For decades, it’s been common practice for brands and marketers to utilise the influence of an elite persona to endorse a product or brand. In the past, this role fell exclusively to well-established celebrities, but as social media and technology has developed, anyone can now share their opinions and creativity with the world.
Instagram in particular has given rise to the social media influencer, opening the gateway for many ambitious minds to build their own audience.
Instagram’s popularity has exploded
Launched in late 2010, Instagram has seen its user base rise to over 1 billion in under a decade, becoming one of the most lucrative social media platforms in existence. For influencers, there has never been a better time to become a part of the Instagram ecosystem as influencer market growth shows no signs of slowing down.
According to data gathered by Mediakix, Instagram’s influencer market has seen healthy year-on-year growth. In 2017, the influencer market size was worth $800 million, rising to $1.3 billion in 2018, a projected $1.7 billion for 2019 and a potential $2.3 billion by 2020.
Expectedly, the number of brand-sponsored posts has also seen a drastic increase. In 2017, 2.6 million brand-sponsored ads were posted by influencers, and this will almost double to 5 million in 2019. Brands are putting their trust and their money into influencers, and why not?
69% of marketers plan to spend the majority of their budget on Instagram influencers marketing, and that speaks to the accessibility, popularity and sheer size of the market housed within Instagram.
What makes Instagram influencers so successful?
With so many platforms out there for influencers to grow and marketers to take advantage of, how has Instagram shot well ahead of the competition? It mainly comes down to three principles: design, ease of use, and accessibility.
As a mobile app, Instagram is designed to work splendidly on smartphones. When a user opens the app they are instantly drawn to an endless scroll of visual content, all curated by a user’s own likes — while the Instagram algorithm does its work behind the scenes. The app is developed with simplicity in mind; interaction with images and other users is intuitive and fairly limited, meaning there are fewer distractions, keeping people focused on the content itself.
This visual focus, too, engages with our ability to quickly process visual information. An influencer can use this to build a distinctive visual style which can be immediately recognised by a user.
Instagram’s speed — how quickly a user can consume content — works perfectly with a modern, busy lifestyle. Someone idly checking their phone on the bus or on their lunch break doesn’t have all the time in the world to read long-form content. They may not have the inclination, either, so Instagrm is the perfect vessel for fast-paced content which someone can see, engage with and understand in just a couple of seconds. This type of exposure is incredibly valuable for marketers.
Influencers big and small
With the accessibility of Instagram, coupled with how easy it is for people to upload and edit gorgeous photos, influencers can be both large and small scale. This means that marketers and brands have a huge pool of influencers to choose from. The size of an audience really doesn’t matter as much when compared to the quality of content and the loyalty of that fan base. Influencers working in niche markets can have fewer than 10,000 followers on Instagram, and still be seen as a viable, cost-effective marketing channel for a brand.
Instagram allows people with specific interests or creative style to build an audience around that. Wise marketers will look to the relevance of an influencer’s content, and with so much variety encouraged by Instagram, this leaves marketers with plenty of choice.
This trend is also promising for future influencers. While some brands will chase those with millions of followers, others will stick to smaller influencers to build trust with a more fervent audience base. New or speculative influencers have a great opportunity to become involved in influencer marketing because of this level of accessibility, suggesting that Instagram’s domination of the influencer market is likely to continue and expand even further.
Kruger Cowne work with a number of social media influencers who utilise Instagram as an effective marketing strategy for brands and products. By using influencer marketing, you can develop relationships with new audiences and strengthen the identity, trust and popularity of your brand. If you’re interested in the idea of influencer makreting but you’re not sure how to approach it, contact Kruger Cowne today and our knowledgeable team will provide all the advice and guidance you need.