The Rise of Influencer Marketing on Instagram: A Look at Its Impact on the Industry
Last update: 11 January 2024 at 12:05 pm
When compared with most of the well-known social media applications, Instagram is quite new. But for a huge crowd of millennials, Instagram has been around forever. No wonder it has emerged as a veritable influencer marketing hub.
Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has undergone major facelifts in every way possible. And in the span of a decade, it has revolutionized still photography for good.
The application has witnessed rapid growth since the year 2013, when the active users count reached 100 million. The count doubled to 200 million the very next year, and it only took 9 months after that for Instagram to achieve the 400 million active user mark. Currently, Instagram is said to have more than 2 billion active monthly users.
Since Instagram is predominantly a mobile photo-sharing application, its growth, in various ways, mirrored the growth of the mobile internet. Gone are the days when people used to sit in front of computers with an internet connection to connect with the world outside. Now, they use their mobile phones, integrated with cameras, to click and instantly share their photos or videos on this predominant photo-sharing social network.
Even B2B and B2C owners are exploiting the potential of Instagram influencer marketing to showcase their products in the right light.
With this blog, we aim to help business owners who are considering harnessing the power of Instagram influencer marketing. Dive in head first to understand how Instagram transform your marketing efforts for good!
1- The Rise of Instagram
1.1- Overview of Instagram’s Growth
As mentioned earlier, Instagram has witnessed massive growth since its launch. But, Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook in 2012 catapulted the growth immensely.
The thing is, Instagram is not just famous among millennials but among Gen Zs, too. In fact, Gen Zs consider Instagram as edgier, attractive and youthful compared to its old counterpart Facebook. They have grown quickly out of using applications that their parents can operate, friend them on and watch all of their moves. Facebook is considered a mature application among younger demographics.
Consider the following stats –
- Gen Z make up to 26% of the world population
- Nearly 99% of Gen Z either owns a smartphone or have access to one
- 85% of Gen Zs use social media channels to gain knowledge of different products
No wonder why Instagram is growing rapidly, and business owners are using it to make the most out of their marketing strategies.
1.2- Instagram’s Impact on social media marketing
In the earlier days, the main niche of Instagram was allowing people to share their personal snaps. But post Facebook guardianship and keeping the changing trends in mind, the application has evolved for good.
Although it took brand owners a little time to realize the potential of Instagram, they now know the impact newly introduced features can have on their marketing activities.
Instagram even specialized the website design to assist businesses that wish to harness the power of Instagram in their marketing. The photo-sharing app’s strapline, “Over 5 million businesses worldwide tell their stories at the centre of visual discovery. What’s your story?” clearly signifies the success of Instagram in the business landscape.
One of the greatest benefits of using Instagram for marketing is that you can focus on publishing relevant images without having to worry about hard sales techniques. For instance, if you own a restaurant, adding perfect mouth-watering images of the food you serve will have people begging to know your location. With an Instagram image, you can effortlessly convert your passive users into active shoppers.
Here are some tips that will come in handy once you create an Instagram page for your business –
- Create interesting posts that will compel people to follow you.
- Avoid using Instagram simply for hard-selling. Instead, use it to influence people.
- To pique people’s attention, always publish high-quality product images or videos that show your products in use.
- Focus on highlighting your offerings and not promoting your products.
1.3- The Birth of Instagram influencer marketing
Of course, there are various ways of expanding your brand’s visibility on Instagram, but the potential influencer marketing holds quite significant.
Working with an influencer who already has a huge following list and is successful results in highly-engaged outcomes.
Over the years, brands from across the industry niche, including fashion, beauty, food, photography, etc., have collaborated with various top Instagrammers to boost their visibility through entertaining and visually stunning posts. Most of these Instagram influencers have millions of passionate people following them.
Instagram, as a social media site, is an excellent platform for building brand awareness. Its visual medium only doubles the impact of the Instagram influencer marketing campaign.
The more your brand’s post gets viewed, the more people will become aware of your brand’s existence.
An influencer that has millions of followers will be able to do a better job at boosting the visibility of your brand than you will be able to with your few engaged followers. And often times, the only cost you might incur by collaborating with an influencer is a free product.
If you remember, Daniel Wellington a watch company. They took a more aggressive route to influencer marketing that resulted in not only brand awareness but also direct sales. In one of their campaigns, the company gave influencers a free watch and a unique promotional code that provided the followers of the influencers with a 10% to 20% discount on their purchases.
The unique code not only made the influencers feel special but also made them feel as if they were providing value to their followers. The influencers were happy to encourage their followers.
2- The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Instagram
2.1- How influencer marketing has changed the advertising industry
Since more than 92% of Gen Zs trust influencers over celebrities, it is no wonder why influencer marketing is on the rise. In fact, it has transformed the advertising industry significantly. Here is how –
- Rise in demand for creative marketing – Gone are days of copy-pasting captions. Nowadays, influencers are expected to draft original content that ties to the sponsored post. This assists the followers in distinguishing between something the influencer is passionate about and sponsored post. As a brand, you will require to be mindful of what is created and what videos or photos will be used to ensure the final outcome is unique yet informative.
- Authenticity is on priority – Influencer marketing can only pay off if the influencer creates authentic content for your brand. An excellent way of capturing authenticity is through BTS or behind-the-scene films. Such content helps in connecting with the audience as well as building trust.
- Influencer marketing is the new advertising – Organic posts aren’t enough now. Paid media is on the rise when it comes to promoting influencer marketing campaigns. Such posts can be from influencers and brands. The rise of paid media is triggered due to news feed algorithms. Paid media offers brands added control over engagement, sales and results, making organic engagement highly risky. This helps the influencers to boost the impact in areas they once found difficult.
- Increased accountability – Fake follower list has impacted social media advertising hugely. Hence, influencers are required to have responsibility. You can use various online tools to easily determine what percentage of the followers are fake. This could assist with enforcing clear communication in the sponsorship.
- Increased budgets – The rise and popularity of influencer marketing have resulted in demand for more money. The increased budget demand clearly shows that Instagram influencer marketing is working, and brands are more than happy to make the payments.
2.2- The rise of micro-influencers and their impact on the industry
As a business owner, you might comprehend the importance of a tight-knit community and the role it plays in developing a successful brand. It is the micro-influencers who are in charge of creating community-focused content that drives meaningful engagement while connecting with the audience on a personal level.
Mirco-influencers tend to have a following of 10k to 100k. Hence, they are capable of engaging with the audience through posts and interaction, which is quite challenging for influencers that have millions of followers.
Here is how collaborating with a micro-influencer could be impactful –
- High engagement rates – For influencer marketing, micro-influencers are the sweet spot. This is because they have an excellent engagement rate in comparison to their more famous counterparts. Also, they haven’t grown to a point where they might require external assistance to run the social accounts. The followers micro-influencers tend to have are most likely genuine, given people don’t follow them because they know them but because they like what they post or create.
- More affordable – Although a micro-influencer may be highly knowledgeable in a particular topic, he or she is still a relatively ordinary person. By choosing to work with a micro-influencer, you can expect to come to an arrangement of an affordable influencer cost. Unless you have a sizeable marketing budget, you are better off with micro-influencers who don’t charge per sponsored post but for an entire contract.
- Are niche focused – If your brand is about the niche and specific product, consider working with a micro- or nano-influencer because mega- and macro-influencers may not be interested in promoting specialist products that appeal to a small section of their followers. When working with a micro-influencer, ensure you choose one that can interest your ideal customer.
- Higher conversion rates – As mentioned earlier, micro-influencers are relatively ordinary people with a passion for a particular topic. And this is what makes them authentic. Their followers see them as a person they know but are very knowledgeable on a certain topic. People tend to place a high level of trust in micro-influencers.
- There are many of them – The best thing about collaborating with micro-influencers is that there are so many to choose from. Irrespective of your industry niche, you are bound to come across a micro-influencer who will truly resonate with the products you sell and your industry niche.
2.3- How influencer marketing has impacted traditional advertising channels
The evolution of influencer marketing continues to impact traditional advertising channels in 2023 as well; here is how –
- Ability to target audience – Traditional marketing focused on producing a single message and then broadcasting it to a broad audience. But, influencer marketing focuses on producing a personalized message that is customized to an audience group. Collaboration with influencers allows the brands to target the niche market and create content that followers appreciate.
- The shift in consumer behaviour – Customers today have become well-informed and tech-savvy. And this has made them sceptical of traditional marketing techniques. Hence, brands are now turning to influencers for assistance in building credibility and trust in the audience.
- Impact on success – In the past, experts relied on reach and impressions to identify the campaigns’ effectiveness. Now, they are looking beyond these metrics and prioritizing engagement and conversions.
- Creative with advertising strategies – Brands have now become more creative with their advertising tactics. Brands are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to capture customer attention. With influencer marketing, brands are capable of doing just that.
3- The Benefits and Challenges of Influencer Marketing on Instagram
3.1- Advantages of Instagram influencer marketing
Among the many benefits of using Instagram influencer marketing, here are a few –
- Brand visibility is the key to success in today’s competitive digital landscape. If people don’t know about your brand’s existence, they have no choice but to choose your competitors. Working with an influencer will allow you to reach hundreds and thousands of potential customers digitally.
- If customers don’t trust your brand, they won’t shop from you – it is that simple. By choosing to work with an influencer who is known and trusted, you can leverage the existing trust to build your brand’s credibility and trust.
- Influencer marketing is ideal because when you work with a niche-focused influencer, you end up reaching customers that actually value your brand. For instance, collaborating with a beauty guru will give you access to people who are fond of makeup, fashion, etc.
- If you struggle to keep up with the changing trends, you are better off working with the influencers, given they are known for setting trends. People often consider influencers as a go-to source for the latest information.
3.2- Common challenges and how to overcome them
Quite often, marketers who wish to make their presence known on global platforms like Instagram face challenges in using it for their business benefits. Let’s take a look at those challenges and find ways to overcome them –
- Finding the right influencer – One of the biggest challenges most marketers face is finding the right influencer. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding the right influencer, you can certainly choose one based on your budget and niche.
- Identifying fake activity and imposters – There are two types of influencer frauds – fake followers and imposters. Keep in mind both real influencers and imposters have fake followers. You can use relevant influencer marketing tools to determine the same. And when it comes to imposters, look for red flags like spammy posts, comments, limited profile information and an unusual follow-to-follow engagement ratio.
- Measuring campaign performance – Start by determining the goals you wish to achieve before to start measuring the performance. If lead generation is your goal, track the new email subscribers. Track page views and impressions if your goal is to boost brand awareness.
- Managing the marketing expense – An easy way to manage your marketing expense is by assessing the effectiveness of your influencer campaigns. Gauging ROI will allow you to be prudent and selective in the use of resources when collaborating with influencers, agencies or platforms.
3.3- Examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns on Instagram
Influencer marketing has become the biggest buzzword in digital marketing and is quite effective in reaching the goals brands typically have. Listed below are three of the most impactful influencer marketing campaigns –
- Hello Fresh X Micro-influencers. Hello Fresh works with a variety of cooking, lifestyle and motherhood influencers, all of whom fall in their target market. They requested their Instagram influencers to share their experiences using Hello Fresh products and also provided a unique promo code to the influencers that offered the followers a first-month discount. Hello Fresh also collaborates with celebrity influencers to drive brand visibility, customer sign-ins and profits.
- ASOS X Micro-influencers – ASOS recently collaborated with various micro-influencers to gain widespread popularity for being an inclusive brand. They worked with 29 influencers – all from distinctive communities and looks. This collaboration was a hit because shoppers were hearing about the brand from real and stylish people and not directly from the brand. ASOS ensured to find relevant influencers who resonate with their products and the target audience they wish to cater to, thereby inspiring hundreds and thousands of people with their fashion and style guidance.
- McDonald’s X Travis Scott – Although not a micro-influencer, Mcdonald’s collaboration with Travis Scott was a hit for all the right reasons. First, the celeb has a huge following of more than 73 million on Instagram. And second, Scott receives an average of 10 million views, which instantly amplifies the brand’s visibility significantly. Also, since the product wasn’t niche-specific, McDonald’s was able to target the entire following list of Travis Scott in this influencer marketing campaign.
4- The Future of Influencer Marketing on Instagram
4.1- Emerging trends in influencer marketing
- Video content popularity will increase (even more) – Video feature on Instagram has been a popular marketing trend for years now. In 2023, it will continue to remain a priority. This is because 5G bandwidth is spreading worldwide, and fiber internet has become a common thing. As a result, people will continue to consume video and audio content. This is one of the reasons why creators on Twitch, YouTube and even podcasts are gaining popularity.
- A greater emphasis on representation and diversity – There has been a huge emphasis on representation and diversity in society lately. You can expect this flow to continue in influencer marketing, too. In fact, many brands have already included diversity and inclusivity in their brand marketing campaigns and ethos. (ASOS, for instance). Sooner or later, you will require to eliminate any exclusivity from everything, including messaging, products you offer, services and so on.
- Mirco and Nano influencers will gain the same love from the brands. Not every brand that wishes to invest in influencer marketing is established and well-known. Hence, to effectively stretch their influencer marketing budget, brands will focus on nano- and micro-influencers. And since nano- and micro-influencers have adequate follower count, they tend to create a deeper connection – something that every marketer wishes to prioritize.
- Brands will start focusing on ongoing partnerships and one-off projects – In 2023, brands and influencers may collaborate for the long term instead of working together for one single sponsored post. In fact, you can expect this practice to become a normal thing moving forward. The reason for this shift is – sales don’t happen overnight, long-term influencer campaigns are far more effective in fostering strong relationships and so on.
- Performance-based deals with become popular – With brands focusing on maintaining long-term partnerships with influencers and influencers playing a key role in the affiliate marketing programs, it is expected that performance-based deals will gain popularity in 2023, too. As a brand, you can expect the influencers to deliver the promises they made, such as helping you with specific clickthrough rates.
4.2- The impact of new Instagram features on influencer marketing
Listed below are the latest Instagram features and how you can use them to grow your brand and business.
- Professional dashboard – With a professional dashboard, you can track the performance of your posts and access resources and a wide range of tools – all in one place. You can easily access the dashboard from the top of your profile page.
- Live rooms – The recent live room feature on Instagram allows people to host live sessions with multiple (three) guests in a go. This could be your brand’s opportunity to host talk shows, webinars and Q&A sessions.
- Interactive bio – You can now make your business bio a little more creative by adding interactive elements, clickable links, website links and account mentions.
- Gift cards – Gain support from your followers and grow your sales by incorporating gift card stickers. Followers can also reshare these gift cards.
- Food orders – If you are a food brand, the food order feature can come in handy and let your users purchase from you directly.
- Pinned comments – You can now pin comments that provide thoughtful insights, are conversation starters and make them more visible.
- Collabs – Now, you can co-create content with other Instagram users, making the post visible on both users’ profiles.
4.3- Predictions for the Future of Instagram influencer marketing
For influencer marketing, Instagram is considered the OG breeding ground. It is home to numerous creators with a never-stopping number of followers. In fact, with every new update, Instagram aims to offer social media influencers and brands fresh and improved ways of meeting, interacting and forming lasting partnerships with brands.
But now the question lies, what is the future of this photo-sharing app? Will Instagram influencer marketing remain prominent? What new trends can one expect? And so on.
Well, to be honest, Instagram is here to survive, and we don’t see why it won’t be relevant even in the future, given the platform is being updated on a regular basis. In fact, you can expect the nano and micro-influencers of Instagram to flourish. Diversity, inclusion and social causes will become a priority. More and more brands will look for lasting and meaningful relationships with influencers, and video content will continue to boom. Lastly, authentic and unfiltered content will gain better traction.
To wrap it up,
It is evident from the blog that Instagram influencers can have a significant impact on your social media marketing efforts. This is because, over the years, they may have gained relevant trust among their followers with regular engagement.
Through their assistance, you can bring your brand the authentic exposure it needs to flourish in this competitive landscape. Just ensure that you collaborate with a micro-influencer who has enough followers count and ensures to engage with the followers on a personal level.
With a well-planned collaboration, you will soon start noticing the value influencers bring to your marketing operations. Besides, the availability of endless features on Instagram adds to the success of the influencer marketing campaign.
Do you need assistance with planning the influencer marketing campaign? Sortlist has a catalogue full of relevant agencies, ever ready to cater to your diverse needs!
Influencers promote on Instagram by creating and sharing engaging content that aligns with their personal brand and the interests of their followers. They use a variety of media, such as photos, videos, and stories, to showcase products or services. Additionally, influencers often collaborate with brands for sponsored posts, giveaways, and product reviews to reach a wider audience.
Yes, Instagram is widely regarded as one of the most effective platforms for influencer marketing. With its visually-driven content and vast user base, influencers can connect with their audience authentically. The platform’s features, such as Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Reels, provide diverse avenues for influencers to showcase products and engage with their followers.
Influencer marketing involves collaborating with individuals who have a significant following on social media to promote a brand or product. An example is a fitness influencer partnering with a sportswear brand to showcase and endorse their products through posts, stories, or videos, leveraging the influencer’s credibility and reach to boost brand visibility.