Brands spend millions of dollars on influencer marketing every year but unfortunately, most of them are not accurately tracking their efforts. There are so many moving parts when it comes to tracking influencers, especially when it involves influencers posting across multiple platforms.

I’m going to go over three very simple ways to track your influencer marketing efforts to ensure that you’re able to accurately attribute performance metrics to the right influencers.

Why is tracking important?
If you’re planning on having a long-term influencer marketing program then it’s crucial to understand which influencers are performing the best. This is so that you can allocate the majority of your resources to the top performers while pulling away resources from the poor performers (AKA optimization).

1. Tracking Links
Strength: Tracking Direct Traffic Flow

There are two common ways of tracking traffic via links.

Redirects:
Services such is bit.ly use redirects so that they can offer a short link and track user data. The mechanics of a URL redirect is very simple. Javascript (frontend method) and PHP/Python/Ruby on Rails (backend method) are commonly used to initiate the redirect and it typically only requires one line of code.

Many different types of data can be retrieved via redirects (e.g. user agent, IP address, location, referrer, etc…). Redirects really come in handy when you don’t have code installed on the landing page which the link is pointing to. It’s like a pit-stop–before arriving at your destination–where you can collect some data on the user before sending her off on her way.

URL Parameters:
URL parameters are very common. Have you ever noticed URLs with question marks and ampersands (i.e. “www.testing.com?tracking_param=tracking_this&other_param=tracking_this_to”)? Tracking parameters are quite simple as well. All you need to do is append the URL with whatever information you want to track when the page loads–you can do this with any URL by the way and it won’t affect the way the page loads (try google.com?testing=test). When the page loads you can read the URL parameters (usually with only one line of code) and save the data to your database/log.

2. Promo Codes
Strength: Tracking Offline Activities

Promo codes can be a great way to track performance during an influencer campaign especially when you’re trying to track actions such as purchases, store visits, etc… All you do is have the influencers distribute their own unique promo codes to their followers. You can then track how many redemptions each individual influencer-generated.

Many Point of Purchase systems have functionality for supporting promo codes so you’d just need to check with your POS vendor to better understand the best way to run such promos so that everything is seamlessly tracked from influencer all the way to in-store purchase.

3. Social Data
Strength: Understanding Brand Recall, Reputation, and Engagement

Understanding your influencers’ social impact is crucial, especially if the main objective of your influencer campaign is to drive brand awareness and engagement. Tracking social data can be daunting. If you aren’t a programmer there are many social listening services out there for tracking social data. If you do write code, then you can simply leverage the APIs of the top social platforms to collect and process social data.

Important things to look out for:

-The number of comments and subsequent social posts that were generated due to an influencer posting on their social account.

-The total reach (the total number of followers that the influencer has as well as the sum of followers of each person that commented that promoted the post).

-Traffic flow to your website/app from an influencer posting.