Instagram has become the go-to social platform for engaging a large number of users, and brands are looking to influencers to boost engagement rates for their content. However, not all influencers are worth the cost, according to L2’s Influencers: Measuring Impact report.
Brand posts featuring celebrity influencers (i.e. those with more than 7 million followers) result in the highest interaction rate lifts, according to L2’s study. Small and micro influencers, who have less than 70,000 followers but often boast highly engaged communities, garner respective lifts of 11% and 13% over non-influencer brand posts. Yet accounts with 70,000 to 2.5 million followers generate disappointingly low engagement lifts—under 10%. This should be a warning for brands to carefully evaluate partnerships with mid-tier influencers, as contract value is often heavily dependent on follower count, overlooking engagement.
The culprit for lower lifts in engagement is the high level of variance in engagement earned by posts featuring small, medium, and large influencers. Some posts featuring these influencers accrue a lift of 300% or more, while others perform significantly worse than posts by the same brand that don’t feature influencers.
Rather than looking at engagement lift on brand posts to gauge the value of mid-tier influencers, brands should consider the cost of each interaction, as well as the cost of each additional follower. Previous case studies of celebrity partnerships, like Coach’s partnership with Selena Gomez, show that the cost of each interaction is around 25 cents, while instances of smaller brands working with large to mega influencers, like Samantha Ravindahl’s partnership with NudeStix, reveal that reach at low cost can be achieved. NudeStix posts featuring Samantha Ravindahl accrue 10 times as many interactions as the brand’s typical (non-influencer) posts, at merely 11 cents per interaction.