Advocacy and Influencer marketing have become much more than the latest marketing buzzwords; they’ve become an integral part of the hallowed “marketer’s toolbox”. From small e-commerce shops to large retailers, B2B companies and everyone in between, marketers are turning to their brand advocates to help share corporate marketing messages on their social channels. And why shouldn’t they?
As digital media costs continue to rise and organic reach continues to get throttled back, advocacy marketing programs provide an alternative channel for brands focused on building their social presence. As budget allocations for advocacy marketing programs increase, so too do expectations. Brands need to show success from their advocacy marketing program.
Where to Start
If you’re going to measure success, start by defining what the goal of your advocacy marketing program is. For some companies, it might be:
- Hitting a certain number of branded impressions each month
- Driving site visits or content engagements
- Increasing directly-attributable sales or revenue
A large multi-location fast food chain is going to have a different advocacy marketing campaign goal than a small fashion-centric e-commerce shop. With the goal set, you want to determine any historic benchmarks tied to that goal. We’re talking:
- Typical impression numbers
- Average Cost per 1,000 impressions
- Cost per Click
- Lifetime Value of the Customer
You get the picture. The important part of this exercise is to ensure you’re comparing marketing apples-to-apples, not oranges-to-pineapples (or whatever fruit examples you want to go with).
Now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s dive into how to measure success.
If Success is Brand Exposure
Harken back to advertising’s early days and you’ll see that it was all about those sweet, sweet impressions. Brands purchased radio spots, television slots, and even sponsored sports teams to get their brand in front of their target audience. Even today, impression based buys are still the bulk of terrestrial-based media buying.
Most of these ad buys are purchased on a cost-per thousand (CPM) basis. The lower the CPM, the more successful an impression-based buy was deemed. If you (or your boss) are comparing your advocacy marketing programs to other impression-based campaigns, start by speaking a common language. For your advocacy marketing program that means looking at:
- The total reach of your audience
- The number of impressions earned through your advocates’ efforts
- The CPM of those impressions
To calculate the CPM of your advocacy marketing efforts follow this formula:
Your True Advocacy Marketing Program Cost / (Total Impressions / 1,000) = CPM
When calculating your monthly cost, be sure to include any hours spent managing your program as well as any incentives you have tied to the program.
If Success is Based on Driving Site Traffic
Is the goal of your advocacy marketing program tied to how much traffic it drives back to your site? Then you’re no doubt trying to compare your advocacy marketing efforts to other direct response efforts like AdWords or Facebook.
Start by determining the number of website visits your advocacy marketing efforts are generating. Look at your advocacy marketing dashboard, or inside Google Analytics, to see how many site visits were recorded. SocialToaster clients can find a detailed walkthrough on how to set Google Analytics up to track advocacy traffic on our blog here.
Calculate your advocacy marketing program cost per click:
Your True Advocacy Marketing Program Cost / Number of Clicks Generated = CPC
Remember, use your true monthly cost (platform fee + internal costs) when calculating your program CPC.
Pro Tip: Cheap clicks aren’t everything, take a deep look at the quality of the traffic. If you’re Google traffic is coming in at $0.10 per click, but everyone is immediately leaving your site (high bounce rate) or only staying on your site for a few seconds (low time on site) then your $0.10 per click is being wasted on worthless traffic.
If Success is Based on Sales
While some brands can’t easily track how their specific marketing efforts impact the bottom line (retailers, for example, can’t claim that Jane Smith came in on Wednesday because they posted a stellar GIF Tuesday afternoon), success for e-commerce brands and other web transaction-based companies is typically tied to attributable sales.
The apples-to-apples metric comparison here comes down to Cost per Acquisition (CPA), namely, how much a brand has to spend on a marketing channel to land a new customer. If you’re selling a product online for $30 and it costs you $40 to get a new customer on a specific marketing channel, you’re ROI-negative before you even begin!
Attributing sales is tricky business. Depending on how many touch points your average customer has before they convert, your business may be using a first touch, last touch, or linear attribution model. Regardless of which one you use, make sure to use the same attribution model when comparing the CPA of your advocacy marketing program to the benchmark KPI.
Calculate cost per acquisition from your advocacy marketing program by:
Your True Advocacy Marketing Program Cost / Number of Transactions= CPA
If your advocacy marketing costs outperform your historic KPIs, congratulations, you have a successful advocacy marketing program!! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.
Make Advocacy Marketing Easier With SocialToaster
If you want to learn more about tracking the success of your advocacy marketing program reach out to your SocialToaster account rep. Don’t have a SocialToaster program yet? Call us at 855.62.TOAST, send us an email, or request a free demo and start letting advocacy marketing work for you!