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The Importance of Engagement Benchmarking in Influencer Marketing

Management consultant, author and educator Peter Drucker once wrote:


“What gets measured gets managed”


The ultimate goal of most businesses is to generate profit for their stakeholders. Every business will have an idea of the actions they need to take in order to achieve this. For example, a bespoke luxury watchmaker will know that the more watches they can make, as long as they are made to the same high standard, the greater their chances of profit.

For this reason, savvy business leaders will measure the most important parts of the business and seek to improve them. This approach is also fed through into marketing.


If your approach to marketing was simply to ‘make sales’, you could easily find yourself being pulled in millions of different directions - but not making much progress in any. Whereas if you can identify the key marketing tools, tactics and strategies that increase your chances of making sales, you can proactively look to measure the success of these tools and seek to make improvements in those areas.


In this article, we will explore influencer metrics and assess how to measure one of the most important metrics out there - engagement.


Influencer Metrics


When it comes to influencer marketing, identifying the most important metrics for your brand/campaigns is important for two reasons:


  1. It will help you find the best influencers

  2. It will help you measure success


There are countless metrics you can measure, some of these include:


  1. Return on Investment (ROI)

  2. Direct sales

  3. Reach and impressions

  4. Audience growth rate

  5. Clicks

  6. Brand mentions

  7. Shares

  8. Like

  9. Engagement

  10. Comments


Engagement vs Vanity Metrics


Vanity metrics are metrics that can make you feel good about your efforts but doesn’t tell you much about the real value of your actions. Used in isolation, these metrics include things like post likes and comments. For example, getting 1K+ likes on an Instagram image feels great, but doesn’t really tell you how successful that post has been in helping you achieve your marketing goals.


In addition, simply looking at numbers doesn’t account for audience size. After all, 1K likes on a piece of content from an account with an audience of 2K people could be considered as considerably more engaging than 1K likes on a piece of content from an account with an audience of 250K.


However, you can use a combination of vanity and other metrics to create an understanding of the overall level of engagement that content has received. This can be a powerful tool for helping you measure how appealing the content is to your target audience.


There are several ways to measure engagement rates and how you do it will depend on your own unique business position. It doesn’t really matter which method you choose, as long as you keep your formula consistent over time.


The most widely accepted way to measure engagement on platforms such as Instagram is as follows:


Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments) / Follower Count *100


For example, if an influencer had 10k followers and a piece of content with 1K likes and 200 comments, the following would be true:


(1000 + 200) / 10000 *100 = 12% engagement rate


Other formulas may use impressions rather than followers or any number of other metrics such as shares and saves to help calculate the rate of engagement.


What are Benchmarks?


Benchmarks help companies to understand how they are performing in comparison to others in their industry. This is especially important in highly competitive industries to ensure that you are working to outperform those you are competing against.


They can be used in many scenarios and can be especially helpful in marketing to help improve performance and profitability. Ultimately the goal of benchmarking is to understand industry averages in certain key areas and seek to beat those averages in your own marketing campaigns.


Measuring influencer content engagement can be a powerful way to assess influencer suitability for your campaigns as well as offering a smart way to measure campaign success in comparison to others in the market.


Finding benchmarks isn't always easy. After all, many businesses will protect data related to their performance. Often you will need to pay for specialist software or researchers to gain accurate insight. However, it is usually possible to self-benchmark engagement since the metrics that go into measuring it are publicly available - it might just take you a long time.


Luckily, some specialists in the influencer marketing space offer insight into engagement rates that make it easy to access this information. For example, Traackr regularly publishes engagement rate insights for the beauty and personal care space.


Influencer Benchmarking: Summary


Understanding engagement benchmarks for your own niche is an important step in assessing how effective your marketing campaigns are. This information can also limit frustration in niches where engagements tend to be low and limit complacency in niches where engagements are higher than average.


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