Following a year of mounting hype, influencers have finally hit the mainstream. According to Gartner L2’s report on social platforms and influencers, nine out of ten brand Instagram handles mentioned influencers at least once between Q2 2017 and Q1 2018. Deployment of influencer strategies was nearly ubiquitous in categories like activewear, retail, beauty, and fashion. Additionally, the share of Instagram posts featuring influencers more than doubled from 10% to 25%, with activewear and fashion handles leading with 41% and 39%, respectively.

Nearly half of the brand handles that tag influencers in posts see a net increase in average engagement compared to non-influencer posts. However, the handles that fail to effectively incorporate influencers in posts manage to bring down the sector averages. While traditional influencer sectors like activewear, fashion, and retail receive a boost, sectors like auto, CPG, consumer electronics, and watches and jewelry cannot seem to find their influencer mojo. Surprisingly, influencer posts from beauty brands—despite their history with vloggers—experienced fewer average interactions than non-influencer posts.

Influencer marketing has grown from a test-and-learn approach to a must-have tactic on social media. However, with great adoption comes great responsibility, and influencers have yet to fulfill the latter.

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