When we look at influencer marketing, we usually focus on quick results like the number of new sign-ups or sales increases right after a campaign. But what about the long-term impact? This blog post dives into a case study of a year-long influencer campaign for an educational subscription app, where we didn't stop watching when the campaign ended. Instead, we tracked its effects for a whole year. The findings? The true value of influencer marketing doesn't just stop when the ads do; it keeps building over time, challenging our usual short-term approach and showing us the real, lasting power of these campaigns.
The Traditional View of Influencer Marketing KPIs
Influencer marketing is typically taken as a game of immediate numbers. Most companies focus on straightforward, short-term metrics to gauge the success of their campaigns. This section will break down these traditional KPIs and explain why they've been the go-to metrics in our industry.
Immediate Reach: Video views. These are the first signals of a campaign's reach and resonance with the audience.
Conversion Rates: This includes sign-ups, downloads, or purchases directly traced to the campaign. A high conversion rate is often seen as a direct indicator of success.
Cost-Effectiveness: Metrics like Cost Per Click (CPC) or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) are crucial. Lower costs are typically equated with higher campaign efficiency.
Short-Term Sales Uplift: The immediate increase in sales during or just after the campaign is a common KPI, especially in e-commerce or retail sectors.
The real question is: How do these metrics evolve over time, and are we missing out on valuable insights by not looking at the longer-term impact? This leads us to the concept of 'long-tail performance' – a crucial yet often ignored aspect of influencer marketing.
The Long-Tail Effect in Influencer Marketing
After understanding the traditional metrics, it's time to shift our focus to a less discussed but equally significant aspect: the long-tail effect in influencer marketing.
This section will explain what we mean by 'long-tail performance' and why it's a game-changer in understanding the true impact of influencer campaigns.
Defining Long-Tail Performance: Long-tail performance refers to the continued impact of a marketing campaign long after it has officially ended. This includes ongoing views, conversions, and brand awareness that persist for months, or even years.
Why It Matters: While immediate results are important, they only tell part of the story. The long-tail effect shows how influencer marketing can create lasting brand value, sustained customer relationships, and ongoing conversions, often at a significantly lower cost.
Overlooking the Long-Tail: Many businesses focus solely on short-term metrics, missing out on the long-term benefits. This oversight can lead to undervaluing influencer marketing's effectiveness and potential ROI.
Case for a Broader View: We'll argue for a more comprehensive approach to measuring influencer marketing success. This includes tracking long-term metrics like sustained website traffic, extended social media engagement, and long-term sales trends.
Case Study – Subscription App in Education
Having established the importance of long-tail performance, let's delve into a real-world example that illustrates this concept in action. This section will present a detailed case study of a year-long influencer marketing campaign we conducted for a subscription app in the education category.
Campaign Overview: We'll start by providing an overview of the campaign, which ran from April to June 2020. This includes the campaign goals, the influencer selection process, and the types of content created.
Tracking Methodology: It's crucial to understand how we tracked the campaign's performance. We used our client's internal reporting tools, attributing conversions to each influencer and collaboration individually. This precise tracking allowed us to dissect the campaign’s impact accurately.
Analyzing the Long-Tail Results
The analysis of the data provides clear evidence of the long-tail effect, demonstrating the extended value influencer marketing brings to brands, which is often underappreciated when focusing solely on immediate results.
Signups Over Time: Despite 50% of the signups occurring in the first two months, the remaining 50% gradually accumulated over the following year, showcasing the sustained interest generated by the campaign.
Cost-Effectiveness Post-Campaign: An in-depth look at the cost per signup reveals a significant improvement of around 58% by Month 12 compared to the start of the campaign. This indicates not just sustained interest, but also increased efficiency over time.
Subscriber Retention and Growth: The growth in subscriber numbers was even more pronounced, with a 74% increase post-campaign. This not only signifies the campaign's effectiveness in attracting new subscribers but also in retaining them long-term.
CAC Improvement: The customer acquisition cost (CAC) showed a nearly fourfold improvement compared to the initial campaign period, underscoring the long-term financial benefits of the influencer marketing approach.
The findings prove that influencer campaigns can have a lasting impact, contributing to a brand's growth and success well beyond the active campaign period.
Key Takeaways and Implications
The 5 actionable insights that can be applied to future campaigns:
Long-Tail Performance is Crucial: The most significant takeaway is the undeniable importance of long-tail performance in influencer marketing. This extended impact can lead to sustained brand growth and improved cost-effectiveness over time.
Rethinking Campaign Success Metrics: The findings challenge the conventional focus on immediate results. Brands should consider incorporating long-term performance metrics into their evaluation criteria to get a complete picture of a campaign's success.
Strategy for Future Campaigns: These insights suggest a need for strategies that not only aim for immediate impact but also foster long-term engagement and conversions. This might involve selecting influencers based on their potential for long-term audience engagement or creating content that has enduring appeal.
Budgeting for the Long-Tail: Understanding the long-tail effect can also influence budget allocation. It suggests that investing in influencer marketing can yield returns well beyond the campaign duration, potentially offering better ROI than traditional short-term strategies.
Leveraging Data for Decision Making: The case study underscores the value of data in guiding influencer marketing decisions. Tracking and analyzing both short-term and long-term metrics can provide deeper insights and drive more effective marketing strategies.
By embracing these key takeaways and integrating them into future influencer marketing plans, brands can unlock the full potential of influencer marketing, far beyond the immediate impact of a campaign.