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Instagram Influencer Engagement Drops as Market Matures, Study Finds

A new report by InfluencerDB found that Instagram influencer engagement has been steadily dropping globally since 2016.

InfluencerDB’s latest Audience Quality Benchmark report found that Instagram influencer marketing engagement has been steadily dropping globally since 2016 and has recently plateaued, indicating a maturing market. The average engagement rate for sponsored posts dropped from 4% in Q1 2016 to 2.4% in Q1 2019 whereas non-sponsored posts fell from 4.5% to 1.9% in the same period. 

As advertisers start to invest more of their budget in influencer marketing and the platform itself, there has been increased demand and less quality supply than years past. Therefore, as the industry matures, it’s more important for advertisers to analyse data to find the best influencers for their campaigns, which is now more important than ever.  

“Engagement rates have steadily dropped over the years and recently reached a plateau, giving marketers a clear understanding of what success can and should look like for their teams. With that said, it’s important to remember that data refers to people and to always consider the end user when launching a campaign,” said Mona Hellenkemper, director of marketing, InfluencerDB. 

Engagement rates for every industry category drops

Instagram influencers with more than 10,000 followers have about the same Like Follower Ratio, regardless of if it is 11,000 followers or 11 million. However, influencers with 5,000 to 10,000 followers gain nearly 3% higher engagement. 

InfluencerDB’s research also found that the engagement rate for every industry category has decreased in the past year. Travel influencers saw the biggest decline in engagement rates, which dropped from 8% in 2018 to 4.5% in 2019. Beauty, fashion, food, sports, and lifestyle also saw declines, perhaps indicating that the ‘gold rush’ of influencer marketing is over, said InfluencerDB. 

InfluencerDB analysed the average Like Follower Ratio of all sponsored vs. non-sponsored posts in over 70 countries across the world from 2016 to 2019. Like Follower Ratio is the average number of likes on each Instagram post compared to the number of followers. 

“With influencer marketing firmly establishing itself as a strong alternative to traditional advertising, consumers are increasingly receptive to sponsored influencer content, oftentimes more so than non-sponsored influencer content,” commented Robert Levenhagen, CEO and co-founder of InfluencerDB.

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