CPA in Influencer marketing is the most powerful force in the universe

August 1, 2020
7 min
Avery Schrader
Founder & CEO of Modash.io
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You shouldn’t pay an influencer to post a photo of your product. You should pay an influencer to get you a customer. Paying influencers on a “cost per acquisition model” is ideal for most brands because it enables optimization over time. Plus, it scales.

This is how you acquire tens of thousands of new customers with influencer marketing.

The cost per acquisition model’s massive upside

Traditional influencer marketing is spray and pray.

  • Find someone more famous than you are.
  • Hope they reach your audience based on arbitrary characteristics
  • Pay money to post content about you.
  • Repeat occasionally with various influencers.

No opportunity to learn which influencers convert best. No opportunity to optimize content on an influencer level. You can’t optimize the target audience or the content. You have no ability to compound your gains.

You’re stuck in a loop, repeating unscalable negotiation and frustratingly unclear ROI calculations.

The CPA model treats influencer marketing differently:

  • Recruit influencers based on the best available data.
  • Pay them for each customer they convert, indefinitely.
  • Learn based on the number of conversions influencers generate.
  • Repeat.

Albert Einstein (a pretty smart guy, if you haven’t heard) said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. By using the CPA influencer payment model, we unleash the power of compounding and interest.

If you recruit 2 influencers per week, for a year, you will have over 100 creators acquiring customers for you.

They’ll be reaching your target customer, growing your brand and have a positive ROI guaranteed (a side effect of a commission payment structure). That is the power of compounding.

As you do, you can learn and optimize your strategy, this is the “interest” part of the equation.

4 ways to optimize that can only be unlocked with CPA influencer marketing

Optimize the audience of your program

Gathering audience data on an influencer is key in choosing which influencers to reach out to. You can do this easily with Modash’s influencer discovery platform.

As you partner with influencers and track their efficiency over time, you will garner insights into which audiences convert best for your product if you use this data.

Female audiences convert more

In the graph above, we’re working with 4 influencers. Their audience data is represented in this simple chart.

As you can see, influencers with more female audiences are converting much higher than those with audiences more evenly distributed between men and women or those with mostly male audiences.

This can inform our decision about which influencers to recruit next. Where we might not have considered gender an important aspect of our ideal target customer for this influencer partnership program, now we can experiment with working with more female-leaning influencers.

If you are diligent about tracking this data, you will gather insights that will make your influencer program stronger than ever.

Optimize the content

As you can see in the graph below, we have a spike in conversions from two of our influencers.

Gifting content works better

In order to recreate this for other influencers, we can dive into the content to see what might have happened. Maybe it’s a friend's birthday and the influencer suggested our product as a gift in their last post.

This can inform how we teach influencers to perform as we continue to recruit them. If we were to build an FAQ page to automate our influencer relationship management, we could include information like “Creators who post about gifting the product see 25% more conversions”.

In short, help them help you.

Optimize the terms

Acquisition based campaigns allow you to optimize the terms of the agreement. For example, we can increase the quota required to stay in the “always-on” program from 10 conversions per month to 15 and see what happens.

Increasing expectations (quota) increases average conversions

Our chart above shows that conversions increased from an average of 12 to 17. No extra effort, no additional recruiting, just a small incentive to convert more customers.

Instead of changing the quota, we could try increasing the amount we pay influencers from $10 per conversion to $15.

You can see that we have once again succeeded in increasing the number of conversions. Alternatively, had we only paid for 1 post, we would not have the baseline metrics to allow us to build and optimize in the same way.

Optimize on relationship management

The early stages of a relationship with a new influencer can be cumbersome. There is discovery, outreach, negotiation, questions to answer, rapport to build etc. Doing that repeatedly is absolutely unscalable and inefficient.

After that initial outreach, however, things are much easier. You’ve recruited the influencer and built trust. From there, it’s just maintenance. In a pay per post “traditional influencer marketing” format you are constantly stuck in the building relationships phase.

In pay per acquisition influencer marketing, you get to focus on maintaining existing relationships - a process which can be automated much more easily with:

  • A brand guideline & FAQ landing page
  • Automated email check-ins that tell the influencer how much they have earned
  • A community newsletter helping influencers convert customers more effectively
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