What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is currently a $2 billion industry expected to quintuple to $10 billion by 2020, according to AdWeek. Start-ups and enterprise companies alike are allocating more marketing budgets to influencer campaigns than ever before. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over recommendations from brands.
Influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly valuable way for mobile brands to authentically differentiate themselves across industries and verticals. In a paper published by Harvard Business School, enterprise organizations should expect a well vetted influencer to “generate a 4% increase in sales—which corresponds with around $10 million in additional sales annually”, along with an “increase in stock returns.” The state of influencer marketing will continue to evolve and business leaders need to understand how this channel can make or break the success of their mobile acquisition and retention campaigns.
How to Create a Social Media Influencer Marketing Strategy
Everette Taylor, founder of PopSocial and Forbes 30 Under 30 Selection for Marketing and Advertising, views influencer marketing as a leading tactic for driving mobile growth via social media platforms like Instagram without paying for ads. Specifically, in his Branchout 2017 keynote, Taylor outlines how to build the best social media influencer marketing strategies.
To begin, Taylor suggests that you fortify your understanding of your brand’s following, especially as it relates to influencer-bound platforms like social media. It can be helpful to consider the interests of your users as well as certain demographic factors when approaching the task of selecting appropriate influencers for your mobile brand.
In fact, we’ve developed a four-step guide on how to find the right influencers for your mobile brand, beginning with understanding the many types of influencers out there and ending, of course, with executing your plan. There are, of course, a number of important steps between surveying your influencer marketing options and taking your plan to market—among them, defining objectives, setting goals, implementing a trackable foundation, and optimizing your referral flow to make sure that acquired users not only stick around, but also directly contribute to future, sustained mobile growth.
Before we dive into optimizing these essential intermediate steps to a winning social media influencer marketing plan, consider checking out our eBook co-produced with Neoreach, which provides an in-depth exploration into each component of influencer marketing strategy.
How to Define Your Influencer Marketing Objectives and Goals
After getting a firm grasp on influencer marketing options, marketers should articulate the objective of the strategy—are you seeking downloads, engagement, awareness, or another user behavior? Are you hoping to go to market with your strategy in conjunction with a particular season, holiday, or promotion in order to create a time-sensitive motivation for mobile app user conversion? These questions and more should be tackled prior to approaching the task of reaching out to influencers and beginning to form relationships with them.
Once you had a detailed understanding of your objectives for your influencer marketing plan, it’s important to establish firm goals for resulting mobile growth. To make sure you’re creating a realistic, ambitious, and relevant plan, be sure to consider both industry data as well as historical performance data for your app. It’s worthy of note that your goals should align with your objections—for instance, if your goal is user acquisition, your expressed goals should relate to user acquisition.
How to Perfect Influencer Marketing Performance Tracking
Once you’ve formally established you and your team’s objectives and goals, it’s time to ensure you’ve got a winning strategy for tracking performance metrics and benchmarks. The best way to track influencer marketing metrics is to make sure influencers use links with built-in tracking when they share your app or products in your app. The Branch dashboard features a Quick Links section where you can provide customized tracking links for your influencers in a scalable way.
Branch combines a leading approach to dependable influencer metrics and analytics with world-class deep linking capability. The Branch dashboard tracks clicks, installs, opens, retention, and conversions for each link and for each user. Use our dashboard to help model your cost per acquisition. This type of influencer marketing measurement is ultimately how you will calculate influencer ROI.
Furthermore, users acquired or engaged by your influencer campaign will be linked directly to desired in-app content when they click on Branch deep links (rather than being directed to desired content in the mobile web, where they aren’t logged in, and are therefore less likely to engage). Deep linking is even reliably executed through the mobile app install process, so acquired users will have a similarly seamless experience and, as it turns out, will be far more likely to stick around in the long run.
It’s important to note that, even though at this stage you’ll have a defined understanding of the areas of growth you’re hoping to influence, you should track everything from shares, clicks, and installs driven by every influencer. You know where you’re hoping to move the needle today, but you never know what mobile growth goals will look like tomorrow!
How to Measure Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns
The most popular KPI to use when gauging the success of influencer marketing & referral campaigns is cost per acquisition. Marketing influencers are gauged on the volume of their conversions—otherwise known as the influencer marketing conversion rate.
The summary stats give you a high-level overview of the total number of users who have referred users and the total number of users who have been referred. You can use these metrics to get a quick picture of the “density of referrals.” This will demonstrate whether your mobile growth is being driven by a few users who are sharing or if it’s more balanced. Here’s an example influencer summary stats page:
We’ve created a thorough guide on how to track virality and influencers in your Android or iOS app. You can use this overview to enable virality and influencer tracking for your mobile app.
How to Achieve Virality Through Your Influencer Campaign
In an article by Harvard Business Review, Kelsey Libert and Kristin Tynski writes, “Successful viral campaigns regularly produce 1 million+ impressions, with standouts garnering 10x to 100x that number, often crossing over into the mainstream, and picking up free exposure on television and radio and in print media.” Clearly, achieving virality is a one-way ticket to sustainable mobile growth.
Achieving virality is the holy grail for most mobile apps today, and the only way to get there is to keep trying, keep testing, learning, and trying again. Although much of virality seems up to chance, there is a great deal of academic evidence supporting familiar patterns of growth.
In addition to the measuring k-factor, another important indicator of viral marketing is the viral cycle time. The viral cycle effectively measures the interval between when your initial customer sees your app and when their friend decides to take a look on their own. In our 2018 Mobile Growth Handbook, we delve into a deep exploration of what makes content viral, from content that feeds the ego to content that appeals to high arousal and emotion.
Additionally, it’s critical to leverage what Greylock Partners’ Josh Elman calls the double viral loop: when User B joins from an invite or share from User A, close the loop by notifying User A. This will encourage User A to not only engage further in the app, but also to refer more frequently in the future.
Influencer marketing is here to stay, and Branch enables all mobile brands—from Fortune 500 VPs to startup growth marketers—to track performance metrics for influencer campaigns reliably and accurately, all while providing world-class deep linking. Get started by requesting a demo and visiting our referral analytics dashboard today.