In today’s market, brands are interested in far more than merely the number of followers an influencer has. In addition to audience demographics or the quality of their content creation, one of the most important considerations both brands and influencer agencies pay attention to is engagement. This category, however, is multi-faceted and nuanced— much more complex than merely a number of likes.
So how does one accurately assess the quality of an influencers engagement? Here are three considerations to keep in mind:
1. CONSIDER THE FORMAT
The content format that an influencer uses plays a large role in engagement. For example, the number of likes and comments are almost always lower for videos than photos. This is largely because a video view is a form of engagement in itself— a like or comment being a secondary level of activity. The same could be said about content that includes a call to action or click-through link. Anytime a post involves an “ask” of the audience, whether it’s a video to watch, a link to click or something else, this reduces the likeliness that the user will also go a step further to like the photo or comment on it as well. In these instances, one should remember that while likes or comments may fall below average levels, the quality of the engagement has the potential to be more valuable. In fact, HubSpot found that after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.
2. READ THE COMMENTS
The number of comments on a post should obviously be considered while measuring engagement. With that said, just because an influencer has dozens and dozens of comments on a photo doesn’t always mean that their content is well-received within their audience. If you look more closely at the type of comments being posted, they’ll often lack personalization by making generic blanket statements, such as “nice shot” or a range of random emojis. Commenting on posts has become a tactic many use to get their own account noticed by others. If you want to accurately measure authentic engagement, look to also find genuine feedback pertaining to the specific post. For example, if the image is about a hair-care product, authentic comments will often include consideration questions, such as if the influencer enjoyed using the product compared to a competitor.
3. MEASURE WITH INCENTIVES
Brands will often provide influencers with a unique code to share with their audience that serves as a direct form of measurement for the effectiveness of that campaign. Daniel Wellington used this strategy and evolved from a $150,000 startup into a brand that’s worth $220 million in less than five years, and increase profits by 214% between 2014 and 2015. Likes, comments, shares and overall sentiment is all great, however using these unique codes allow brands to tie a direct number to how effective a partnership was in terms of sales— usually the ultimate goal of engagement in the first place.
There is much more that could be said about engagement, but at the end of the day it comes down to influencers serving content to consumers in a meaningful way. As always, authenticity is always the goal: compelling content with a genuine delivery from the influencer should spark curiosity and conversations among their audience.