The creator economy is expected to have massive growth in this decade, with a projected CAGR of around 32% from 2022 to 2029. Brands are trying to capitalize on this with huge investments in influencer marketing.
Companies are investing anywhere between $1000 to a million annually to grow their brand with social media creators.
The growth of the creator economy can be largely attributed to Instagram. While Facebook may have popularized social media marketing, Instagram (and Youtube) essentially created influencers. While other social media platforms have caught on and new ones have popped up, the popularity of Instagram has continued to grow.
Instagram has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the last decade
Instagram users also didn’t just join the app out of curiosity but are very much active on the platform.
- On average, an Instagram user spends close 11 hours on the platform.
- Around 995 photos are uploaded every second.
- A post on Instagram generates around 23% more engagement compared to Facebook.
With new features like reels, Instagram offers creators more opportunities to create an engaging audience.
The growth of Instagram has made it a powerful influencer marketing platform
The massive growth of Instagram has made it the preferred choice for creators and marketers alike.
Brands and businesses in fashion, beauty, travel, lifestyle, and sports are making waves with their Instagram influencer marketing campaigns. These include brands from Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Dior to RedBull, Nike, Audible, Sprint, Adidas, and more.
One of the main reasons for the success of Instagram as an influencer marketing platform is that it's very easy to find influencers perfect for brands. Instagram creators tend to niche down into very specific categories; they have cultivated a following that will trust them on very specific products or services.
For example, followers of top fashion influencers Chiara Ferragni and Aimee Song are interested in their outfits and clothing choices. Followers of fitness influencer Kayla Itsines trust them regarding workouts or fitness.
Influencer marketing on Instagram also doesn’t appear direct or in the face from a customer's perspective. For customers, it feels like recommendations from a friend or someone they know. It comes from a trusted source and doesn’t feel like a brand paid for the partnership. It appears more authentic, even when a post clearly says “paid partnership.” This is another reason why Instagram has become a favorite for influencer marketers.
But to leverage this, you need to analyze Instagram influencers with carefully defined metrics
For a successful campaign, marketers must define clear metrics and KPIs and use them to drive their activities and content. While influencer marketing generates good ROI, considerable efforts and resources go into a successful campaign.
Without accurate data, marketers will struggle to generate good results and ROI.
But it's not easy to get this data or even to identify the influencers who can deliver good results for a campaign. Analyzing Instagram influencers is often a highly resource-intensive task.
Analyzing Instagram influencers go beyond checking how many followers they have
To create great results, marketers must go beyond just looking up an influencer with a large following. A large following doesn’t necessarily translate to high conversion rates for campaigns. For all you know, these could even be inflated numbers with fake followers.
Marketers must study influencers’ followers, understand their demographics and what they respond to, and plan their campaigns accordingly.
Successful marketing campaigns are tailored to an influencer’s niche, their personal brand, what their followers like, and what makes their followers take action. Even if an influencer has a large following, is not producing consistent engagement, or doesn’t have a strong personal brand, the audience may not trust them enough to drive good conversions.
It’s also important that an influencer is a good fit for the brand. Even if an influencer has the perfect audience or if they talk largely about a specific industry, their content or personal brand may not be suitable for an organization.
For instance, maybe a fashion influencer has a large following, and their followers regularly interact with their content. But working with them can affect the brand's reputation if they garnered negative press recently or if their comment section is full of trolls.
While numbers and KPIs are certainly important, it's equally important not to fall for just those.
Pay attention to stories when analyzing Instagram influencers
Audience engagement with Instagram stories can reveal many insights into an influencer’s followers.
For many Instagram users, liking posts from their creators is second nature; they may not even pause to think about it. Stories, on the other hand, require users to take more steps to react.
Another aspect is that Instagram shows users stories of people who they connect or regularly engage with. You may have noticed that stories of your close friends or those of influencers you like the most comes up first. The rest of the stories may be way down the line.
If a user doesn’t like a set of stories or doesn’t enjoy updates from an influencer, they’ll skip to the next story. So the drop in impressions or viewers with subsequent stories can be a good metric of follower loyalty.
Furthermore, Instagram is also really pushing hard on stories at an algorithmic level.
From a brand perspective, Instagram Stories are less costly than any other type of content (like reels, for instance).
While it's not easy for marketers to access metrics of an influencer’s stories, they may be one of the most important measures of what a creator can do for a brand.
How can brands collect the data to analyze Instagram influencers?
Analyzing Instagram influencers have traditionally been resource intensive process. Marketers used to rely on just follower count but soon realized that this alone won’t work.
The norm in influencer data collection was asking for influencers' screenshots to check their engagement and reach. Many marketers even preferred sitting side by side with an influencer and going through the metrics from their accounts.
As you can imagine, these methods were highly resource intensive and could not be scaled up. It was also easy enough for creators to fake their metrics by followers and engagement.
To solve this problem, many public data collectors came into the scene. With data scraping tools, they would collect public influencer data from social media platforms and make it available for marketers.
While there are many popular third-party solutions like this, they simply cannot deliver accurate and up-to-date data on influencers. And they can only access public data which means they can’t find metrics like reach, engagement, and all of the information associated with Instagram stories.
Instagram is also cracking down on third-party influencer data platforms that don’t collect consent from the creators.
The alternative is to use authenticated data directly through Instagram’s graph API. With this, marketers get direct access to influencer data. Marketers can get data about an influencer’s followers and their demographics, the engagement rate, and even metrics from Instagram stories.
Of course, influencer marketing rarely happens on just one platform. Most brands and marketing agencies use multiple platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Tiktok, and even Twitch to launch a campaign.
In this case, it may be too expensive to build and manage multiple APIs and combine the data from them.
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