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How to Frame the Cost of Influencer Marketing

Framing the Cost and ROI of Influencer Campaigns

As influencer marketing grows in presence, questions still remain around the transparency and accuracy of return on investment (ROI) metrics. We’ll touch on three of today’s common ROI metrics and layer in some of our views on how a brand/marketer should think about the returns and cost attribution of influencer marketing.

  1. Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM): Just as it sounds, this metric considers the number of people that a post has been served in front of (impressions) through their social media feeds. As it is a step removed from direct engagement, it is typically more appropriate for brands primarily seeking to raise general awareness. A key determinant for a brand using this metrics is how much an impression is worth to them.
  2. Cost per Engagement (CPE): A mere view or impression of a post is not always sufficient, drawing enough attention from an audience for them to directly engage with a post through actions such as comments/likes/shares, is often a more desired outcome. Evaluating your campaign at the engagement level provides a better assessment of costs incurred versus benefits derived based on the interest level of a potential consumer (just short of a full sales conversion). At Smartfluence, we favor CPE on an adjusted-basis, whereby we take into consideration: a) the source of this engagement, that is, does it come from your target audience b) the type of engagement, as a like/comment/share are not equal.
  3. Equivalent Advertising Value (EAV): This metric relies on comparable costs to derive an equivalent campaign value, by effectively determining how much it would have cost you to achieve similar reach/engagement through another channel of marketing spend. Channels could encompass anything from print ads to social media ads, though our preferred comparable would be social media feed ads due to their likeness. One crucial but often overlooked comparison point is the content creation value: if an influencer organically created content that you would have normally had to produce on your own, it is imperative those costs of production are accounted for in the calculation of EAV.

At Smartfluence, we recognize the shortcomings of today’s ROI measurements and thus place a priority on pioneering advances in the space, especially as it relates to developing more accurate and industry standardized ROI metrics that clearly take into consideration the marketing goals of brands. That said we’re excited for the evolution of these measurements as it will provide more solid footing to back-up current studies that show influencer campaigns generating 10x multiples in value compared to other forms of digital media. Keep an eye out for for future posts where we will delve deeper into our work on ROI measurement.

Furthermore, our platform can give you an estimate for the cost of every influencer that is on our platform. We aim to achieve true market transparency for how much an influencer campaign should cost. Through our sophisticated pricing models, we have given estimates for these prices based on factors that include historical campaign costs, current market pricing of an influencer, and audience quality.

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