New report shows a 48% rise in Instagram influencer marketing activity. Does this imply more ads, better disclosure or fake sponsorship?


Global Instagram influencer marketing activity increased by 48% in 2019 according to Klear

Research from this influencer marketing platform shows that in 2019 the number of feed posts with #ad hashtag posted on Instagram topped 3 million (3,014,687). This marks a 48% increase on the 2,113,307 posts recorded for 2018.

Klear’s State of Influencer Marketing 2019 report [gated content] shows the influencer growth rate is accelerating, too. In 2018 #ad activity grew by 39%. In 2019 this climbed to a 48% increase in sponsored posts year-on-year.


Instagram influencer marketing rise: New report by influencer marketing platform, Klear, shows a 48% YoY growth rate

The report’s data shows that Instagram Stories have become an integral part of influencer campaigns, too. 500 million users now view Instagram Stories every day. More influencers are tapping into this trend and incorporating Stories into their brand partnerships. 

Instagram influencer marketing rise:

Instagram influencer marketing rise: New report by influencer marketing platform, Klear, shows an acceleration in growth rate on ads to the social media platform. 

Influencers post 3.6 stories a day compared with 3 stories per day in 2018 according to the report. Over two-thirds (68%) of all sponsored stories in 2019 were related to either Beauty, Fashion or Food verticals.  

More paid posts or better disclosure?

But, were there more paid posts and Stories on Instagram in 2019, or were influencers just better at understanding the disclosure regulations? In reality, it is a bit of both. 

Global influencer revenues landed at the top end of long-term forecasts at $8billion for the year in 2019. By 2022 the industry is forecast to be worth $15 billion. This suggests both more sponsored content being published and the cost per activation rising, too. 

Another reason for the hike in the number of #ad hashtag posts might be better awareness of disclosure regulations by influencers and the sponsoring brands. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) along with the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) have published a slew of guidelines and other initiatives in a bid to heighten awareness of the social media advertising rules and regulations and teach best practice. 

In the ASA’s annual report 2018, published in May 2019, the UK watchdog stated that CAP, which is the body that writes and maintains the UK Advertising Codes, delivered 535,478 pieces of advice and training to businesses to help them get their ads right (38% increase on 2017).

Wannabe influencers faking it?

Wannabe influencers faking it offer a third potential reason for the hike in the number of posts carrying #ad hashtag.

Fake it ‘till you make it has become a credo for many would-be influencers trying to land their first influencer marketing activation deal. Many firms ask to see an influencer’s portfolio of past brand collaborations along with accurate data on follower counts, engagement rates, audience demographics and location. If they don’t have such a portfolio many have opted to create virtual collections of make-believe sponsor deals. 

Sponsorship deals real or otherwise have become the currency with a certain set of young Instagrammers. A type of street cred. 

Is Instagram swamped with ads?

Is Instagram now swamped by too many influencer marketing activations? No. There may now be a 48% YoY rise in sponsored posts on Instagram but the ratio of influencer paid work to organic content shows the number of these ads are a drop in the ocean. 

Instagram no longer publicly shares the number of posts uploaded per day. Back in 2016 the figure was 95 million. Today you could probably double or even triple that number to find the current daily rate. But, keeping it at 2016 levels that is 95m x 365 days = 34,675,000,000 posts for the year.  Compare that number with the 3,014,687 feed posts with #ad hashtag posted on Instagram last year. 

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.

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