Not everything can be measured.

Key Metrics for Measuring the Impact of Influencer Marketing and KPIs

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“what gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

It was Peter Drucker who said that what gets measured gets managed.  Which means it would be great to be able to enter data on a spreadsheet and output a SMI (social media influencer) performance rank. Having metrics gives you the chance to compare one SMI’s performance to another, or to other marketing efforts. 

To try to get at some metrics, you’ll want to define some key performance indicators, also known as “KPIs.” For example — are you looking to see a specific increase in comments on your posts, or an increase in your number of followers? Those are measurable and realistic.  

Typical KPIs

Typical Influencer Marketing KPIs
Typical Influencer Marketing KPIs. Source: DearMishuDad’s Class

Decide on Your KPIs

It’s commonly thought that KPIs should include: Reach (which is the number of followers), impressions, views, engagement rates, and increase in followers and shares.

As you can see from the Instagram Insight screenshot here, most of the data for those KPIs can obtained from the social media platform analytics, which makes things convenient.

But not right (engagement, added value, commitment, trust is)
Measuring number of followers is easy

However – evidence shows that number of followers is not the best KPI to use. According to various testing, the more followers an account have, the lower level engagement. That’s why Nano and Micro-Influencers are so in demand this days.  Number of followers just does not tell you anything about potential levels of engagement, which is really important.

So a better thing to look at would be Engagement — and what THAT can tell you about added value, commitment, and trust.


Not everything that can be counted counts... #KPI
Not everything that can be counted counts….

Not Everything is Measured

Influencers - Not everything is measured
SMI – Not everything is measured..
Source: DearMishuDad’s course

However, there are some intangible things that just cannot be measured easily, or at least not without doing survey research. For example,

  • It’s hard to measure loyalty, especially short term
  • It is also hard to measure how a marketing campaign builds brand awareness. But over time, with repeated exposure via best-fit SMI, your target audience should have increased awareness of your brand.
  • What about people who see an SMI’s post, but don’t “Like” or “Comment” — they are still seeing it and it will have an impact, even if that can’t be measured? Take this post for example — people like it, but not many commented. Could it be that there was just nothing to say, but it still made them smile? I think so!
  • Finally — Influencer marketing has a delayed effect, Like all Marketing – the point is to get your brand into people’s minds and to have the SMI generate trust for your brand. Then – when they are in the buying mood, your brand will come to mind.

So yes, practical measurements are critical, but some of the ROI of Influencer marketing is not immediately evident and only manifests indirectly and over time.

Updated: My Suggested Measurements

Suggested Influencer KPIs - DearMishuDad  Source (updated often):
Suggested Influencer KPIs – DearMishuDad Source (updated often):

Assuming that you choose to work only with SMI who are relevant to what you do, here are the reasons behind my suggested KPIs for evaluating them.

Since evaluating Influencer Marketing is not as straightforward as some would have you believe, I’ve developed this practical scoreboard for evaluating an SMI.

tagging as KPI
Tagging is a great indication of how attractive the SMI post is to their community

And finally, don’t forget about the delayed effect. This means give the influence 30-90 days to take effect.

An example of a brand that is obviously using the right metrics is Glosier.
Glosier is doing it right.

Smart Use of SMI Metrics

An example of a brand that is obviously using the right metrics is Glosier. Do you see what great content and engagement they gained by working with Micro-Influencers? The impact is mind blowing and they mostly use unknown SMI who are real life customers. It’s obvious that this is a brand that chooses long-term advocacy and positive sentiment over short-term engagement.

Generating that engagement comes from working with SMI who align with your brand and are passionate about it. Capturing that engagement requires brands to be thoughtful about their metrics: move away from ‘old metrics’ like press coverage as well as shallow data such as ‘likes’ or clicks.

Instead, what you want to look at is depth of engagement, including things like sentiment over time and long-term uplift.

Last word: to get Influencer Marketing right you should treat it like any other marketing channel – test, optimize, and try again. Try different brand stories, with different SMI. Work to understand the market and know your customer.  There is no substitute for the hard work!


KPI for Influencers: instant "moving the social media needle" NOT instant sales
An influencer’s most immediate KPI is whether you can acquire the influencer’s followers. That means moving the needle in terms of followers or engagement with your social media account, which is the new modern mailing list.
 Brands still see quantity of followers as an important factor for hiring...
Brands still see quantity of followers as an important factor for hiring…


If It Can’t Be Transactional, Then What Am I Getting from Influencer Marketing at All?

Sincerely yours,

Dear Mishu's Dad

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SMI* = Social Media Influencers

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I am the creator of Dear Mishu, a dog character that gives underdog advice to humans on social media. I originally built the account to learn about influencers and how they work. Over time, the account grew and Dear Mishu became a real social media influencer with a community of followers who ask her for advice. I use this experience and my 20 years of marketing experience to help brands understand how to reach their goals through Influencer Marketing and Social media branding.