- Instagram, Facebook’s image-sharing app with about 1 billion users worldwide, is the most popular platform for influencer marketing, which relies on key thought leaders to boost a brand's message to a wider audience. Nine out of ten (88.9%) worldwide influencers are using Instagram for marketing campaigns more than they did a year ago, according to a study from influencer marketing agency Activate cited by eMarketer.
- Instagram Stories, a feature that lets users string together several images and videos into a single post that lasts for 24 hours was the second-most popular feature that influencers used for sponsored campaigns after posts on their news feeds.
- The popularity of social media platforms for influencer marketing varies by region, especially since Facebook, Instagram, Google’s YouTube and Snapchat are banned in China. Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat are the most popular influencer apps in the country. Instagram more than doubled its user base in India last year, per eMarketer’s estimates, helping to drive adoption among 78% of influencers there.
Instagram’s strong user growth worldwide is helping to support its popularity as a platform for social influencer marketing that can rival YouTube, which has more than 1.8 billion users a month. Marketers may spend about $1.6 billion on Instagram influencer marketing campaigns this year, according to influencer marketing firm Mediakix. The firm estimates the total ad spend on influencer marketing will increase from $5 billion to $10 billion dollars in the next five years as advertisers shift budgets from other marketing channels. Social influencer marketing not only provides a way to get around ad blocking software, but it also can provide a trusted source of information to consumers – as long as influencers disclose when they’re being paid to endorse a product, and avoid run-ins with regulators like the Federal Trade Commission.
Instagram’s popularity among influencers continues a trend seen in the past couple of years. As with Activate’s findings, social media marketing firm Hashoff last year found that 92% of influencers chose Instagram as their No. 1 area of focus, trailed by Facebook and YouTube at just 2.7% each, while Snapchat garnered just 1.4% of interest and Twitter had 0.7%. That’s not to say that influencers ignore other platforms, with 99% saying they’re working on Instagram, Facebook (67%), Snapchat (51%), Twitter (43%), YouTube (30%) and Pinterest (28%).
The biggest challenge that brands face with influencer marketing is determining the return on investment (ROI) from campaigns, according to a study by influencer marketing firm Linqia. About three-fourths (76%) of marketers cited ROI as the top challenge, ahead of worries about social network algorithm changes that affect campaign visibility (42%) and time to manage campaigns (35%). Those difficulties mean that social media platforms need to help marketers and influencers with better software tools to create content, manage campaigns and track their effect.
Instagram last month introduced IGTV, a long-form video hub that resembles YouTube with a mix of user-generated and professionally produced content and will likely be used as another tool for influencers. As a sign of IGTV’s growing importance, cable channel MTV this week partnered with Instagram influencers to announce nominations for this year’s Video Music Awards.