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Influencer sponsored posts surge by 150% on Instagram: Report

In Asia, influencer-sponsored posts have grown by over 189 per cent from 2018 to 2019, according to a new report by Socialbakers. The report, titled Must Know Influencer Marketing Trends Report for 2019, 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 to 10 billion dollar market by 2020.

From Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, the use of Stories grew by 21 per cent. The majority of influencers today are micro-influencers, accounting for over 80 per cent of influencers in Asia.

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

The report also found that in Q1 2019, the interactions of influencer sponsored posts vs. non-sponsored content were virtually the same, meaning that influencers do not lose engagement when working with brands. Influencers receive 415 median interactions on posts that use #ad vs. 442 median interactions when they do not.

Over the last year, the number of influencers using the #ad more than doubled – the trend grew by 133 per cent from Q1 2018 to the end of Q1 2019.

From Q1 2018 to Q1 2019 the brand that received the most influencer mentions in Southeast Asia was Daniel Wellington, with more than 1,500 mentions by 558 Instagram influencers.

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 per cent. The same growth rate has persisted into 2019. As of February, the #ad hashtag had grown by 120 per cent across Instagram posts.

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 are not seeing any effect on their level of interactions.

Stories on Instagram have become an invaluable source of engagement for brands. Increasingly more brands are utilizing 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 per cent YoY.

Data from the Socialbakers report also confirmed that the majority of Instagram influencers fall into the micro category, meaning they have fewer than 10K followers. This trend is also seen in other regions such as Latin America and Europe, 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.