Much of the influencer marketing industry is drowned out by misleading vanity metrics like “number of followers” and “how many likes and shares” an influencer has. These metrics provide limited value because they don’t provide an accurate way to measure return on investment. The FTC stepped in recently, requiring every sponsored post to be disclosed as an ad. Now it is possible for companies like HYPR to measure industry metrics. Tracking sponsored posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, HYPR identified, in the last quarter of 2016 alone, over 100,000 disclosed sponsored posts. Of those, nearly 63% were made by what we define as long tail, or micro-influencers (less than 100,00 followers), slightly less than 31% were made by mid-sized influencers (100,000 to 1 million followers), and just 6% were made by large influencers (above 1 million followers).
It’s becoming clear that Influencer Marketing is entering the age of the micro-influencer. Brands on the cutting edge, are finding that they can aggregate hyper-specific audiences at mass, through the identification and activation of a select group of micro-influencers. More effective automation is going to be introduced in 2017 and will rapidly drive down the costs of identification, activation and measurement, while increasing the quality of influencer based audience aggregation. Tracking of campaigns will further drive transparency and efficiency.
The chart above demonstrates a strong shift towards micro-influencers and away from influencers with overwhelmingly large followings. Over the past year, activations of micro-influencers grew from around 60% to over 92% of activations at the end of the year. The growth is even more inspiring when we look at spend. Micro-Influencers started 2016 with approximately 6% of spend directed at them and finished the year with over 20%. We anticipate this trend will continue growing as discovery, measurement and activation solutions become more available and brands become aware of the opportunity to access the micro influencers at scale.
HYPR has built a model that assigns a price to every social post. This is impacted by a variety of metrics, including each influencer’s engagement rate, audience size (which still unfortunately plays a major role in how influencers charge), platform and format (video, text, short-form writing or long-form writing). Our model shows astounding results, with an approximate $2 billion run rate achieved in December 2016, (including adjustments for immeasurable platforms like Snapchat). The growth curve was the kind of hockey stick most market participants dream of, with spend increasing almost 8X when comparing January 2016 (~19 million on measurable platforms) and December 2016 (~142 million on measurable platforms). To be fair though, disclosing campaigns has become more and more prevalent during 2016, and it is likely that many undisclosed campaigns in the early part of the year went unmeasured – leading growth rates to look even bigger. Our intent is to continue to monitor this trend and produce supplemental information as the underlying data becomes more accurate throughout 2017.
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