August 21, 2020

How to Measure the true ROI of YouTube influencer marketing campaigns

How to Measure the true ROI of YouTube influencer marketing campaigns

There is a big difference between measuring YouTube influencer marketing and instagram influencer marketing, and that's mainly because YouTube video's requires the viewer to stay longer on one piece of content, but also because unlike instagram, the content will continue gathering views forever.

Measuring audience response to YouTube influencer marketing campaigns has historically been a challenge for marketers. Although YouTube influencer marketing is a digital marketing channel where conversions are commonly tracked using last-touch attribution methods (, promo code, unique url),measurement by last-touch does not capture true campaign value. Viewer response to watching YouTube videos is similar to the actions of TV audiences.However, because YouTube views are not concurrent, YouTube influencer marketing campaigns cannot be measured by spot attribution methods commonly used in TV measurement. Simply put, the effectiveness of YouTube influencer marketing is not measured correctly because it is not understood correctly.

1. Audience Retention

Whether you have 100 views or 100.000 views. The more important metric YouTubers look at, is when did people drop off? If the video is 10 minutes long, and 80% of viewers dropped of within the first minute, does i

This is bad

Having a 14 minute long video where only have 25% of the viewers stayed until minute 6 is.

This is good

Having 8m 45s video where with a viewer retention of 52.7%

Why this matters to marketers?

  • If your product is mentioned in the middle of a video. Then you need to know how many viewers actually stuck around to see your product. In that way you're able to measure the true amount of views that you received: Views * Audience retention when your product was mentioned = TRUE VIEWS
  • The higher the audience retention the more likely YouTube will recommend the video to a broader audience. The algorithm's main job is to recommend content that people want to watch, if your sponsored video isn't engaging enough, then the video will receive less views than the channels average.

What you can do to improve audience retention

  • More dramatic intros. The majority of the viewers leave your video in the beginning, your job is to make them interested in what will happen next from the get go.
  • Quicker cuts - Remove everything that doesn't offer any value to the viewer. Jump cuts is acceptable
  • Shorter videos - If the influencer you're working with isn't extremely good at editing their video content. Then ask if they're able to make a shorter video.
  • Save the clickbait for the end of the video - The viewers clicked on the video because of the title and thumbnail. It can be a good idea to save the content related to the clickbait for last.
  • Stay unpredictable - The best creators know that it's best if the viewers don't know what comes next. As long as they can make sure that every second can stay engaging.

PRO TIP: Use the tool TubeView to measure YouTube influencer marketing campaign ROI in realtime.

Here is an example report.

Request a demo here.

2. Click through rate

The second most important metric measure is the click-through of a YouTube video. The algorithm loves to recommend videos that people will actually click on it.

The formula of going viral on YouTube is simpler than you think:

  1. High click-through rate
  2. High viewer retention

3. Engagement rate

This is as simple as it sounds. The higher the engagement rate, the better of course. How the engagement rate is calculated on YouTube:

((likes + comments ) / Views * 100) = Engagement rate in %

4. Link clicks and conversions

Now let’s talk about what people usually think of when they hear “ROI.” How do you know what your YouTube influencer marketing campaign has returned in terms of revenue to your bottom line? How can you measure your revenue earned versus dollars spent? This is actually easier to track than you might think. Here are four ways to measure your return on monetary investment.

Affiliate Links

Using an affiliate link in your influencer marketing campaign is the easiest way to track the ROI in terms of dollars earned directly through influencers. Generate a unique affiliate link for each influencer you're collaborating with. These links will provide data around the number of clicks to the brand’s website, the number of sales, and the average order value for those sales.

One thing to remember is that Affiliate Links has tracking limitations. Sometimes a purchase can occur 90 days after a shopper sees a product on an influencer’s site. Since the cookie duration for affiliate links is normally just 15–30 days, if that shopper buys the product online or in-store, you won’t be able to trace the purchase to influencer content, even if that was what drove the sale.

Promo Codes

Custom promo codes allow you to track the impact of your influencer campaign beyond immediate sales. As mentioned above, not all consumers will make a purchase immediately upon seeing an influencer’s post, even if the content ultimately inspires their buying decision. In this sense, affiliate links only reveal part of your ROI. Promo codes help you track “down the line” purchases spurred by influencer marketing. Most e-commerce sites like Shopify or WooCommerce will allow you to generate promo codes easily that you can provide to your influencers.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is another incredibly powerful tool for tracking online sales. By setting up an “Event” goal, you can see which of your online customers visited your e-commerce site from an influencer’s blog or social channel, giving you a reliable assessment of ROI on e-commerce sales.

5. Traffic Sources

Knowing where the traffic came from is one of the best ways to ensure that the YouTube creator you've worked with hasn't bought any views. The traffic sources will also help you understand which sources deliver the best retention.

You maybe discover that when the influencer drive traffic from instagram to the YouTube video, the audience tend to stay longer on the video?

6. Audience Demographics

Understanding who your audience is might make you get a better view of who you have reached but also to get insight on which customer persona tend to convert best from your YouTube influencer marketing.

Most important KPI:s to track

  1. Viewer retention
  2. Demographic overview
  3. Engagement Rate
  4. Traffic sources
  5. Views / Cost per 1000 views
  6. Link clicks / Click Through Rate
  7. Conversion / Cost Per Acquisition

PRO TIP: Use the tool TubeView to measure YouTube influencer marketing campaign ROI in realtime.

Here is an example report.

Request a demo here.


You cannot measure YouTube like you other social media platforms. To succeed on YouTube in the long-term you need to understand that a sponsored YouTube video will continue getting views over the years, and this is how you measure the true ROI on the platform.