Do you know how your influencer marketing agency is counting influencer impressions?
Yes - there are multiple ways to count influencer impressions from influencer marketing campaigns, and today we're breaking down four of the most common approaches we've seen. In the video above you'll notice that I'm using a prop, specifically a magazine, because magazines have been doing similar things on how they count readership for years and years and it's an easy comparison for this metric.
So without further ado, here are four common ways to count influencer impressions, in order of the most outlandish overstatement of impressions to the most conservative understatement of impressions.
Max Potential + Second Generation/Viral Impressions
The first one is called Max Potential plus Second Generation or Max Potential plus Viral Impressions. What that is doing is saying, okay, I have this magazine with one million subscribers and we have some research that says the average subscriber gives this magazine to two other people, therefore, your ad will be seen by three million people. Now, if your ad's on page 95, in the back, you're obviously not going to reach three million people because how many of those millions of subscribers actually read that issue, actually got to the page your ad is on, actually looked at your ad for more than a second. All those sorts of things bring that number down but it's the way magazines have been counting for years.
To me, in a digital age, that's a level of fiction. These viral impressions that they're counting, many of these are, if I saw the post and I liked or commented or otherwise engaged with it, now you're counting 100% of my audience, too, seeing that engagement and being drawn back to the original content. It doesn't happen; it's a complete fiction. So, Max Potential plus Viral Impressions dramatically overstates the number of impressions that are being created by an influencer marketing company. You should be highly skeptical of this one.
The second approach Max Potential Impressions only. Again, I have one million subscribers, your ad will be seen by one million people. It's the same thing as saying I have 10,000 Instagram followers, I have 20,000 Twitter followers, therefore I have 30,000 total followers. If I share something on those two channels, 30,000 people are going to see it. Clearly a fiction; clearly not true. But the nice part about max potential is at least it's an apples to apples comparison. I know, then, that Influencer A has 30,000, Influencer B has 50,000, Influencer c has 5,000, and while I can at least compare them, there's no way everyone's seeing your ad on page 95 because of these max potential impressions. This is probably the most commonly used method.
Balanced Portfolio: Organic Max Potential + Paid True Views
Our method of counting impressions is what I like to think of as a balanced portfolio. At Carusele, we have the influencer share organically and then we boost the highest performing content to reach your exact target audience. What we're doing is we're counting the max potential reach for the organic impressions and then we're counting the true views for the boosted impressions.
Let me elaborate on that. The reason we count max potential for the influencer shares is because there's no other good way that treats all this content fairly. We have looked in the cases where we can see true views and they range from two or three percent true views to 25% true views and that varies based on the platform you're on, the content type, the influencer, even the piece of content, so you can't just set a rule that 10% are gonna see it or three percent or 50% are gonna see it because it's a myth. We use max potential to keep that even. Then when we're boosting the content it is very easy on all the common social platforms to get an advertising report for the true views of the boosted content. So we're mixing in only those people we can certify, guarantee have seen those pieces of content shared in front of them and we get this sort of balanced portfolio - understating a little bit the true views, overstating a bit the max potential but a conservative, more accurate measurement of a number we can't otherwise get.
True Views/Verified Views
Finally, the most conservative way to of all is to count only 100% true views or verified views of the content. The reason this is a bit of a mistake is because it undercounts everything. So you can use a company like Moat or even Facebook's own certification or other platforms to show you a 100% of these people saw this content. The challenge here is you're using influencers in part because you want to reach their audience. If you're giving them basically no points for reaching their audience, it's a reasonable question why you're using influencer at all.
So there are you four most common ways of counting influencer impressions. When you talk to multiple influencer companies, you should be sure which one they're using, so you can be sure of what you're actually getting at the end of the day.