Influencer marketing is latest and greatest tactic in marketing and advertising. Because of its relative newness and novelty, marketers are still working out how to measure and quantify results. While it is easy to be enamored with the ability of influencers to break through the clutter of online ads and content to connect with customers, at the end of the day, it is sales that matter most to online retailers.

Awareness and engagement are typically measured to analyze the effects of influencer marketing. While they certainly contribute to increased sales and order values, it is hard to put a dollar amount on their impact.

Affiliate marketing on the other hand, is all about sales. The metrics associated with affiliate marketing are more tangible than those of influencer marketing and lend themselves to a more dependable ROI calculation for the online retailer. Affiliate marketing uses a tracking pixel placed on the brand’s site to measure things like email sign-ups, contest entries, conversion rates, average order values, cost per acquisition and sales.

It would seem that the sweet spot for marketers and online retailers is a hybrid between the two tactics. This in fact is nothing new. For years online retailers have worked with bloggers and other influencers to promote products to their audiences using the affiliate model. It may not have been labeled influencer marketing but that is what it was. The practice of influencer marketing today (particularly for online retailers) would benefit from adding the affiliate component back into the mix, giving influencers the tools to sell products directly. Stay tuned for our next post on how to add affiliate marketing to your influencer marketing initiatives.