How to Measure In-Store Traffic with Influencers?

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By Casady Williams

Nothing has revolutionized the world of marketing like the introduction of the influencer campaign. Spawned from social media and the power of digital content, the realm of the influencer campaign has changed the face of advertising and product placement forever. Keep up with the trends and launch your influencer strategy by first reading a basic guide to influencer marketing.  It’s no surprise that over 17% of brands in 2019 are renegotiating their marketing budgets to delegate a 50% spend on influencer campaigns. 

While the benefits of influencer marketing are enormous, there is one piece of the equation missing; how does one track the conversion from social influence to in-store traffic? 

Calculating the Success of a Campaign

When hiring an influencer, you establish far more than just a “personality” partnership. While every piece of content is important, the true metric of success is the conversions spurred from their outreach. 

But how do you create visibility around this? The answer is data.

Whether gathering data through native in-app features or drawing key insights from third-party analytic tools (like Pulsar and BrandMentions), there are a variety of ways to measure the success of your campaign. After all, isn’t this direct source of data what makes digital marketing the most efficient form of advertisement in the history of humankind? 

Engagement 

Navigating successful engagement is one of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) for any influencer campaign. Essentially, it’s the most authentic indicator of the social conversation orbiting your product or brand. 

It’s measured through:

  • Post Comments
  • Post Likes 
  • Post saves
  • New followers or subscribers
  • The number of post impressions
  • Mentions
  • Shares
  • Hashtags and geotags 

Conversion

Yet, no matter how hot the engagement is surrounding your influencer campaign, if there are no conversions—it’s not working. The truly important metric is conversion, which can be measured in two ways:

  • Click-Throughs – First, the click-through rate of the content. This represents how many times a lead clicks through a given piece of content, heading straight to your platform. This is often measured by an embedded link (in the bio) or “swipe-up.” 
  • Conversion – How many of these “click-throughs” streaming from your influencer’s content result in an actual sale. 

While these statistics are paramount, there exists a core metric of success that is far harder to calculate: the conversion to literal, physical, in-store traffic and purchases. 

In short, how do I measure the foot traffic of shoppers who have learned about my brand through the voice of an influencer? How many of their followers will be persuaded to visit the physical location? 

Financial Success: Return on Investment (ROI)

Financially, the success of your campaign can be determined through your ROI. This is usually calculated through the following equation: 

  • Influencer ROI = Profit Return/Campaign Budget x 100 

However, calculating the exact scope of profit return generated via your influencer partnership is impossible since there is no definitive way to determine how many in-store purchases were the result of your influencer campaign. It’s not like in-store employees are going to ask every customer “what exactly brings you in today and can you please write it down in this excel sheet for us?”

For this reason, when marketers compare the success of a campaign through the ROI, they are typically referring to concrete, measurable conversions that result from in-app purchases. 

This might include the following:

  • “Swipe Ups” – By developing a unique “swipe-up” link for the influencer’s Instagram story, embedded links will track directly back to the influencer, allowing you to measure the conversion rate and monitor spikes in profit. 
  • Shopping on Instagram – Instagram’s in-app retail feature will allow customers to buy directly from your influencer’s profile page. This allows you to track which purchases pertain to which content pieces. 
  • Links in Bio – Contract your influencer to put an embedded link to your online store in their bio. Your analytics team will be able to track purchases made from this link, thus linking them to your specific influencer. 

Three Substitutes for In-Store Conversion

While the importance of digital insights is unparalleled, there’s still value in good, old-fashioned store walk-ins (thus, knowing where they’re coming from and why will help you increase your foot traffic). If you have a brick and mortar storefront, a pop-up shop location, or a presence at a physical event, then you’re going to want to gauge the effect that your influencer campaign had on attracting new visiting customers. 

While there is no linear metric to calculate the number of physical customers your influencer campaign draws forth, the following analytics can create isolated links between influencer campaigns and in-store visits.  

Below, we’ll show you how. 

#1 Custom Coupons

Create distinct and unique custom coupons for each of your influencers. These coupons might merit a discount or deal on a product, or simply pertain to a limited edition item. Your influencer can distribute their coupon to their following in numerous ways:

  • A unique code in their caption copy
  • A screenshot of their Instagram Story
  • A swipe up to an individualized coupon webpage
  • A swipe up to an individualized QR code

Your influencer should then encourage their followers to redeem their coupon in-store, thus incentivizing them to visit your physical location. From here, the coupon can be generated and categorized as an influencer conversion. 

The benefit of this campaign strategy is that, when working with multiple influencers, it provides an insight into individual conversion rates. You can analyze the success of the campaign in real-time, therefore providing you the flexibility to adjust and reprioritize your campaign spend accordingly. If one influencer is significantly underperforming, you might choose to boost their posts with paid media. 

Potential Downsides

The downside of this campaign style is that it is highly location-dependent. The beauty of social media is that the campaign has the potential to go viral, which is great for an online retailer, but less important to a localized boutique store.

More so, while an influencer might hail from Nashville and typically post about their city, their follower base might be Nashvillians living in Seattle. While the engagement might be encouraging, the likelihood that these rainy city dwellers will ever visit the physical store is low.

For this reason, it’s crucial you research the geography of both your influencer and their audience. Make sure you’re targeting a large swath of people that actually have the means to visit your location. Find more essential steps to finding an influencer with these things to look for when identifying an influencer brand ambassador.

#2 In-Store Appearances 

More and more brands are partnering with influencers for exclusive in-store appearances. Whether positioned as a meet-and-greet, a merch drop, keynote talk, autograph opportunity or simply a brand celebration, there is a multitude of event opportunities that can focus around your influencer partnership—creating the grounds for measurable conversions. 

Influencers tightrope a middle ground between celebrity and cultural figures. For many, their mass appeal lies, ironically, in how attainable their aspirational lifestyles might be. Truth be told: many influencers are just like us, and that’s why we relate to them so profoundly. Leveraging this appeal through a “meeting opportunity” is a fantastic way to funnel customers to the door of your storefront. 

#3 Ticket Sales

The aforementioned in-store event can be marketed by your influencer through ticket sales on their social channels. Arming them with ticket links that contain individual Urchin Tracking Modules (UTM) means that you can use Google Analytics to generate a conversion rate and establish which influencers directly drove which proportion of ticket sales. If each ticket links to a certain campaign, then you’ll have clear metrics of how many in-store visitors your influencer(s) is responsible for. 

#4 Instagram Post Saves

While post saves do not necessarily correspond directly to in-store traffic, this important feature gives marketers deeper insight into follower behavior. 

However, it’s likely that a saved post is intended to spark a memory. The follower thinks: I might forget this, but I don’t want to. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to saved posts. If your influencer is posting content for your campaign and their followers are saving it, then it’s likely they might revisit it, ultimately leading to conversion at your storefront. 

The True Value of Social Currency 

The value of e-commerce is astronomical and the tools at digital marketing’s disposal continue to popularize online shopping. But brands with storefronts must not forget that often what makes a brand memorable is a customers’ experience. And what better way to get to know your brand voice and image than by visiting the physical location?

Through custom coupons, in-store appearances, and ticket sales, there are clear ways to create a link between in-store traffic and influencer campaigns. Stick by this and none of your efforts will go to waste—this type of data is invaluable. 

It’s the very reason digital marketing yields its current efficacy. 

 

Sources

Big Commerce, The State of Influencer Marketing: 10 Influence Marketing Statistics to Inform Where You Invest, https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/influencer-marketing-statistics/#10-most-important-influencer-marketing-statistics-for-2019

Instagram, About Shopping on Instagram, https://help.instagram.com/191462054687226