First off, let’s review what a “KPI” refers to.
A “KPI” is a Key Performance Indicator. In essence, it refers to whatever performance metric in which you can measure the success of your marketing campaign. Different marketing channels and campaigns all may have different KPIs depending on the end goal you have as a brand, company, or individual.
KPIs and Digital Marketing
Since the dawn of the internet, digital marketing, and eCommerce, the almighty measurement of Key Performance Indicators KPIs) has been what determines the success, or conversely, failure of any marketing campaign. Traditionally, you would see main KPIs that were specific to a digital channel. This is simply because most digital marketing channels were segregated into their own efforts and had their own use case. Do you want to drive awareness? Run a banner ad. You want to push traffic to your new website? Ramp up your CPC budget. Looking to re-engage with consumers? Push out more email campaigns. So on and so forth. Here is a look at how each channel would typically evaluate success and which KPI is normally measured.
- Search Marketing: Cost Per Click (CPC) is king.
- Email Marketing: Open Rates, Reply Rates, Click Through Rates all share equal space in this channel
- Banner and Awareness Ads: Cost per Impression (CPM) and Click Through Rate (CTR) both determine how the ads are performing
- PR and Social/Influencer Placements: Site Traffic, Engagement, and Email Capture (LeadGen) have always been closely watched. Typically, the first 2 hold the most weight as they show consumer interest and help you determine if you are building “social proof” with your target audience (the goal of PR and Influencer Write Ups and Reviews).
- Affiliate Marketing: Increased Revenue, Positive Channel ROAS, and LeadGen (email captures, etc) have been the focus as a more bottom-funnel “finisher” to the overall marketing mix.
This was all considered normal and fairly siloed within marketing teams on how to properly measure each campaign and each channel independently from each other. While the question of consumer touchpoints, purchase journey, and incrementality can all be discussed, we will save that for another time.
The Future of Reporting, Affiliate Marketing and PR
In today’s world of eCommerce a lot of the above is starting to shift, and we need to shift how we measure our KPIs alongside it. Let’s start with Search and Email Marketing. These two channels still hold their siloed status for the most part, with a few exceptions. While brands continue to use these channels to produce site traffic, follow up with would-be customers, re-target customers, and drive awareness, they are also starting to play a tricky strategy to become more noticeable. By utilizing the Affiliate Channel, brands realize offering controlled ™+ bidding rights and partnering with the right long-tail search affiliates, they can take up more real estate within search results and push out their competitors. If done successfully, brands can do this without cannibalizing their own search efforts or driving up their own CPC costs on select terms or phrases they actively bid on. For email efforts, the right affiliate may contain a much larger list than the brand itself. This allows for moving the needle and targeting a specific demographic by utilizing affiliates that can produce a spot on their monthly newsletter, or even highlight the brand specifically during a promotion, or new product launch.
Now, for PR and Influencer Marketing things start to get even more interesting. As they continue to blur more into the Affiliate channel, we have to go back to our siloed expectations they would typically be measured upon.
Traditionally, the world of PR or Influencer Marketing didn’t cross paths with Affiliate on a regular basis. Those days are long gone!
Read about the merging of PR and Affiliates here.
Brands today realize that by utilizing both channels to grow, they can better gauge and measure how their ad dollars are performing. Since consumers today can be found bouncing all over the web (i.e. Social platforms, emails, brand sites, coupon sites, apps, podcasts, etc.) it’s important to capture the essence of who you are in a brand and what you are targeting in a consumer. This means utilizing traditional PR editorials as a key starting point followed by placements with Influencers who are engaging and can target your key audience, and lastly, following up with a trackable link or code in additional placement opps with those same publications and affiliates (Affluencers) to track consumer behavior and drive bottom funnel sales.
Therein lies an important question: If affiliate efforts are typically measured by performance and revenue increases (sales/revenue), PR traditionally measured as an awareness or traffic opportunity, and Influencer partnerships measured as social proof, additional awareness, and brand engagement; how do properly break down the results when they are all pushed into a single campaign effort or budget within the affiliate channel?
Need to know what tracking is available to PR firms through the affiliate channel? We’ve got you covered!
Affiliate Marketing and PR – Working Together
Luckily the answer doesn’t have to be that complicated. Instead of automatically thinking that anything within the affiliate channel should be measured as a pure revenue driver we just need to look at the overall objectives of each opportunity and go from there. If the plan is to utilize ad budget for large publication editorials, comparison review sites, and influencer write ups then we need to start with the original, siloed KPIs in mind. From this baseline, it’s important to realize that within the affiliate channel, we can then discuss how to utilize our affiliate partnerships and those editorials on additional support and amplify those paid placements and drive sales at the bottom of the funnel. Adding a very important KPI to the analysis of that campaign. Doing this in conjunction, and having realistic expectations on each opportunity and paid affiliate placement, will set the stage for optimization and scalability! As we see this shift continue, it’s sure to have a few “facepalm” moments but with clear expectations, and an open mind to what success looks like (KPIs we are using and how) there is a lot of untapped potential to be found in this new world of what we call Affiliate Marketing.
There is already a significant number of tactics and strategies that are common amongst PR initiatives and Affiliate Campaigns.
If you would like to know how your PR agency can deploy the power of affiliate marketing, then contact us today!