Influencer Marketing Statistics in 2019

by Bobby Chernev

The stratospheric rise of influencer marketing in the last few years has been nothing short of astonishing. It is now a multi-billion dollar business. Are you impressed? Are you interested to find out where the industry is heading?

Then you’ve come to the right place. At TechJury we have compiled a list of valuable influencer marketing statistics. These will help visualize the latest trends in the industry and what to expect in 2019. Here are some numbers to whet your appetite:

Catchy Influencer Marketing Statistics

  • The influencer marketing industry could be worth $10 billion by 2020
  • With 78%, the Instagram Post was the most popular content format in 2018
  • People are 10 times more likely to be influenced by a non-celebrity blogger than a celebrity
  • 78% of social influencers for brand collaborations worldwide used Instagram as their primary social media platform in 2018
  • 66% of influencers used sponsored social media posts to generate revenue in 2018
  • 50% of brand marketers identified spotting fake followers as their main concern in 2018
  • 43% of brand marketers identified engagement as the most important criterion when evaluating influencers in 2018

But hold on a minute.

What Is an Influencer?

You might have seen the term influencer bandied about on the Web quite a lot, but what exactly does it mean? The Punisher is a comic book vigilante who violently punishes criminals for their sins. By that logic, an influencer is someone who, well, influences people for their own good, right?

Well, not quite.

An influencer is an individual who’s capable of affecting (i.e., influencing) people’s purchase decisions because of his/her knowledge or authority. What’s more, this individual has a following – usually on social media – in a specific niche, such as fashion, food, fitness, photography, and so on. YouTube marketing is also quite common.

So, anyone can do it, right?

Yes and no.

You might be the world’s leading authority on, say, deep sea fishing, but if you have a grand total of 35 followers on Instagram, you won’t be able to influence anybody apart from your cat Mittens. So, what is influencer marketing?

Here’s the gist:

Influencer marketing is a new marketing tool that focuses on content-driven, digital campaigns. These campaigns are often collaborations between brands and influencers.

Types of Influencers

Influencers are at the heart of the industry; without them, it simply wouldn’t exist. But not all influencers are created equal. Whether you’ll need a micro-influencer or a macro-influencer depends on the nature of your business and your target audience.

There are several types, based on the size of their audience. Let’s take Instagram influencers (also known as “Instagrammers”) as an example:

  • Micro-influencers have roughly between 5,000 and 25,000 followers.
  • Small influencers have between 25,000 and 100,000 followers.
  • Big influencers have between 100,000 and one million followers.
  • Macro-influencers have between one and seven million followers.
  • Celebrity influencers have more than seven million followers.

How Much Is the Influencer Market Worth?

The influencer market has been growing consistently since 2015.

1. The total size of the market in 2019 is projected at $6.5 billion. This would be an increase of almost two billion since 2018.

(Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

This is a rough estimate. The 2019 figure is likely to be between $4.1 and $8.2 billion, while the one for 2020 between $5 and $10 billion. Whatever the actual number, the trend is crystal clear – as recently as 2015, the market was worth “a mere” $500 million. It’s worth bearing in mind that the influencer marketing stats for 2019 and 2020 are projections at this point.

Popular Platforms in January 2018

Influencer marketing takes place on a variety of digital platforms and channels. Many influencers use several.

2. 78% of social influencers for brand collaborations worldwide used Instagram as their primary social media platform.

(Source: Statista)

Influencer marketing research shows that Instagram is the leading platform by a country mile. It is very user-friendly, which means you can easily get the hang of it. You can also improve the quality of your photos substantially by adding all sorts of filters. No special skills needed.

3. 16% of social influencers worldwide use blogs as their primary social media platform.

(Source: Statista)

A few years ago, blogs were all the rage. Plenty of influencers still use them; besides, you have greater freedom in how you deliver sponsored content when you have your own blog.

4. 4% of social influencers worldwide used YouTube as their primary social media platform.

(Source: Statista)

Vloggers (video bloggers) are among the biggest product influencers in the business. With 73.97 million subscribers, the controversial PewDiePie was the most popular YouTuber of 2018. However, YouTube requires more technical skills relative to Instagram and is not as easy to use.

5. Only 2% of social influencers for brand collaborations worldwide used Facebook as their primary social media platform.

(Source: Statista)

Facebook’s reputation has suffered as a result of a number of so-called “fake news” scandals in 2016-2018. What’s more, young people are leaving it in droves for its younger, flashier sibling, Instagram.

The Rise and Rise of Instagram

Instagram is the most strategically important media channel for influencer marketing by a huge margin. Millennial consumer statistics suggest that the platform is a major trendsetter.

6. The Instagram influencer market is worth an estimated $1.7 billion in 2019.

(Source: Mediakix)

Instagram has expanded rapidly over the last couple of years. It now has over one billion users, and this number is constantly rising. The introduction of Instagram Stories in August 2016 has further boosted its popularity and the range of tools available to influencers. The Instagram influencer market is expected to hit $2.3 billion in 2020.

7. In 2019, there will be an estimated 4.4 million Instagram posts using popular hashtags to denote advertising or promotion.

(Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

This projection shows an increase of 1.3 million compared to 2018. There’s more: influencer marketing on Instagram will have quadrupled between 2016 and 2019. So, in case you’re wondering – How many influencers are there on Instagram? – these figures should give you a rough idea. Nobody knows for sure.

8. In 2018, 89% of marketers said Instagram is strategically important to their influencer marketing strategy.

(Source: Mediakix)

No other social media platform has ever polled this highly. In this survey, Facebook came third with a relatively poor score of 45% (participants were asked to name multiple platforms). Facebook may still have more users, but “Insta” is where all the cool kids and cultural trendsetters hang out. Influencer marketing stats are clear about this one.

9. With 78%, the Instagram Post was the most popular content format in 2018.

(Source: Mediakix)

As you’re probably well aware, Instagram was originally launched in October 2010 as a photo-sharing service exclusively on iOS. Unsurprisingly, its original content format remains the most popular. But bear in mind that the newer “Instagram Stories” is rapidly catching up. Influencer marketing data show they are currently the second most popular content format, with 73%.

10. Socialite Kylie Jenner was the most highly paid celebrity Instagrammer in 2018, averaging a whopping $1 million per post.

(Source: Hopper)

Celebrity endorsements on Instagram are a big deal, often making the headlines of popular websites. It’s easy to see why. At the time of writing, Kylie Jenner had 127 million followers, slightly more than the entire population of Japan. Singer Selena Gomez came second on the list. Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, ranked third, was the highest paid male Instagrammer. Ronaldo actually has about 30 million followers more than Jenner (157 million at the time of writing), but he is not able to monetize them as effectively.

How Influencers Generate Revenue

Let’s face it, influencers don’t do what they do out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s also seldom because they absolutely loved that pair of jeans. The fact of the matter is they want to get paid. So, how do they make money?

11. In 2018, 73% of influencers used sponsorships or sponsored content.

(Source: Kite)

According to influencer marketing research, many companies will hire brand ambassadors to promote their products. While the most visible brand ambassadors are celebrity influencers, micro-bloggers can often get in on the action, too – they increase a brand’s visibility more locally. Another sponsored content format consists of paid for articles and blogs, which appear as editorials in an online publication.

12. In 2018, 66% of influencers used sponsored social media posts.

(Source: Kite)

Let’s have a quick look at how they do it. Victoria Brewood (@pommietravels) is a New York-based micro-influencer specializing in travel and lifestyle. Both her niches are among the most popular; travel influencer marketing stats tell us that a third of millennials are likely to be influenced by travel bloggers. In this sponsored post, she promotes a brand of Spanish olive-oil as part of a salad recipe, while discussing her commitment to healthy living and referencing her cosmopolitan lifestyle.

13. In 2018, 38% of influencers used free products to generate revenue.

(Source: Kite)

Influencer marketing statistics tell us that many companies will send influencers free samples for giving their brands a “shout out” on social media. This can happen even if they haven’t commissioned them! But be careful – this practice may result in a violation of FTC (Federal Trade Commission in the US) and CMA (Competition and Markets Authority in the UK) regulations. In fact:

14. Only 11% of influencers were compliant with FTC and CMA guidelines in 2018.

(Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

This is one of the more shocking influencer marketing stats. According to FTC guidelines for endorsement by individuals on social networking sites: “If you write about how much you like something you bought on your own and you’re not being rewarded, you don’t have to worry. However, if you’re doing it as part of a sponsored campaign or you’re being compensated – for example, getting a discount on a future purchase or being entered into a sweepstakes for a significant prize – then a disclosure is appropriate.”

Brand Marketers

Brand marketers are increasingly coming to realize the great potential of influencer marketing.

15. 63% of influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2019.

(Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

As the number of Instagram and Facebook users continues to grow steadily, more and more brand marketers are trying to tap into the pool of influencer marketing. This begs the obvious question: Is influencer marketing effective?

16. 80% of marketers found influencer marketing effective in 2018.

(Source: Mediakix)

This is one of the most significant influencer marketing statistics you’re likely to come across. It shows you why the industry is experiencing such robust growth. But that’s not all: it also reflects marketers’ view that return on investment from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than that from other channels.

17. With 81%, content quality was the number one factor for brand marketers when picking the right influencers in 2018.

(Source: Mediakix)

If you’re thinking of becoming an influencer, this is one of the most crucial stats. Make sure you bring your A game to the field – otherwise influencer marketing companies will simply ignore you, and marketers will move on.

18. In 2018, 43% of brand marketers named customer engagement as the most important factor when evaluating influencers.

(Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

How many likes did your sponsored Instagram post get? Did people post positive comments or questions? While there’s more to it than just numbers (we’ll get to that in a bit, so stick around), it all starts with likes, clicks, and views.

19. In 2018, 48% of brand marketers named audience relationship as the most important factor when running influencer campaigns.

(Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

This is why a larger following does not necessarily translate into higher profits. Micro influencer stats show influencers with a few thousand followers tend to share more direct recommendations. What’s more, they’re usually better value for money.

20. 36% of brand marketers said recruiting influencers is their biggest challenge in managing influencer campaigns in 2018.

(Source: Influencer Managing Hub)

This may seem surprising at first, given the large and constantly growing number of influencers out and about. But here’s the thing: many influencers will not work with a brand they feel ambivalent about. What’s more, if you’re engaging micro-influencers – as opposed to a key influencer with an outsized influence – you’re likely to need a whole host of them.

And finally

21. Influencer fraud was a big concern for 64% of brand marketers in 2018.

(Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

Social media channels have been trying hard to crack down on services that sell followers and likes. In November 2018, Instagram announced the introduction of “machine learning tools” to help stamp out account fraud. Nevertheless, it remains a major concern for marketers.

How to Measure Influencers’ Impact

You may have gathered by now that influencers’ impact isn’t determined by the number of followers alone. In fact, there are several key performance indicators (KPIs) we can use to measure it. The most important indicator for 75% of marketers is:

Engagement Rate 

This indicator measures the level of “commitment” between an influencer and his/her online audience. It can give you a good idea of how people view your brand. Likes, reactions, shares, comments, clicks, and video views all count as engagement in social media influencer marketing. You can calculate a profile’s engagement rate percentage by dividing the average number of interactions per post by the number of followers, then multiplying by 100.

But wait:

Why bother crunching numbers yourself when the Instagram Engagement Calculator will do it for you? Simply enter a handle and click search. Want to know what the engagement rate of British model, actress, and celebrity influencer Cara Delevingne (41.5 million followers at the time of writing) is? It’s 1.15%. Her average interactions per post are 475,534 likes and 1,548 comments.

You’re probably wondering:

Is this good or bad? Well, the average engagement rate of Instagrammers with over half a million followers is 2-3%, so Delevingne’s is actually pretty poor. In contrast, Selena Gomez’s engagement rate is a highly reputable 4.9%.  Can you see how Instagram influencer marketing statistics from 2018 were key to making her the second-highest paid celebrity Instagrammer that year?

But there’s more:

Micro-influencers on Instagram have the highest average engagement rate at 6%. In general, the more followers an influencer has, the lower their average engagement rate. This is why many businesses prefer to work with multiple micro-influencers rather than, say, a single influencer with a larger number of followers.

Conversion Rate 

This indicator tracks several digital marketing facts, such as sales before, during, and after an influencer marketing campaign to measure its effectiveness. Other desired actions, such as signing up for a brand’s newsletter, could also contribute toward it.

Referral Traffic 

This indicator measures the number of visits to a website from pages other than Google. The key metrics here are new visitors, referral sources, total page views, and how long visitors browsed the site.

Reach and Awareness 

This indicator measures how many people became aware of a particular brand as a result of a campaign. Also, how did this campaign reinforce the brand’s standing with existing customers? You can use social media analytics to track impression data on your blogs, videos, and social media posts.

Audience Growth 

This indicator measures how many people are actually buying from your brand, as opposed to simply being aware of its existence.

But:

Even though marketers are aware of these key performance indicators, they still somehow find influencer marketing measurement one of their biggest challenges. There’s definitely room for improvement.

And finally:

Wrap up

So, what can the latest influencer marketing statistics tell us about where the industry is heading in 2019?

First, influencer marketing is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s now a multi-billion dollar business.

Second, Instagram is the main platform of choice for both influencers and marketers by a long way.

Third, sponsored content and sponsored social media posts are the two main sources of revenue for over two-thirds of influencers. So, if you’re thinking about becoming a digital influencer yourself, you better hone those social media skills and brush up on your deep sea fishing.

References
  1. Influencer Marketing Hub
  2. Statista
  3. Statista
  4. Statista
  5. Statista
  6. Mediakix
  7. Influencer Marketing Hub
  8. Mediakix
  9. Mediakix
  10. Hopper
  11. Kite
  12. Kite
  13. Kite
  14. Influencer Marketing Hub
  15. Influencer Marketing Hub
  16. Mediakix
  17. Mediakix
  18. Influencer Marketing Hub
  19. Influencer Marketing Hub
  20. Influencer Marketing Hub
  21. Influencer Marketing Hub

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