- Instagram's influencer-sponsored posts in North America surged 150% in Q1 from a year earlier as brands partnered with social influencers to reach social-media audiences, per a study that social media marketing platform Socialbakers shared with sister publication Mobile Marketer. The number of influencers using the #ad hashtag to denote a sponsored post jumped 133% in 2018.
- Swedish watch company Daniel Wellington received the most social-influencer mentions from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019. About, 7,200 Instagram influencers mentioned the brand 20,000 times, per Socialbakers. IDeal of Sweden, Walmart, Review, Target, Nike, NA-KD.com, Campaign, Sephora and Amazon rounded out the top 10 brands mentioned in #ad-tagged posts.
- In the past year, there was a 21% jump in the use of Stories by brands. The research also shows that influencers are using a wider variety of content formats so far in 2019, with images making up 71% of images in Q1, down from 91% a year ago. At the same time, videos now account for 10% and carousel posts 18% of influencer content.
Socialbakers' study of millions of social-media influencers indicates that brands continue to boost their spending on influencer campaigns to reach younger consumers who are less likely to view traditional media channels, and who also seek reliable information. Fashion and beauty categories have the highest engagement on Instagram, making the platform a must-have marketing channel for related brands.
Despite the growth in influencer marketing, brands remain concerned over reports of widespread fraud in the space. Facebook is appears to be taking these concerns seriously, having recently initiated legal action against a company allegedly involved in selling fake likes. However, transparency appears to be on the rise as the number of sponsored posts using the #ad hashtag grows, according to Socialbakers. Influencers with larger followings are more likely to use #ad compared to influencers with smaller audiences. The presence of #ad doesn't appear to be impacting engagement with posts, with sponsored and non-sponsored posts seeing approximately the same engagement levels, per Socialbakers.
Most social media influencers are categorized as micro-influencers, meaning they have fewer than 10,000 followers. Micro-influencers made up more than 80% of influencers in Asia, Europe and Latin America, and more than 75% in North America.
The most notable example of an influencer who has built a business on social media is reality-TV star and cosmetics entrepreneur Kylie Jenner, whose Instagram following has grown to 133 million from 113 million a few months ago. She has parlayed her audience into a billion-dollar brand and sponsorship deals with other companies like Adidas, Puma, Fashion Nova and SugarBearHair vitamins.
Jenner's success demonstrates the importance of influencer marketing in reaching younger women. About 3 million influencers are women ages 18 to 24, compared with ages 25-34 (2.2 million) and 13-17 (1 million), per Socialbakers. Female influencers in the 25-34 age group make up the most popular group, reaching 23% of influencer followers. Those influencers also receive the greatest number of social media interactions, per the study.