Study: Instagram ‘Influencer’ Engagement at All-Time Low

Instagram influencers
Andreas Rentz /Getty

A recent study has revealed that “influencer” engagement on Facebook-owned Instagram is at an all-time low, as companies and marketers flock to place paid “sponsored posts” on the social media platform, rather than rely on Instagram users with high followings to promote their products and brands.

A study conducted by the analytics firm, InfluencerDB, reveals that engagement rates for “influencers” are declining as social media feeds get cluttered with sponsored posts, according to a report by Mobile Marketer. Influencer engagement is now considered to be at an all-time low.

The term “influencer” refers to people with a relatively large following on a social media platform — typically on Instagram — who promote brands or products to their followers as a type of online advertiser.

Self-proclaimed influencers are also known for what some consider to be vexing behavior, such as soliciting companies for “free” products or monetary compensation in exchange for promoting the business to their followers on their Instagram accounts.

Now, it appears that the non-sponsored influencer market may be in jeopardy, as the Instagram app “becomes over-crowded with sponsored posts,” notes Mobile Marketer in its report. Sponsored posts refer to paid advertisements through the social media platform, rather than through an influencer’s account.

The report adds that influencers in every “industry category” — such as beauty, fashion, food, lifestyle, and sports and fitness — have seen a decline in engagement, adding that influencers in the travel category, who typically have the highest engagement rates, saw an average drop to 4.5 percent this year from 8 percent last year.

“While influencers with more than 10,000 followers may help to reach a broader audience, marketers may see better engagement by working with multiple ‘nano-influencers’ who have a smaller reach among highly dedicated followers,” says Mobile Marketer.

Moreover, a separate study by InfluencerDB shows that the average number of influencers used in a campaign is 726, which suggests that rather than working with only a few influencers with an extraordinarily high amount of followers, marketers are instead working with a large number of influencers with smaller followings, to promote brands to a wider group of Instagram users.

Despite the changes to influencer engagement rates, Mobile Marketer noted that influencers may be in luck after all, as Instagram recently debuted a new feature that allows for marketers to turn influencer posts into sponsored ads.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.


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