Don’t Forget These Hidden Costs of Ecommerce Influencer Marketing

Ecommerce Influencer Marketing

Calculating the ROI of influencer marketing is challenging. While crafting a perfectly accurate multi-channel revenue attribution model is difficult, determining the true cost of campaigns doesn’t have to be a mystery.

Whether you are running the influencer campaign in-house or with an agency there are many hidden costs that are often overlooked.  The first step is to determine your actual cost.

While the fees paid to influencers is easy to track, I’ve seen many ecommerce companies who neglect to account for free samples, labor, and overhead in their ROI calculations.  These costs can be an order of magnitude more expensive than the actual payments to the influencers.

If you are running the campaign in house, labor costs must be accurately tracked.  The time dedicated to finding appropriate influencers, communicating your offer with these prospects, negotiating payment, signing contracts, sending samples, processing payment, and analyzing the results after the campaign is usually significant.

When we built Country Outfitter in the early part of the decade, influencer marketing was a big component of our success leading to 10 million Facebook fans and $100 million in venture capital.  We worked with hundreds of influencers, including dozens of country music rockstars as well as figurative rockstars like Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.

The technology and processes we developed to find, manage, and track influencers reduced our labor costs significantly and allowed us to scale the process with a highly positive ROI.

The magic behind these processes will be embedded in Engine, a marketing-technology focused ecommerce platform we are building.  If you’d like to discuss how our team could help streamline your ecommerce influencer marketing campaigns, let’s chat –


Written by
John James, M.D. is the CEO of Engine, an upcoming ecommerce software platform currently in closed beta. I paid for medical school with an ecommerce business I founded in my dorm room over twenty years ago, and eventually raised over $100 million in venture capital running Acumen Brands. Email me -- john at engineinsights dot com.