The ANA introduced the industry’s first set of guidelines for measuring influencer marketing to help advertisers overcome a challenge that has thwarted them for several years.
The ANA said the guidelines were needed because, while measurement guidelines have been available for paid advertisers for almost a decade, organic influencer marketing has not benefitted from a similar standardization application. The lack of both consistency and transparency has limited organic influencer marketing’s value to advertisers, hamstrung its growth, and obfuscated its true ROI.
The guidelines were created by the ANA’s Influencer Marketing Advisory Board in collaboration with agency partners and the major platforms; they have also been endorsed by Media Rating Council.
Influencer Marketing Measurement Guidelines is divided into sections that address key issues in measuring organic influencer marketing:
- Awareness Metrics, to generate visibility for and consumer recognition of a brand, product, service, or message
- Engagement Metrics, to get the consumer to interact directly with the brand messaging through different actions (commonly clicks, likes, comments, and shares) as a means of indicating brand interest or affinity
- Conversion Metrics, designed to get the consumer to take the desired action toward a predetermined goal, purchase, or transaction in which KPIs will be highly dependent upon the data available to advertiser
The Awareness Metrics section provides definitions and examples of terms, including total reach, cost per reach, total video views, and total impressions. while the Engagement Metrics section covers cost per engagement, overall campaign sentiment, and engagement rate. The Conversion Metrics section offers definitions and insights on total traffic generated, total conversions, cost per conversion, total sales generated, and return on investment.
“Two years ago, in the ANA’s State of Influence report, we asked its members to identify their single biggest challenge in implementing influencer marketing, and the overwhelming response was measurement,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “These new guidelines will help all marketers harness the power of this important and growing discipline and help them maximize their ROI.”
The guidelines reported that, according to Statista research from August 2021, influencer marketing is a $13.8 billion global industry, with growth projected to reach $25 billion by 2025. In 2021, influencer marketing spend in the U.S. was forecasted to reach an all-time high of $3.7 billion. Yet despite its widespread use and growing importance, particularly in reaching gen Z and millennial audiences, measurement of influencer marketing remains a significant hurdle for advertisers.
A key part of the problem is a lack of measurement standardization and consistency across social media platforms as well as ad agencies.
For example, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube each defines what constitutes an engagement differently. One platform considers a video auto-playing in-feed as an engagement, whereas another only counts actions such as likes, comments, or shares. Similarly, each platform calculates engagement rate differently, and has a different calculation for what constitutes a video view. At the same time, agencies often use proprietary measurement algorithms, which make it challenging for brands to know how different campaigns led by different agencies are performing when compared with each other.
The ANA recommended that marketers:
- Use the guidelines as a starting point to understand the differences across social platforms in measurement definitions and calculations. Communicate with your platform points of contact that you will be using the Guidelines’ definitions and calculations moving forward and express the need for greater data transparency, especially in organic exposure.
- Share them with your internal marketing teams. Consider including not just the leaders executing the influencer campaigns but also communications and PR, data and analytics, social and digital, media, and content marketing teams.
- Share them with your agency partners and align on the use of the guidelines’ definitions and calculations for organic campaign measurement and reporting.
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