“That’s when I fell for… the leader of the pack”

Boomers may remember this 1964 hit song first made popular by the Shangri-Las and subsequently recorded by other artists. In today’s fast-moving world of digital communications, the leader of today’s pack is Instagram.

So?

Recent research by Business Insider Intelligence revealed that 79% of brands relied on Instagram for their influencer campaigns. The research service company predicted that this year would be no different. It cited not only Instagram’s growing popularity, but also the experience and ability of influencers at all levels to utilize that platform.

In a deeper and separate study, Fourstarrz Media not only echoed the outlook for Instagram but forecasted that the app would experience a growth rate of more than 32% annually until 2024.  What’s more, the influencer marketing platform company predicted that the size of the influencer market would increase to more than $22 billion in 2024, from the $5.3 billion it recorded last year.

Fourstarrz reported that their survey of marketers showed 89% reporting that Instagram was important for their influencer marketing strategy. Of the remaining nine platforms included in the query, YouTube was second with 70%, followed by Facebook’s 45%.

Brands not yet convinced should know that Instagram stories were cited by 79% of marketers as being most effective for influencer content marketing. The research found that more businesses were also using Instagram. About a third of the most popular Instagram stories came from businesses.

When consumers were asked which platforms they used to follow influencers, 65% named Instagram. That number was even higher among women. Brands targeting women should know that 70% favored Instagram over other platforms. Facebook and YouTube tied at 62%.

Another interesting find and observation by Fourstarrz was that weekly Instagram posts are declining. They reported that posts averaged 3.3 times weekly in 2016, and that the average has been dropping each year since then. By 2019, it had fallen to 2.7, and the firm predicted that it would decrease to 2.3 in 2020.

Micro-Influencers

Keeping pace with this growth are micro-influencers on Instagram. 61% of Instagram users told Fourstarrz that they found micro-influencer content more relatable. Respondents also felt micro-influencers were more approachable. 43% reported some sort of engagement with micro-influencers.

55% of marketers agreed that micro-influencers have stronger connections. A slightly higher number – 56% – cited working with micro-influencers as being more cost effective than using celebrity influencers.

Instagram and micro-influencers may not be the answer to every marketer’s dream, but it would likely be a big mistake to totally dismiss them from consideration.

Brands thinking about but not yet using one or both need to identify and assess their target audience(s) and discover who and what motivates them. What platforms do they frequent and who, besides friends and relatives, do they rely on for trusted information and advice? The silent generation and boomers don’t frequent Instagram and rely on influencers as much as their kids and grandchildren.

But if the target audience is millennials and/or Gen Z, the next step would be to determine the level of influencer to consider. Surveying competitors and closely aligned brands as to the kind of influencers they’re utilizing can also be informative and helpful.

If the decision is to move forward with influencers and Instagram, the brand’s strategic plan  should also include quantitative goals and reports on a regular basis. Included in this should also be a methodology of capturing and analyzing consumer feedback to influencers, to enable the brand to adjust its strategy as needed.