Influencer marketing is thankfully "growing up": Now, like other digital marketing channels, it can be measured, monitored, and scaled. In the not so distant past, launching a sponsored campaign with an influencer involved a lot of guesswork or reliance on vanity metrics. Brands had to estimate the number of followers impacted by the campaign, or simply count the number of 'likes' that it received. But how do either translate to actual value earned by your brand?
Like other marketing channels, influencer marketing success can be gauged now on its performance at a granular level, so marketers can make better decisions.
One of the most critical KPIs for brands to be tracking now is Social Media Value. SMV, also known as Earned Media Value or EMV, is defined as the amount of free media your brand earns that it would have otherwise paid for with advertising.
For example, if your influencer campaign earns 55 comments on an Instagram timeline post and the value of an Instagram like is estimated at $4.49 per comment, you have earned nearly $247 in SMV (55 x $4.49).
As you can imagine, this gets more complicated when you consider that each engagement has a different value, and different social media networks are not created equally.
For instance, a click on LinkedIn is valued at $5.35 and a click on Facebook is valued at $3.44.
But where do these estimates come from? It's pretty complicated and based on plenty of data analysis and input, but finding the baseline values is quite easy. The soulmates.ai criteria is one of the widely used benchmarks for measuring Social Media Value with its a.EMV index. It sets industry-standard benchmarks for different types of engagements (likes, follows, subscribers, views, etc.) based on how much advertisers would spend to acquire these engagements with paid advertising.
These vary by platform, and they also fluctuate year over year. This can be caused by a number of factors, like scandals on the platform that decrease its value, the number of active users on the platform in a given year, and the competitiveness of reaching users.
Not all engagements are created equally. The most valuable metric across all social media networks is VPM, or the value of 1,000 impressions to the content.
Clearly, brands are still paying big for brand recognition in large quantities. We are a world competing for digital attention, so it makes sense that marketers would pay big for eyeballs on their content and brand name.
Next up is usually written engagements: think post replies or comments. Clicks and followers usually come up next. Individual views are widely considered the least valuable engagement type.
Of course, it's important to consider that fraud can also skew your SMV. Not every like is valuable, if you receive likes from fake accounts. The best way to prevent fraud from messing up your ROI calculations is to invest in an anti-fraud suite that helps you identify likely fraud before launching a campaign, and highlights red flags of fraud during a campaign.
While it not imperative to understanding your SMV, some marketers choose to subtract their advertising spend on an influencer from their SMV estimation to get a clearer idea of how much was truly earned, not paid for.
Here's an example: If my brand earns $15,000 in SMV for a campaign, but we paid an influencer $5,000 to sponsor the post, we have an actual SMV of 15,000 - 5,000 = $10,000.
This can be helpful to calculate, especially when you're debating which influencers you want to keep working with. For example, if one influencer is 2x more expensive, but the SMV of their posts is 4x as high as another comparable influencer, they will probably be the ideal partner for future campaigns.
For brands running multiple campaigns across influencer partners, social channels, or media types (for example, Instagram post vs. story), calculating SMV can be time-consuming, as you can imagine. It's a lot of variables to consider. And it gets even more complicated when you consider that there are even more specific baseline values for different industries — beauty, food, consumer electronics, etc.
So here's the great news: HYPR's influencer marketing platform now includes automatic social media value calculations for your campaigns. Thanks to our integration with the a.EMV index, you can now see your SMV calculated instantly for different campaigns, influencers, and media types.
Here are some features of the tool:
Using SMV, you can calculate ROI against actual industry-vetted figures. This helps you make data-driven decisions as to the performance of your campaign, and how to optimize future campaigns.