- Instagram, the Facebook-owned image-sharing app with 800 million users worldwide, doubled the number of posts showing the #ad hashtag to 1.5 million in 2017 from the prior year, according to a study on influencer marketing by Klear.
- Daniel Wellington, Coach, Nordstrom, Forever 21 and Lulus were the most active brands in the fashion and accessories category, which was the most popular industry group by posts with an #ad tag. About three out of four (73%) of luxury brands have an active influencer marketing program, Klear said.
- Female influencers posted 84% of #ad-tagged posts with sponsorship from popular categories such as fashion, beauty and food and beverages. About 90% of sponsored posts received as many as 1,000 "likes" for each post, demonstrating the importance of micro-influencers to engage with audiences. The average #ad post received 682 likes from users.
As marketers look for ways to connect with consumers in an increasingly social-driven world, putting influencers at the heart of a marketing strategy is a rising trend. Digital word-of-mouth needs to feel authentic and sincere to be most effective among consumers, making product endorsements by Instagram powerhouses a key part of building brand awareness and trust among consumers.
Klear's latest "State of Influencer Marketing" study highlights how top brands in 10 industries used influencer marketing to build awareness and drive sales last year, especially among targeted groups of enthusiasts who seek news and information from Instagram. More than any other industry, fashion greatly enjoys the power of user-generated content. Klear points to Swedish watch company Daniel Wellington as an example of a fast-growing fashion brand that is driving worldwide sales with influencer marketing. Each month, the company gets more than 50,000 new Instagram mentions from creators including celebrities and niche influencers, Klear found.
Instagram users not only post selfies to show off new outfits and looks, but they also share pictures of food and travel experiences. That means opportunities for marketers to partner with influencers in those categories. Stunning food pictures have become so ordinary on Instagram that food brands are looking for other ways to highlight how their products are part of an experience that users can share on social media, Klear said. In the travel category, Airbnb promotes experiences in influencer campaigns, while brands like Marriott focus on showcasing luxurious comfort.
Klear's study also shows that the Federal Trade Commission's multiple warnings last year about influencers needing to make their relationships with sponsors more transparent had only a short-term effect on growth of posts tagged as ads. The number of Instagram posts with the #ad tag dipped slightly in September to 139,000 from 142,000 in August before resuming the 5% month-over-month average growth trajectory. #Ad posts grew from 85,000 in January to 171,000 by the end of 2017 as influencers adopted the FTC guidelines relatively quickly, Klear said.