Once upon a time, influencer marketing was reserved for brands putting their products in the hands of high-profile public figures and celebrities, but social media — Instagram in particular — has changed the game. Now, the majority of Instagram influencers are “micro-influencers” with fewer than 10,000 followers according, to a new report from Socialbakers.
The report is based on activity by more than 12 million Instagram influencers between the first quarter of 2018 through the first quarter of this year and categorizes influencers into three categories: micro-influencers, macro-influencers who have anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 followers, and celebrities who often have accounts with a million or more followers. During the past year, the combined amount of sponsored content on Instagram for all three categories of influencers in North America has jumped 150%.
Influencers, fashion and beauty. The majority of influencers work with fashion brands, however the beauty industry is seeing the highest number of mentions.
A total of 308,865 influencers connected to the fashion industry accounted for a combined 1.6 million mentions. The beauty industry, which has 257,218 influencers, saw three times the activity with more than 4.8 million mentions by influencers in 2018.
Mixing up formats. In 2017, 91% of influencer posts were single images. Now, they are posting more videos and carousel posts, with single image posts accounting for 71% of their content. Carousel posts, which can contain a mix of up to 10 images and videos, make up 18% of influencer posts. Videos still make up just 10% of influencer content.
Disclosures increasing. During the past year, more than a quarter of celebrity influencers with more than a million followers used the #Ad hashtag in their sponsored content, an increase of 133% from 2017. The report found that posts with #Ad hashtag disclosures saw similar engagement as posts without the hashtag.
Why we should care. Instagram has quickly become the primary social platform for influencer brand engagement — surpassing Facebook.
“When we look at engagement on an absolute level, Instagram has a lot more engagement for brands than Facebook, despite having a significantly smaller audience size,” said Socialbaker’s CEO Yuval Ben-Itzhak believes Ben-Itzhak.
The good news for SMBs and companies lacking the ad budgets of major brands is that influencer marketing relatively affordable, particularly when working with micro or niche influencers.
Socialbakers reports micro-influencers are not collaborating with the big brands or creating relationships across industry lines like celebrity influencers who can easily earn six-figures for one sponsored post. The trick is to know who the influencers are in your industry and connect with the ones whose style and voice — and followers — align with your brand and marketing objectives.