When it comes to influencer marketing, Instagram is the best performing channel for social action, with an average 3.21% engagement rate (compared to 1.5% across all social networks). But sponsored posts can cost anywhere from $500-$50,000 depending on followers, and the price is only rising more as demand soars. Some marketers are starting to question the effectiveness of influencer marketing: how much budget should you put toward influencer marketing? And, more importantly, how do you track influencer marketing on Instagram and measure ROI?
“There’s so much tension in this industry right now,” says Amber Discko, founder of “Who Pays Influencers?,” a site that crowdsources influencer marketing rates. “Influencer marketing is new and people are upset because they don’t know how much to charge and how to track it.” A recent report by RhythmOne states that brands receive an average of $11.20 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media – quite the deal, if you understand how to track your influencer marketing.
To help you go beyond tracking just likes and comments, here are 3 ways to track influencer marketing on Instagram:
Create Trackable Links for Instagram
With Instagram campaigns, brands will often ask influencers to share a link in their bio and direct followers to their “link in bio,” because links in captions aren’t clickable on Instagram. They can also include a link in the caption, which followers can then write out in their browser. Instead of including a long url, it’s better to shorten the link using Bitly, which also helps you track traffic from Instagram.
Lucasfilm and HP partnered with Instagram influencers to hype up the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and their influencer marketing campaign on Instagram used both of these tactics to drive followers to a targeted landing page.
In one campaign, HP asked their Instagram influencers, a mix of musicians, artists and tech professionals, to promote the #AwakenYourForce sweepstakes, which offered followers a chance to win a Star Wars Special Edition notebook and a movie ticket voucher. The influencers shared galactic-inspired posts with a dedicated Bitly link in the caption that drove to the sweepstakes landing page.
HP also worked with Vine influencer Rudy Mancusco, asking him to remake the Star Wars’ theme song using HP technology. Rudy then shared this with his Instagram following and, in the caption of the Instagram photo, pointed followers back to the full link in HP’s bio. It’s important to know that when a follower clicks on the link in your Instagram bio, the traffic source will just show up as “direct” in Google Analytics. But by adding custom URL parameters to your link and shortening it with Bitly, you’ll now be able to know not only where your traffic is coming from, but also how effective your influencer marketing on Instagram is.
We’ve seen a lot of influencer campaigns being run by Bitly customers. Behind the scenes, companies use the Campaigns feature of Bitly Enterprise to measure how many total clicks their campaign has generated and also see a more granular breakdown of how many clicks each individual influencer link drove. With the #ForceAwakens campaign, HP received 68,019 total clicks from that one Bitlink, of which 14,649 was from Instagram.
Learn more: How to Drive Traffic from Instagram using Bitly
Customize Influencer Links
Brands can use Bitly to not only shorten the link for branding, but also customize the back half with calls-to-action. For example, you can send Influencer #1 a link with their first and last name or Instagram handle, like bitly.is/influencer1. Followers are more likely to click on the link because it’s credible and easy to remember if they want to revisit at a later time, and you’re also able to track Instagram influencers to determine who’s content is the most effective.
Compare Influencer Marketing Across Channels
By asking influencers to share Bitly links, brands are able to see how much total traffic influencer marketing is driving back to their site or landing pages, and also compare the success of social channels, paid, and organic content for an influencer campaign. Let’s look at an example of how a brand can use Campaigns to run marketing offers across multiple channels and track influencer marketing on Instagram.
While paid search generated more total clicks, the lifespan of an influencer marketing campaign is longer. When we look at the ‘Influencers’ graph, there are multiple spikes, most likely coinciding with each time an influencer posts an update, whereas Google AdWords only has one spike at the very beginning of the campaign. This suggests that the next time the brand runs an influencer marketing campaign on Instagram, they would want to look into testing and optimizing the time of day or day of week to further boost those spikes in traffic.
Ultimately, there is no one right way to define success. By opening up your tracking parameters beyond likes and shares, you give yourself more flexibility to dig into the true impact of influencer marketing. Beyond the number of engagements influencers drive, the quality of these relationships is just as, if not even more, powerful. You might be surprised at some of the results you see behind the scenes, because likes do not necessarily equal conversions.
Later is the simpler way to manage your visual content marketing for Instagram.
Want to learn more about how to make the most of your organic, paid and partnered content on Instagram? Watch Bitly and AdRoll’s recorded webinar!