How to Measure Success in Influencer Marketing [Sanna Ödmark Interview]
Influence marketing will continue to be a critical part of digital marketing and only increase in importance as brands' organic social media reach continues to decline while newer form of short-form video that are the staple of many social media sites make it challenging for businesses to create and compete with the creativity of the global social media user base.
That's why I'm especially excited to interview Sanna Ödmark, Head of Marketing for the Swedish influencer marketing agency Cure Media. You see, more companies are investing more money into influencer marketing, but they aren't necessarily doing it in an effective way.
In fact, only 30% of CMO's in a survey that Cure Media conducted answered they know how to collect accurate ROI data from the channel, which is far behind other digital channels, such as website (55%) and SocialMedia (54%).
That is why our topic that we discuss, how to measure success in influencer marketing, is of critical importance.
[04:43] What is Cure Media?
[06:32] Cure Media's Research About Influencer Marketing
[09:04] How to Measure Effect of Influencer Marketing
[14:41] Mistakes that Marketers Do When Measuring Influence and Marketing
[21:31] Ways to Best Measure the Full Effect of Influencer Marketing
[26:02] Why Long-term Approach to Influencer Marketing Is Important
[29:27] Connect with Sanna and Cure Media
Without the correct ROI data, it's impossible to measure whether the activity has been successful, or to debt and which channels drive the most sales.
One of the mistakes that many brands do today is that they work with influencers in sales marketing in a silo not using it, as you say, as an integrated part of the digital marketing infrastructure. Everything needs to go and be measured hand in hand.
The strength of the channel is the ability to create these brand ambassadors that can talk to your audience in a way that they trust relate to, and rely on. And this is the relationship that you need to take time to build.
If you haven't done any major changes in those channels like if the bodies/tactics are the same, you can quite easily attribute those changes or improvements to influence marketing. And if you do this over time to do a very concentrated period of punishments among influencers, you can, over time see trends and patterns. And it will eventually become easier to draw conclusions to learn based on these insights and data.
I think what brands really need to remember is that this short term attitude towards influence marketing, this campaign based approach is in direct conflict, where the primary strength of the channel, which is relationship building, authenticity, credibility, and just like in real life, it takes time to build trust and relationships. And taking a short-term approach to influence marketing is not the best way to go as this ignores the actual goal and value of the channel.
Connect with Sanna Odmark
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What is the ROI of influencer marketing? Would you believe that even those involved in influencer marketing are still challenged by this question. In fact, today's guests company did a survey and only 30% of CMOS in their survey answered that they knew how to collect accurate ROI data from the influencer marketing channel. Today. My guest is going to teach you how to precisely measure the positive effects that influencer marketing can have for your business. On this episode of The your digital marketing coach podcast. Digital social media content influencer marketing blogging, podcasting, blogging, tick tocking, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SEO, sem, PPC, email marketing. There's a lot to cover. Whether you're a marketing professional entrepreneur, or business owner, you need someone you can rely on For expert advice. Good thing you've got Neil on your side, because Neal Schaffer is your digital digital marketing coach. helping you grow your business with digital first marketing one episode at a time. This is your digital marketing coach, and this is Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody. Neal Schaffer, here. I am your digital marketing coach, and welcome to my podcast. Obviously, I wrote a book on influencer marketing, the age of influence. And it's a topic that surprisingly, I don't really talk a lot about on this podcast because there's so much to talk about. So it was a real pleasure to be able to interview Sana owed mark. Now Sana is the head of marketing for cure media. They are an influencer marketing agency out of Stockholm, Sweden. For those of you that read the age of influence, you'll know that I think there were as many influencer marketing case studies from Europe in that book, as there were from North America. It's a place that has been very active with influencer marketing. And as you'll hear from Sana they've seen a lot of successes. And well, you know, we're gonna be talking about things like why measuring the ROI of influencer marketing can be tricky, those common mistakes when marketers measure influencer marketing, how to avoid them. And really, we're going to be talking about how to measure not just the direct results, but beyond the direct results. And it was really great to get a confirmation from Sana and her company in everything that I talked about in the age of influence, which is the case for a long term approach to influencer marketing. By the way, you might hear some trains in the background. Just on a personal note, I am still in Tokyo, Japan, but in well, less than 36 hours I will be done with my two week quarantine. So I'm really excited. I don't know if you can hear that in my voice. But I wanted to record this in my hotel room which faces the Yamanote a set or the Yamanote a line, the main train line here in Tokyo, so you might be able to hear those trains and well, and if you've ever been to Tokyo, you might remember those sounds yourself. So hey, that's just a side note. Without further ado, let's get to today's interview with Sunnah owed mark. You're listening to your digital marketing coach. This is Neal Schaffer. Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of The your digital marketing coach podcast. For those that know me. Having written a book on influencer marketing the age of influence influencer marketing is something that's very critical today to the success of not just social media marketing, but also the entire digital marketing of an organization. That's why whenever I have a chance to interview people that are experts in the field, it's a real pleasure and a treasure. I hope it provides of information to you my listeners, So today, I'm really excited to have someone here from the other side of the pond over in Europe. Her name is Sana oakmark. She is head of marketing at cure media, and they are based in Sweden. And for those that read my book, you know that probably as many case studies of successful influencer marketing campaigns came from Europe, as they did from North America, Europe as a place where influencer marketing has, they've always been at the curve or ahead of the curve. So I'm really excited today to dive deeper into that to provide a little bit different perspective, and specifically about how we go ahead measuring success in influencer marketing. Sana, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you so much for having me. Great to be here.
So you are Head of Marketing pure media for those of my listeners who may not what pure media is, why don't we start with that introduction.
Let's do that. So as you said, We are based out of Sweden, Stockholm, but we have offices in London and Berlin as well. We have been around since since there was No such thing as influence marketing since 2014. And yeah, what we do we focus on data driven and strategic influence marketing. And today we're one of Europe's leading agencies doing that focusing on the fashion segments. Yeah, that's short about us.
Great. Sana, have you worked at your media since the beginning of 2014? Are you one of them? I
haven't. No, I'm not. No, there are three founders, Christina, Salman Babak, but I started three years ago. So I have been with a company for some time, but the time the Time flies when you're having fun, right?
And before that, were you also involved in influencer marketing? Or did you? Did you get into it with care media?
I was actually I worked at a b2b digital agency working with lots of digital marketing methods. But I've always been passionate about social media, Instagram, Facebook, all all the platforms that have been around since since social media came. So this is so fun working with what you love, basically.
Yeah, no, I agree. I think those of us that work in this space that couldn't agree more. That's fascinating. You have both the b2b and the b2c. And since you've worked in agencies, obviously worked with a treasure trove of clients and experiences that we can tap into today. So you mentioned to me before we organized the date of this podcast recording that you had your own research, secure media that uncovered some things about influencer marketing that are really important for everybody to know. So I'd like to sort of start there in our conversation.
Yes, earlier this year, we ask your media researched both consumers and brands view on influencer marketing. And in this survey, we uncovered some really interesting facts. So in this survey, there was more than 200 marketing decision makers ad b2c brands in the UK. And there were more than 1000 millennial consumers participating as well. And in this survey, what was really interesting was that 75% of the consumers said they have once at least once bought something recommended by an influencer. And I know myself, I can definitely count myself to those. But at the same time, on the brand side, only 14% reported a sales uplift when working with influencers. And as you can hear these two answers, and these statistics do not agree with each other, they do not align at all. And what we also found out which, which is I would say the answer to why so many brands reported such a small uplift in sales, is because only 30% of them say they know how to collect accurate ROI data from their influencer activity. And I mean, measuring ROI on marketing can be tricky. But this is far behind, for example, websites and social media where at least 55% of the serve, of the participants answered that they know how to to master the channels. And and this is a huge problem. I mean, without the correct ROI data, it's obviously impossible to measure whether the activity has been successful, or to debt, your mind which channels drives the most sales, both indirect and direct. And this is what we're going to talk about today, how you can collect this ROI data and what you should avoid when doing that.
So these I assume Sana in the study that all of these marketers being interviewed, we're all invested in influencer marketing as well, correct? Definitely. Yeah. Okay. So that's really interesting, I think for all of us listening, and hopefully a lot of people are nodding their heads, because we know intuitively we know that influencers when with influencer marketing, when done right, can generate sales. Right? I think we all get that. But is it? Well, I guess that's what we're going to talk about, is it that they don't know how to measure? Is it that they're choosing the wrong influencers? Maybe they're choosing the wrong tactics? I'm sure it's a combination of a lot of different things. But I'd be curious at pure media, how do you look at that maybe let's start with the actual measuring of the effect of influencer marketing. And how it can be a little bit tricky. As you know what, let's start like, you know, unpacking there.
Yeah. So I would say what you mentioned, it's many different reasons for this, I think. And I would say it's mainly two aspects to look at it. So one aspect is that influence marketing still is a relatively new and evolving channel like a lot is happening every day, new platforms emerge, new algorithms, new ways to measure and there is no agreed upon metrics in the industry yet, like there's so many different ways to look at it. So that's one reason. But the other reason which is perhaps even more important, and which makes it even more tricky, I would say Is that we're looking at our own campaigns since 2014. Looking at the data looking at these insights, we can see that more than 70% is of the effect is generated via other channels, such as organic search, direct traffic and paid search. And the big challenge is to understand this synergies between the different channels like how they complement each other, and how one channel, an activity in one channel leads to a result in another. So just to give some background influences are often play a very critical role in creating traction, high rep and a funnel by starting a thought process among consumers that can eventually lead to a purchase. Yeah, we all know that. So before we went to the high streets, looking for inspiration in the shopping, windows, Oxford streets, big shopping malls, but today, the strapping windows are on social media, it's in the Instagram feed when we're scrolling. And as much as 57% of millennials in our study, discover fashion trends and Instagram as an example, and this is where brands need to be. But from a sales and ROI perspective, the end result is often created as a win for other channels further down into funnel, such as again, direct traffic, organic search, or paid search. So these channel take the actual credit for for the purchase, even though it's the influencer in the beginning of started this traction. So I just to give an example. I mean, on my way to office today, we are actually in an office here in Stockholm, not working from home anymore. That's wonderful. I have my phone, I scroll down the Instagram feed, and I see something on an influencer that I follow a jacket, for example, but I may not complete the purchase right there. Because you know, I'm on my way to work. I can focus on that right now. But later down the day when I say that when I sit down by the computer, and I come to think of this jacket, again, I probably go to Google or the direct search field and go to their website and make the purchase that way. And so it will be very hard for that marketeer to to know that my purchase was actually initiated by an influencer activation rather than organic search or direct traffic.
I suppose it might be the case where it's an e commerce store that is doing influencer marketing, and there's a link and there is like a coupon code that's trackable, but even then not everyone is ready to purchase them. They may forget about it. And then I mean, I think a similar analogy is podcast. I listen to a ton of podcasts. And whenever I hear something interesting, I will you know, when I'm driving when I'm at a red light, and it's safe, I'll open up a new tab on my Google Chrome on my iPhone, and I'll type in the name of the company or the product so that I don't forget it. So it's a similar thing. And I think that it reminds me of more than a decade ago, the beginning of social media marketing, what's the ROI? Well, yes, with paid social, there are ways of measuring it. But at the end of the day, you need to be doing it, as you said organically, you still need a presence. But you know, I would argue in order to have impact in social media, you really have to work with influencers. So it just becomes part of a digital marketing infrastructure, doesn't it? That it? It's one, one of many pieces of the puzzle, right?
Yeah. And that's definitely one of the mistake or pitfalls that many brands do today that they work with influence markdale in sales marketing in a silo nuts, using it, as you say, as an integrated part of the digital marketing infrastructure or the digital marketing mix. It's everything needs to go hand in hand and be measured hand in hand. And that's, of course, tricky. It's definitely not only is a walk in the park, because then if it was possible to like if it was easy to measure this, I promise you that much bigger budgets will be spent on influence marketing, compared to, if we'll look at the today's media makes lots of money are still put on traditional channels like TV, out of home advertising, radio, things like that, even though it's equally hard to measure. But it's easy to because we've done the same thing over many years. So it's harder to change the behavior.
Yes, indeed, indeed. So that's definitely one of the mistakes that I think we both see an influence in marketing what are some other mistakes you see when marketers are measuring influence and marketing? How can we best avoid these what what advice might you have?
So I would say another mistake that we see a lot and that I see a lot in the industry on a global level is that many marketeers and brand take a very short term view of the channel. So if we look at our survey again, we could see that 55% of the brands expect their influence partnerships to last less than six months, which is a very short term approach. Compared to other channels. I mean, when running any form of marketing activity for less than six months, it's very hard to assess whether that it has impacted your business performance, whether it's paid search, social media, TV, or anything. And as most marketers know, what we talked about previously is that the strength of the channel is, is the ability to create these brand ambassadors that can talk to your audience in a way that they trust relate to and relies on. And this is the relationship that you need to take time to build, I mean, a short relationship will also mean that any effect from the activity will be very short term as well. So you both needed time to to generate actionable insights to gather the data to be able to, to see the trends and the patterns sent to analyze. But it's also extremely important to take the time to find the best influencer marketing recipe for your brand. And it can be anything from which influencers, you choose to collaborate, which channels you should be at which platforms which type of messaging content types, and you really need you to do like what you should have done in a, let's say paid search campaign, you would revise the bidding strategies, you would realize keywords like where's the best sweet spots for our brand. And this is what you need to do in influencer marketing as well to really be able to reach to good results. So we always say, instead of working short term with a channel, you really need to work in an always on manner, not having these one offs, or single campaigns every now and then. And I would say this is one of the most important things, because I've seen other as in any relationship in life, like a friendship or a partnership, you can't just come in and whenever you need something, or when it's, it feels good for you, you need to be there for the other part like for, for your friend, for your partner, or for your customers always sound for that relationship to to to be strong, and to consist over time. So that's one big, big mistake and how to avoid that. And the third one is, which we've touched upon previously, is too many brands measure only the direct results, as you said, the result that come from the coupon codes or the direct traffic from an influencer campaign. And this is quite natural. I mean, this is what you see when you go into Google Analytics. And it's the most like basic metrics, it's easy to track, especially when it's a sales oriented campaign. But since so much of the effect is generated through other channels, this will only only give you like one little part of the truth, it will never give you the full, full holistic view of the results. This is where you can find creative and more smart ways to track the indirect results to look beyond the direct ones.
Yeah, this is fabulous son I mean I'm in I'm like nodding my head while you're talking because I you know, when I wrote the age of influence, I realized that if working with influencers, if the objective is to incite word of mouth marketing and social media, which it is, the longer that relationship, the better chances you have to make that happen. And really, as you said, brand ambassadors at the end of the day, you want to ideally convert these influence relationships into brand ambassadors, where they're talking about you without your having to ask them right, and have an army of these people out there. And with short term expectations, that's going to make it very, very difficult to achieve that. And I think that you know, I know that I have worked with some brands as an influencer and they look for very short term results. And then when they didn't see them, they just said sorry, we have to sever the relationship and so I will never work with that brand again and I I will go out of my way to tell all my colleagues and my friends not to work with that brand either. So I think people forget Yeah, it's not that analogy with with like paid advertising really interesting because with Facebook ads, I think a lot of us do a lot of them No, it takes time for the algorithm and AI to kick in with people. It doesn't go any faster than AI people it takes longer and longer and different right.
Definitely and I mean if we even though we follow an influencer, who we have a really strong relationship to, if that influencer starts to work with a completely new brand, maybe from a foreign markets, it takes time for us to get used to that brand in that influencers feed as well. So you need to give it time as well for the influencer, that you are collaborating way to find the right tone of voice with regards to your brand. Like there's there are so many things that you can fine tune and optimize and you really need to give it time
Yeah, I it's funny I I sometimes do these like freebies to help out some, some small businesses, right if I really enjoy their product so I recently did one for like a it's a, it's not really a facial mask, but it uses like volcanic sands, and I really, really nice dark, it's from New Zealand, really small business. And but it's really a fantastic product, right? But even even like you get the product shipped to you, but it takes time for you to understand the product and to experience it right and with fashion. You were at once. But really it when you start wearing it several times on several different occasions is really probably when you get a better sense as to how that best fits your body or what sort of fashions You know, I'm not Yeah, as you can tell, but everything just takes time. It's not this immediate, they get the product well why why didn't I get sales the next day after they got the product,
especially today, like every brands are every brand is on social media today. Every brand new influencer marketing today. So it takes so much more to really stand out from the crowd to really connect with your audience compared to Yeah, like 510 years ago, when it was such a new thing. It was much easier to create, to create just an out often to do something. difference. But today, it's it takes a lot, which makes it more tricky. Of course. Yeah, it's
definitely a noisy place out there. And yeah, if you think you're the first ones to engage with that influencer, you're probably not
only not sorry to say
sorry to say. So what are some ways in which we can best measure the full effect of influencer marketing? Beyond these direct results? What advice do you give your clients.
So what we usually start by doing and what we recommend, like if someone asks me, and quite easy way to start is to compare selected periods, let's say in Google Analytics. So you can create a view over a selected periods when you know that the influencers have been posting, it can be a specific week or a specific month. And based on this period, based on this data that you can see, you can then compare the results from a preceding period, the same period of time, depending on how long you have worked with the channel, if it's the previous week, or month or best case, even your if you have much data to go on, you can more easily distinguish clear peaks in your other channels. So let's say we look at last month, you know that Okay, so this month, we had 50 influencers, posting about our brand about our products. And then you can probably see clear peaks in let's say, organic search traffic. And if you haven't done any major changes in those channels, like if the bodies are the same, the tactics are quite the same, you can quite easily attribute those changes or improvements to influence marketing. And if you do this over time, if you have this as a routine to do a very concentrated period of punishments among influencers, you can, over time see trends and patterns. And it will eventually become easier to draw conclusions to learn based on these insights and data. That's a quite easy way to get started and you have the data at hand, you just need to make sure that you know what you have done and haven't done in the other channels. And also making sure that the influencers posts under a concentrated period of time, so that it's not too spread out.
Son of one, that's great advice. Another one that I always give my clients is to focus on a product, it's the same thing. But if every influence was focusing on one of many products you have, yeah, and obviously compare the sales of that product to the others, and see if they drop it right. Once you get creative with it so long as you can define product channel time. Yeah, right, it becomes a lot easier to attribute that to that uplift from influencer marketing, correct?
Definitely. I agree. And another thing, another tactic that we use to do is to use assisted conversions in Google Analytics. So what many brands do today even though this is a quite common feature to use in other settings, it's quite common that you only stare at the last click report. Like where does this purchase come from? It comes from Google Search brown search, direct traffic great, perfect. And I mean, of course, Google wants to, to take the credit for the traffic to the website to for their like for themselves. I mean, that's, that's their own product. So what you need to do is to use assisted conversions. So looking beyond the last click, see what did the customers do before they ended up on this final purchase action which channels have been included a lot Along the way, which pages have they been on, like really take your time again, time is important here as well to really invest resources and time to dig deeper into the reports. And to really make sure you understand what has happened before the purchase was made. So this is a very strong one, we work very much like this with our customers, and we get access to their Google Analytics and help them really understand where does the traffic come from? Because this is where so much of the traffic can be directly attributed to other channels or from the other channels.
Gotcha. So we're coming near the end here. And I know we already sort of touched upon this, but I know it's something that you and everybody Akira media is passionate about, and I'm passionate about as well, is this long term approach to influencer marketing, I just wanted to give you a chance to go a little bit deeper on that topic, and explain why it's just so important. When it comes to working with influencers.
Definitely an SC said, this is something that we love to talk about, because we really see this as this is one of the keys to how you succeed to have this always sound long term approach. And it's actually really relevant right now, because a really common question we get is, okay, so how do we succeed in quarter four, during Christmas, Black Friday, like, what campaign Shall we do to stand out from the crowd to really drive sales, you know, the drill. So the answer to that is that you can just pop in during Christmas or during Black Friday and things that you will make a big, of course, you can make a big noise, big effects. Right now, right here right now. But it will not last for a long time if you haven't built up this precedence during the whole year. So So yeah, if we go back to what we talked about previous layers, I think what brands really need to remember is that this short term attitude towards influence marketing, this campaign based approach is in direct conflict, where the primary strength of the channel, which is relationship building, Authenticity, credible, and I think, as I said before, just like in real life, it takes time to build trust and relationships. And taking a short term approach to influence marketing is not the best way to go as this ignores the actual goal and value of the channel. So yeah, to get maximum results, I really think you should not only know how to measure your ROI correctly, but you also need to, to spend lots of time resources to monitor and optimize the channel month by month, or even week by week looking at, again, if we go back to the paid search metaphor, like just like you realize ads, bidding strategies, content keywords, there's a lot of things you can learn and tweak and optimize with influencer marketing as well. And you can look at the content which lands the best which message resonates and which platforms deliver best, which influencers perform the best finding look alike audiences based on that. And this monitoring needs to be consistent in an always on manner, until you acid brown brown find the unique recipe to deliver on that objective or, or the product of that campaign. So So yeah, taking a holistic approach to the channel, having a long term view. And don't expect the results to come after just a week or a month. But really being there for the long run. Get to know your audience, get to know what works best for you. And make sure that you measure influence marketing, not in a silo, but together with your whole marketing mix. And looking beyond the direct results.
Yeah, amen. Sana so much good stuff. There are so many words of wisdom. You know, my listeners, there's a lot of agencies out there that will say, well, you need to blog for two years before you show up in the search engine results. Not true. There's some agencies who push things because they want your money. But in this case with influencer marketing, you really do need to have that long term approach to get that ROI for all of the reasons that sauna you know went over and for everything I've heard about the age of influence, so hopefully that you you understand that as well. And sign out if you know my listeners are interested in connecting with you or finding out more about your media, where should I send them
so aware everywhere right now, but we are on LinkedIn, through media, Instagram, geo media, and you can also listen to our podcast in terms of marketing talks. If you want to hear us talk more about influencer marketing, always don't miss shirring Oh, fun things related to close marketing.
Excellent. Yeah, we could really geek out over this stuff. So but I want to be respectful of your time as well as my listeners time as well. So thank you very, very much. For all of the advice and for sharing all of your experience and wisdom with us today,
thank you so much for having me.
All right, I hope you enjoyed that interview as much as I did you know, son has an incredibly resourceful cure media sounds like they're doing great work, you should definitely reach out to them. And not just if you're in Europe, but anyone that's looking to engage with an influencer marketing agency. And I think we'll be hearing a lot about them well into the future. I also want to thank those of you that have gone out of your way to actually review this podcast recently, I had two reviews and Neil is the best of the best when it comes to influencer marketing in the digital space. He is a true professional who leads everything out in the field when it comes to his research content. And speaking, the podcast is truly inspiring and educational, the perfect mix. Love it. Thank you, Max branding, and this is one of the most insightful podcast I've ever come across. Neil does such a great job of sharing his wisdom. I love how he leads meaningful conversations with guests who've been so much experience the table, highly recommend checking the show out, you won't be disappointed by a sobering both of you, thank you so much for these reviews as a podcaster. As a content creator, it can be quite lonely when you're speaking into a microphone. In this case, I'm looking out at all these the night skyline of Tokyo that's in front of my hotel window. So you're writing a review obviously helps expose this podcast to more people. But from a personal note, I really make me happy and make my day if you go over to my podcast website, which is podcast, Neal Schaffer calm, you'll find all the show notes from all the episodes, you'll be able to search for all of them, find your favorite episodes on whatever topic you're looking for. And hey, there's also a section where I do showcase these reviews. And part of this platform that I use for the podcast website actually will automatically sort of tweet and post those reviews in social media as well. So don't be surprised, hopefully, you'll have something nice to say. But if you see your words in social media, Don't say I didn't tell yourself. But anyway, regardless, me review any subscriptions as podcasts really helps, and I can't thank you enough. All right. Well, this is Neal Schaffer from Tokyo, Japan, your digital marketing coach signing out. You've been listening to your digital marketing coach, questions, comments, requests, links, go to podcast, Neal schaffer.com. Get the show notes to this and 200 plus podcast episodes at Neal Schaffer comm to tap into the 400 plus blog posts that Neil has published to support your business. While you're there, check out Neil's digital first group coaching membership community if you or your business needs a little helping hand. See you next time on your digital marketing coach.
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