Influencers - How Measure Performance

If you want to select the right Influencer for your marketing campaign, measure what matters. The five "R's."


Bill Arnold

12/29/20236 min read

Influencer Marketing Metrics
Influencer Marketing Metrics

One of the critical considerations that every marketing needs to determine is how to choose an influencer marketer. The best way to ascertain what influencer marketer you should be using is based on their performance metrics. We always look at the five "R's." Reputation plays a significant role in determining the credibility, and trustworthiness of the influencer. Find an influencer whose Reach (which measures the number of people the influencer can potentially reach with their content) is that of your targeted audience. Resonance is another important metric that gauges the level of engagement and interaction the influencer's posts generate from their audience. Relevance measures how well the influencer's content aligns with the brand or product being promoted. The more relevant to your brand, the more authenticity they will have. Lastly, Results are essential to evaluate the impact of the influencer's efforts on the brand's objectives such as sales, brand awareness, or customer engagement. By assessing these performance metrics, brands can make informed decisions when choosing the right influencer marketer for their campaigns.

When someone asks me what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they should measure, my answer is always, ALL OF THEM. I say this only half in jest because, at Prevail Marketing, we track upward of 400 KPIs each month when marketing for a client. It is impossible to know why a campaign is not working or where it might be broken if you do not track every aspect of that engagement. It is with that attitude that I bring to this discussion, What should we measure in an influencer marketing campaign?

Before you even get to the question of what KPIs to evaluate for an influencer, it is important you understand the background of the person or organization who will be representing your product or service to the public. While it is impossible to know everything about an individual, a search on social media will identify a lot of information and help guide your decision. Take time to really read the comments and the responses by the influencer. What you learn may save you time, money, and anguish.

Reputation - Does your influencer have any past indiscretions or scandals that may reflect badly on your brand? Is there any criminal activity or ties to any organization that might damage your brand's credibility?

There are a lot of influencers who have an angry persona or who fight with their followers or groups who disagree with their position. Take time to really understand the person or organization you are inviting into your brand’s identity. Does the influencer have authenticity, integrity, and values that align with your mission and organization? If you want to make a genuine connection with your audience, it must ring true.

Other Endorsements - Remember if the influencer you have chosen endorses other brands, you could be “guilty” by association. Make sure that your influencer is not substituting his reputation for a quick dollar.

Legitimacy - Growing any sphere of influence on any platform takes time and effort. Some “influencers” want to shortcut that by buying followers and subscribers. Any artificially high number that happened in a spurt or cannot be attributed to the quantity and quality of the content may be fake followers or bots. Other factors that may indicate they have bought fake followers are artificially low engagement rates followers are all from a single country, or the comments do not make sense or have repetitive language.

Reach - The reach of your potential influencer is probably the easiest metric to ascertain. All social platforms publish the number of followers or subscribers that have enough interest in that person to want to be informed when they post. This does not mean all of those followers will see the post nor does it mean that others will not find it in their feed. It simply gives you a comparable metric as to what is possible and how they compare to other influencers that you may be considering.

While this is more of a qualitative measurement, it is certainly one that can be measured. Take the last year of any influencers posting and see how often they post about the theme or topic that would interest your audience.

For example, if you want Kim Kardashian to be an influencer for your fashion brand, you may be surprised that of her last one hundred posts on X (Formerly Twitter) thirty-seven percent did not pertain to fashion. Now this may or may not matter but you should know and factor that into your decision.
In another example, if you look at the last one hundred (100) videos posted on YouTube by @AltcoinDaily, their post addressed their area of subject matter expertise, cryptocurrency.

Relevance - The reason relevance is such an important metric to evaluate as to do with authenticity. If your influencer is posting on a wide array of topics, it can certainly impact their authenticity in two ways.

Relationship to Product - If your Influencer is going to promote your product or service their audience must instinctively understand the connection they have to the topic. Since her career began in 2009, Kim Kardashian has lent her image and name to endorse 23 products. These included everything from fashion to lollipops, to restrooms near Time Square. The lollipops quickly went the way of oblivion as it was not associated with the persona that Kardashian promoted. I am sure the restrooms near Times Square were not hurt by the Kardashian endorsement, but they certainly were not used more frequently because of it.

Moral Authority - If an influencer is perceived as insincere or dishonest, they will lose credibility and influence. Continuing with the Kardashian brand let’s look at her former husband Kanye West or as he is now referred to Ye. He is a classic example of what can go wrong with a brand influencer. Saying he lost relevance to his endorsed brand is probably an understatement. Adidas lost a reported $1.3 billion dollars because Kanye wore t-shirts and made statements that were antisemitic and used by white supremacist groups. While that is certainly an extreme example, it does bring the point home about the value of authenticity.

Calculating the influencer’s engagement rate is probably the best way to measure their resonance. If the influencer does not engage their sphere of influence, what is the point? To understand the engagement rate and the true impact an influencer has, divide the interactions an Influencer receives (e.g., likes, reposts, comments, and sharing) by their number of followers. There are a number of third-party tools such as STATSOCIAL or RivalIQ that can measure the amount of engagement a particular influencer or organization has if you do not want to engage in the tedious effort of self-discovery.

Resonance - Resonance is where the playing field gets leveled. While the Mega Influencer has a reach that makes them look like an obvious choice, once you subtract their real reach (how many posts are relevant to your product) and how many of those actually engage, you might reach a different conclusion.

This is where Subject Matter Influencers tend to shine. Because they are addressing a topic that is a passion of their followers, you will often see much higher engagement. This along with the fact they are less expensive makes Subject Matter Influencers an attractive solution.

The high level of engagement that Micro and Nano influencers have also can make it attractive for companies to engage them as well. While their audience may be significantly less, because they hold a personal relationship the engagement tends to be higher.

Results - While most articles on tracking Influencer engagement stop with the previously mentioned four (4) R’s, we believe the most important are the results. This is why you want to engage with the influencer in the first place. While the other “R’s) speak to brand awareness, the result is where the rubber meets the road.

Many influencers track and know the results of previous product or service campaigns. They have this information as often part of their compensation is based on how many bought a product or signed up for a program. While they will not give you confidential information about a specific client, they will have an aggregate number they can share.

If they don’t you will want to track this information so you can decide whether it makes sense to work with that influencer in the future. There are two common ways of tracking the performance of a particular influencer. The most common is assigning each influencer a unique affiliate code that their followers need to use to get a discount or to sign up for their service. An alternative is to have a unique landing page for each influencer to send their follower to purchase your product or service.


If you don't measure what is important, then you are simply guessing and hoping for the best. The ONLY way to have a science-based marketing program is to be a metric-driven marketer. While we know most agencies don't track 400 KPIs each month for every client, if you are not tracking the five R's for Influencers, you are leaving your fate to luck.