With the recent launch of Instagram Stories (a near copy-cat of rival Snapchat’s Stories), Facebook-owned Instagram is once again cementing its position as a dominant social media app and top publishing platform for brands, influencers, and users alike. In June 2016, Instagram reached 500 million monthly users with 300 million daily users, doubling upon itself in just 2 years. Since debuting Stories, Instagram has launched “Events” (a Snapchat Live-like feature), and users can now zoom in on all photos and videos.
Shortly after the launch of Instagram Stories, several top social media influencers lauded this new functionality as it enables them to post the type of popular Snapchat content all on one platform with added discoverability and audience reach benefits. Brands, too, have been quick to adopt Instagram Stories using it similarly to Snapchat yet reaching much more expansive audiences on their Instagram brand channels.
With a bevy of added features, functionality, and a large monthly active user base, it is likely that both brand and influencer channels will experience an increase in Instagram engagement rates. While there are several studies that exist detailing brands’ engagement rates on Instagram, there is little to no data that demonstrate how top Instagram influencers’ engagement rates compare.
This information is of value and significance to marketers seeking to advertise on Instagram with influencer marketing as a viable alternative to Instagram’s native advertising options and/or to build/supplement a brand’s owned media efforts.
Over the last few months, Mediakix conducted original research by studying and analyzing both the top 100 Instagram brand channels and top 100 Instagram influencers for their overall channel engagement rates, trends, and tactics. This included calculating average impressions (based on our proprietary formula of followers, likes, and comments), analyzing content posting frequencies, and assessing photo vs. video view engagement rates.
For influencers, we first identified the top Instagrammers across 11 different categories or interests including Beauty & Makeup, “CEP” (Comedy, Entertainment, Personality), Design & Illustrations, Fashion, Food & Recipes, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Men, Pet, Photography, and Travel & Adventure. We looked first to Iconosquare’s Index Influencers categories (a breakdown of over 40 categories) and distilled to 11 of the most popular influencer categories of interest to brands, advertisers, and clients. Certain influencers (whose content and channel adequately fits more than one category) were included and analyzed across multiple categories.
As shown in the chart above, 61% of top Instagram influencers produced content (photos and videos) suitable for one interest category, while 34% were assessed in two categories, and 5% of Instagrammers produced content fit for 3 categories. While it is useful to know and find Instagram influencers who’s content, engagement, and audience are built around one predominant interest, it is also helpful to see the engagement rates and channel strategies of nearly 40% of Instagrammers who were able to effectively incorporate multiple categories.
Fashion, Lifestyle, and Photography represent the top categories of the Instagram influencers included in our study. In order to better understand how these top three primary categories overlap with adjoining interests, we further assessed how each Instagrammer’s content broke down. The following charts show how closely associated categories are related in each major category:
This data is insightful for marketers either seeking to target multiple categories within a specific type of audience demographic or for brands looking to market to new audiences within related categories. From just these top categories, we can determine that top Fashion influencers on Instagram post primarily post fashion-related content whereas for Photography, influencers largely post travel-related content.
In order to calculate the average engagement rates for both the top 100 Instagram influencers and top 100 Instagram brand channels, we collected daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly channel data (i.e. the number of followers, likes, photos & videos, comments). For all photo and video data, we assessed all the criteria within a specified time period for each influencer and brand channel. For some accounts (especially channels who post infrequently for video), this time period required data dating back to the previous year. In all cases, measures were taken to ensure that each channel’s data was collected as similarly as possible to allow for the most accurate assessments.
For all photo and video data, we assessed all the criteria within a specified time period for each influencer and brand channel. For some accounts (especially channels who post infrequently for video), this time period required data dating back to the previous year. In all cases, measures were taken to ensure that each channel’s data was collected as similarly as possible to allow for accurate assessment.
After we compiled each influencer’s data, we calculated the impressions and engagement rates for both the channel’s photo and video content (based on likes, comments, views, and followers) to arrive at an overall average engagement rate for each influencer and brand’s Instagram channel. For our upcoming series, we’ll take a deeper look into optimal posting frequencies, average video views on Instagram, and ultimately, how top Instagram influencers’ engagement rates compare to the engagement rates of top brand channels.