A recent study shows that Instagram influencers are getting hit hard by the reported decline in engagement across the platform.
According to data shared with Mobile Marketer, by InfluencerDB, engagement rates for sponsored and organic posts are nearing all-time lows.
Engagement is measured by comparing the average number of likes on each Instagram post to the number of followers of the account.
The study shows that the engagement rate for sponsored posts was 2.4% in Q1 2019, down from 4% three years earlier.
During the same time periods, the engagement rate of organic posts dropped from 4.5% to 1.9%.
Engagement is reportedly down across every industry category of influencer including beauty, fashion, food, lifestyle, fitness, and travel.
The study notes that engagement rates for travel influencers have been nearly cut in half – down from 8% in 2018 to 4.5% in 2019.
Sponsored posts still drive the most engagement
Despite not driving as much engagement, sponsored posts are still driving more engagement than organic posts.
The popularity of sponsored posts has grown to the point that Instagram feeds are now full of them, which is spreading engagement rates thin.
Instagram is especially saturated when it comes to sponsored posts in the fashion industry, which makes up 25% of all sponsored posts.
The food industry accounts for 12% of all sponsored posts, beauty accounts for 7%, and the travel industry has the least amount of sponsored posts at 5%.
The study suggests that marketers may see better engagement with sponsored posts when they’re published by “nano-influencers.”
Nano-influencers have a smaller reach, but their followers are highly dedicated.
According to a separate study from InfluencerDB, the average number of influencers used in a single campaign is 726.
This indicates that marketers are working with a greater number of nano-influencers as opposed to just a few major influencers.
Instagram is working on a new ad unit that will allow brands to expand the reach of sponsored posts, but it’s not ready for a wide rollout at this time.