1.5 million posts worldwide. Coming up with a promotion idea and researching appropriate influencers is a prerequisite of every successful campaign. But there’s also one more step which has an even larger impact on the overall campaign performance and it’s often missed - controlling promotional budget spend and measuring campaign ROI. Here are two tactics you can employ to drive influencer campaign conversion rates without compromising your promotional budget.

Enable multiple tracking channels

Cooperating with influencers often means limited tracking capabilities. Online heroes are doomed to use features available on social platforms. Blogs are a bit better in this regard, but you still can’t hope to get 100% certain tracking for every platform they use. Let’s see what tracking tools you can employ to better understand what’s happening with your campaigns:

  • UTMs - the easiest to implement and the most versatile at the same time; just add a couple of structured parameters to a link and, once a visitor clicks on it and enters the website, your Google Analytics (or any other web traffic analysis tool) will digest them. Every influencer and every campaign gets a different set of parameters so Google Analytics can present the source of traffic correspondingly - learn more at  https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/
  • Link shorteners - because UTMs have some cons: firstly, they can be easily removed from the link, secondly, they make links way longer which might decrease their credibility in the eye of a suspicious consumer. To get around these shortcomings, you can use link shorteners. Their sole purpose is to hide the original link with a long UTM part under a shorter one. So, instead of https://averylonglinktoyourshop.com/product/gallery?utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=influencer_post&utm_campaign=spring_retention you get https://goo.gl/k7T5jm Additionally, some link shortening providers monitor the number of clicks, so you can monitor the traffic with an additional, separate channel.
  • Dedicated landing pages - link shorteners can be perceived as fraudulent. The increasing proliferation of so-called ‘fake news’ means online viewers are potentially more likely to be wary of shortened links which can lead to distrust, resulting in fewer clicks. One solution is to use providers which allow you to assign a custom domain. The other is to ditch link shortening altogether and replace it with landing pages with unique links. Here’s an example of the structure:https://acme.com/campaign/influencer1https://acme.com/campagin/influencer2https://acme.com/campagin/influencerNAppointing a unique page for every influencer campaign requires introducing a landing page generator or requesting a feature from your software team that brings down the negative effects of the option with long and suspicious links. Landing page software providers often offer detailed analytics of the traffic. They are usually integrated with Google Analytics, so you can put campaign performance results under a unified report.
  • Coupon codes - measuring traffic is one thing, but I bet your manager wants to see the actual conversion rate first and foremost. One surefire way to achieve this is to include a giveaway, a discount code into a campaign. All you have to do is come up with a nice incentive, ask your e-commerce platform manager to activate the promo code, and then you can send it out to influencers.
  • Separate coupons for influencers - when you plan to roll out your campaign to greater numbers of online stars (i.e. country-wise) you might want to look at the fine-grained statistics of your conversion rate. In this case, you can roll out one coupon code per influencer although this entails more effort for your operations team to make them valid for the system.
  • Unique coupons per influencer per campaign - if, like 94% of marketers studied under under The State of Influencer Marketing 2017, you have found influencer marketing effective and you want to expand your campaigns, you can think of conceiving a more advanced coupon codes structure.

First, you can create dedicated coupons not only for an influencer but also uniquely across many campaigns to be launched within a single collaboration. This will generate extra tasks for your development/shop admin team, but you’ll get a super-detailed view of what works and what doesn’t. With this scale, having this kind of experimental (A/B testing) capability in place is invaluable (ecommerce giants have already built them).You can also turn coupons into unique links, so the discount is auto-applied for a particular user, a good customer experience is the sum of these small simplifications:KEVIN_AT_SPRINGFEST_2018 -> yourcompany.com/deals/kevin_at_springfest_2018But, if you’ve already committed to building a more complex promotional engine, you shouldn’t forget about achieving flexibility in defining incentives. There are some aspects of this which can skew the playing field in your favor, read on.

Control the influencer campaign budget with specific incentives

Adjusting incentives isn’t just about changing the value of a discount, be it dollars or percentage. It’s also about ingraining the product-, customer-, and time-specific constraints into the deal. This kind of offer has 2 fundamental benefits; first, a personalized and eye-catching deal can increase the overall engagement of the influencer campaign and therefore lift the brand awareness, and second, the limits will help you keep your promo budget under control.

Go through these examples to find out how you use coupon limits to drive more sales and reduce the heat you would get from the uncontrolled spread of your deal.

By time

  • Setting an expiry date - increases the sense of urgency.
  • Setting a start date - allows you to plan the incentives for the whole year upfront, e.g. national holidays, local festivals, company events etc.
  • Valid for specific time-frames - drives traffic in silent periods, e.g. redeemable every Thursday or every day between 11am and 4pm.

By quantity

  • Limited number of redemptions - e.g. the code “BlackFriday” can be used 300 times, the 301st person will get information informing that the code validity is over.
  • Limited unique codes - you can redirect a user to a dedicated landing page where they can get a personal unique code. This gives you an ability to cap the number of promo codes upfront.
  • Number of usages per customer - having personal codes in place you can limit the number of usages per single code, e.g. a shopper can share their code with friends and family which only reinforces the impact of your marketing campaign.
  • Total amount for campaign -  the campaign budget can also be capped by a dollar value; picture a coupon code which automatically becomes invalid if the total amount of all transactions made with the code exceeds some safety value.

By quality

  • Specific product(s) - the easiest scenario to imagine here is that the coupon code you distribute among influencers is valid only for some products. But what if you could make it broader - a product family or the other way around -  only a specific variant of the product? Laser-focused product-specific are more memorable for shoppers and easier to control from the stock management point of view.
  • Specific product(s) - the easiest scenario to imagine here is that the coupon code you distribute among influencers is valid only for some products. But what if you could make it broader - a product family or the other way around -  only a specific variant of the product? Laser-focused product-specific are more memorable for shoppers and easier to control from the stock management point of view.
  • Customer-specific - the chances are you already segment customers for your marketing efforts. Why not use it to control who and when can redeem a coupon code? Some coupons can nurture new customers, some should be designed to retain your existing customer base. You can think of different incentives for different locations too.
  • Order value - setting minimal/maximal order amounts is the perfect way to drive revenue and control promo budgets at the same time. This can be expanded to requiring the min/max price of each item in the cart. But, you should be cautious about keeping the balance between a good customer experience from an incentive and maintaining promo budget control.

All these features can mixed to achieve your influencer marketing goals. Let’s take a look at 3 examples of coupon incentives with mixed constraints you can send to influencers:

  • Only this weekend, the promo code MIKE<3ACME gives you %10 of any jackets
  • Visit acme.com/springdeal to get your personal code; spend at least $100 and get $10 off
  • Use the code KEV300 in the next 3 hours to get free shipping. First 300 shoppers, only new customers!

Influencer promotion management system

Trackable and specific coupon incentives are the proven way of making your influencer marketing more data-driven and effective after all. Remember, however, that the more sophisticated rules you’re going to deliver, the more advanced promotional software you need to get. To figure out how you can choose the one that fits your needs, visit our recent guide.

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