The rapid rise of the social media influencer

digital shopping

One of the key trends of the last few years has been the growth of influencer marketing via sponsored content on social media.

New research from marketing platform Socialbakers into Instagram marketing shows that in North America, influencer-sponsored posts have grown by over 150 percent from 2018 to 2019.

"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," says Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of Socialbakers. "Our findings indicate that brands that collaborate with authentic and relevant influencers increase their results from their social media campaigns."

Interestingly the majority of Instagram influencers fall into the 'micro' category, meaning they have fewer than 10K 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.

The report suggests that while macro and celebrity influencers provide access to large, often diverse audiences in addition to significant marketing potential, micro influencers also make powerful partners as they have a tight-knit relationship with their audiences leading to consistently higher engagement and conversion rates.

Naturally, this being the internet, as influencer marketing has grown, so has the number of 'fake influencers.' Even so influencer marketing is projected to become a $2.38 billion market this year. In fact, over 2018, the number of influencers using the #ad hashtag on Instagram has more than doubled with an increase of 133 percent.

Among other findings, Instagram's 'Stories' format is being increasingly used by brands, with usage up 21 percent since March 2018.

The full report is available to download from the Socialbakers site.

Image Credit: Hasloo Group Production Studio / Shutterstock

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