Influencer spend in the US and Canada is up 83% year-on-year according to a report. Do the figures stack up though?


Spend on influencers has jumped 83% year-on-year in the the US and Canada. Brands in Q2 2019 paid social media influencers a total of $442 million according to new research by Instascreener (formerly known as Points North Group).

The analytics firm puts last quarter (Q2 2019) as the largest period yet for influencer marketing, with spend up 18% from Q1 2019, and up 83% from Q2 2018.

The research goes on to focus on companies which have fallen foul of influencer fraud by calling out the 10 'Most Fooled brands’ sponsored posts.' 

Industry stats are great. We all use them in our slide decks to add third-party authority to back up our cause. We should, however, tread lightly to use them accurately. 

The work done here by Instagscreener pushes further research undertaken earlier in the year. Influencer marketing platforms Buzzoole and Klear both ran reports capturing the number of Instagram posts which included #ad. 

Klear analysed 2,113,307 Instagram sponsored posts worldwide. The analysis showed a 39% increase in sponsored content on the image-led platform.

Buzzoole’s analysis showed the number of influencer-generated posts surpassed 2.6M last year, growing by more than one million compared to the previous 12 months (2,621,741 vs 1,516,349). The Italian headquartered platform said this represented a year-on-year growth of 42%.

Both the Buzzoole and Klear analysis show that more content was marked #ad compared with the previous year. The analysis does not necessarily prove that more brand-influencer collaborations are taking place. It might show only that more brands and influencers are becoming aware of disclosure regulations and actively adhering to them.

Similarly, to estimate Instagram spend, Instascreener assumes “rate card” pricing of $0.003 per follower. Whilst this might be a good rule of thumb there is no standardised industry pricing structure. 

Major marketing and communications holding companies including Omnicom and Publicis are attempting to impose pricing standardisation according to a recent FT article. This is a long way off being achieved - if it’s even possible. I recently chaired an expert panel of influencer marketers at Affiliate Huddle. During the session agency owners explained that they were not prepared share how they priced influencers.

Pricing fluctuates wildly and is less dependent upon follower count and more founded on: 

  • Real reach 
  • Engagement rates for sponsored content 
  • Level of pay per industry vertical 
  • Type of content the influencer is being asked to produce and the level of creativity, travel etc required to undertake the activation. 
  • Whether this is a one-hit-wonder deal or part of a longer ambassadorial relationship

Instascreener's rate card assumes a set price per post. The analysis does not differentiate pricing per video or per Story. Nor does it consider length of collaboration.

I wrote yesterday about how much of the associated costs surrounding influencer marketing are front-loaded. It, therefore, makes sense to cultivate long-term relationships once a brand has identified the most appropriate influencer to work with.

Calling out influencer fraud

Secondly, I get it. Influencer fraud stinks. Given the heightened emotions surrounding influencer fraud it is understandable that some wish to call out wrong-doers. I get queasy about influencer fraud vigilantes though. They are self-appointed. They deny a right to reply and they run the risk (regardless of how small) of calling out honest influencers and brands in error.

The Instascreener report lists the Ten Most Fooled brands’ sponsored posts. It notes the most duped companies included audiences that on average were 50% fake, compared to 18% for the average brand. On the positive: none of Q1’s Ten Most Fooled reappeared on the Q2 list.

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}