Instagram trends: Influencer use of #ad ‘has more than doubled in a year’

May 1, 2019 | Content marketing, Social, Video, Viral

The use of the hashtag #ad has more than doubled, growing by 133% in a year, according to new research.

The study from Socialbakers, looked into influencer marketing trends for Q1 2019.

The report, based on the trends of over 12 million Instagram influencers from Q1 2018 through the end of Q1 2019, reflects the state of influencer marketing as well as emerging themes in the influencer industry, which is projected to become a $5-10 billion dollar market by 2020.

“Consumers are increasingly seeking out reviews and trusted voices when making purchasing decisions. This has created a huge opportunity for influencers and brands to team up to create authentic connections with audiences,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO, Socialbakers. “Our findings indicate that brands that collaborate with authentic and relevant influencers increase their results from their social media campaigns.”

Key findings from the report:

  • Over the last year, the number of influencers using the #ad more than doubled – the trend grew by 133%
  • The use of Stories by brands grew by 21%
  • The majority of influencers today are micro-influencers, accounting for over 80% of influencers in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and over 75% in North America
  • In Q1 2019, the interactions of influencer sponsored posts vs. non-sponsored content were virtually the same, meaning that influencers don’t lose engagement when working with brands. Influencers receive 415 median interactions on posts that use #ad vs. 442 median interactions when they don’t
  • The brand that received the most influencer mentions over the year was Daniel Wellington, with more than 20,000 mentions by 7,200 Instagram influencers

The growing influencer trend

It has been an eye-opening 18 months for brands and social media practitioners. Many growth industries must battle fakes, and as influencer marketing has grown, so have “fake influencers.”

Fortunately, the number of authentic influencers and their transparency has also grown. Over 2018, the number of influencers using the #ad hashtag on Instagram more than doubled, increasing by 133%. The same growth rate has persisted into 2019. As of February, the #ad hashtag had grown by 120% across Instagram posts.

Sponsored content and stories on the rise; engagement stays static

Influencer marketing has become so prominent that the Advertising Standards Agency created a guide outlining how to display sponsored content on social media. Though influencers are increasing their use of #ad, they aren’t seeing any effect on their level of interactions.

Stories on Instagram have become an invaluable source of engagement for brands.  Increasingly more brands are utilising the flexibility of Instagram Stories, which allow them to boost brand visibility at low cost and without spamming their audience – the use of Stories by brands grew by 21% year on year.

Micro influencers with major engagement

The data also confirms that the majority of Instagram influencers fall into the ‘micro’ category, meaning they have fewer than 10,000 followers. Latin America holds the record for having the most micro influencers, while North America has the most macro and celebrity influencers, with a following of one million or more.

While macro and celebrity influencers provide access to large, often diverse audiences in addition to significant marketing potential, micro influencers also make powerful partners due to their tight-knit relationships with their audiences and consistently higher engagement and conversion rates.

The complete Socialbakers Must-Know Influencer Marketing 2019 Trends Report with supporting graphics is available for free download now.

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