Instagram is a photo and short video sharing social network. It was founded in 2010 by software engineer Michel Krieger and computer programmer and former Google-employee Kevin Systrom. The iOS release took place in October 2010, and the Android in April 2012.
The idea for Instagram came when Systrom was holidaying with his partner in Mexico in 2010. He and Krieger had a developed a multi-feature social platform called Burbn, focused on location sharing. He was contemplating adding photo sharing to the platform.
His partner, however, protested that the photos taken on her iPhone 4 were not of a standard to share. Systrom’s solution was to apply filters to the pictures – which quickly became Instagram’s key selling point.
It quickly became apparent that the best course would be to pare down Burbn, which had already attracted $500,000 in seed funding, to focus on this element. Thus, Instagram was born.
In April 2012, it was sold to Facebook for $1 billion. Systrom remained on as CEO until 2018, when Krieger (head of engineering) also left the company.
Instagram was a hit – rapid gathering users to become one of the world’s biggest and most-influential social media platforms. By June 2018, the platform had hit 1 billion monthly active users
To the initial photo-focused functionality was added video sharing in 2013, and then Instagram Stories in 2016, which allows users to upload a short series of photos, which are deleted after 24 hours.
The latter may have been pilfered from Snapchat, but in terms of sheer user numbers it soon left its rival in the dust – with Stories alone boasting twice as many users as its rival counted in total (400 million to under 200 million at the time).
Instagram has played a central role in 21st century popular culture, with popular users dubbed ‘influencers’. The name is apt, with followers of these popular users (the Kardashian klan in particular are synonymous with the platform) certainly being, well…influenced.
Instagram, consequently has become an important marketing platform. There is a dark side to this, of course. Aspiring to the perfect bodies and lives depicted in heavily-filtered and carefully-curated Instagram posts is potentially damaging to the mental health of those without the means to recreate what they see. Nonetheless, it has become central to many brands’ strategies.
There are a lot of Instagram stats out there – some of them wildly fluctuating. We’ve gathered a good proportion of them for you below. Read on if you want to learn who uses Instagram, the most successful brands and the most-followed users, how much marketers are investing in the platform, and much, much, more.
Table of Contents
Key Instagram Statistics
- 1 billion Instagram monthly users as of June 2018
- 500 million daily Instagram Stories users
- 110 million Instagram US users, 70 million in Brazil, and 69 million in India
- 34% of Instagram users aged 25-34; 31% are 18-24
- 51.2% of the global Instagram user base are female, 48.8% male
- US Instagram penetration at 37%
- 75% of US 18-24 year olds are Instagram users
- 35% of US teenagers say Instagram is their favourite social media
- Two thirds of 18-24-year-old Instagram users use the platform multiple times per day, compared to 60% of 25-34-year-olds, and 49% of 35-44-year olds
- Instagrammers under the age of 25 spend 32 minutes per day on the platform; those older spend 24 minutes, according to Facebook
- eMarketer peg daily US Instagram usage at 27 minutes; the Recode figure is 53 minutes
- 73.5% of content is images, 13.7% is video, and 12.7% is carousels
- Top reported interests of Instagram users are travel (45%), music (44%) and food and drink (43%)
- 41% of Instagram users don’t watch television on any sort of regular basis
- Median interactions per post are a little under 80, say Socialbakers; 120 for carousels, 90 for images, 70 for videos
- Apart from Instagram itself (313 million followers in October 2018), Cristiano Ronaldo is the most-followed user (185 million)
- Jennifer Aniston reached 1 million followers in 5 hours 16 minutes, the current record for reaching this milestone
- Most-followed demographic influencer demographic is females aged 25-34, who claim nearly 25% of Instagram influencer followers
- Female influencers aged 18-34 claim over 50% of influencer interactions and 45% of influencer followers
- Kylie Jenner earns an estimated $1.3 million per sponsored post
- World Record Egg is the most liked picture, with nearly 54 million likes
- 33% increase in number of influencers using of #ad hashtag between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019
- 90% year-on-year increase in number of posts using #ad (H1 2019 vs H1 2018)
- Median Instagram post engagement levels are 1.6%, say Sprout Social
- Trust Insights reports average engagement levels of 0.9% for branded content
- Iconosquare give a more positive 4.7% engagement level for branded content
- InfluencerDB pegs sponsored post engagement at 2.4%
- Influencers with under 1,000 followers see engagement levels of 7.2%; those with over 100,000 see 1.1% says Influencer Marketing Hub
- InfluencerDB finds 8.8% engagement for influencers with under 1,000, and 3.6% for those with over 1,000
- Average Instagram brand campaign uses 726 influencers
- 78% of Millennials claim to be indifferent or averse to influencer marketing
- Fashion influencers account for 25% of sponsored posts
- Somewhere between 80-92% of marketers believe influencer marketing is effective, depending on who you ask…
- 89% of marketers say Instagram is important to their marketing strategy
- Marketers can make $5.20 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing
- 17% of marketers spend over 50% of their budget on influencer marketing
- 60% of marketers will spend over 50% of their influencer marketing budget on Instagram
- Global spend on influencer marketing is predicted to be worth somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion by 2020 – rising as high as $15 billion by 2022
- 66% of people say they use Instagram specifically to interact with brands; 53% see they would follow a brand for its content alone
- Nike is the most followed brand on Instagram, with 90 million followers
- Daniel Wellington was the most influencer mentioned brand over 2018, with 20,000 mentions from over 7,000 influencers (using the #ad hashtag) – one post from Kylie Jenner was interacted with 4.6 million times
- Nike Football was the brand account with the most interactions over 2018, with 2 million
- 2 million advertisers use Instagram on a monthly basis
- CPC for Instagram feed ads is around $0.60, and for Stories $0.50
- CPM for Instagram feed ads is $1.65, and for Stories around $0.90
- It is estimated that Instagram brought in $2 billion in ad revenue in Q2 2018; this could rise to as much as $7 billion by Q3 2020
- Instagram ad revenue as a share of Facebook ad revenue is set to rise from 9% in 2017 to 30% by 2020
- Instagram valued at $100 billion by Bloomberg in 2018
Instagram User Statistics
In June 2018, Instagram users hit the 1 billion mark. This would make it the third most-populous country in the world, after China (1.42 billion) and India (1.37 billion). Or to put it another way, the Instagram user base is equal to the entire population of the Americas.
We have not heard any further updates from Instagram for a little while, so we might assume that monthly Instagram user levels have stayed at around this level. Certainly, saturation may well kicked in at this stage…
If we discount messenger apps, this puts Instagram behind only parent site Facebook and YouTube in the social media pecking order.
Instagram MAU vs other top apps
Source: Hootsuite/We Are Social
In the below Instagram user statistics published on Statista, we can see how the user base has grown since 2013. Growth has been consistently strong though this five-and-a-half-year period. The 100 million Instagram user mark was crossed in February 2013. This had risen to 500 million by June 2016, before doubling over the next two years to reach the current 10-figure point.
Instagram users (MAU), January 2013 – June 2018
According to Instagram, over 500 million accounts use Stories on a daily basis. Instagram Stories was introduced in August 2016. These Instagram Stories statistics date back to Q4 2018 – so may well have fluctuated since this point.
It only took until January 2017 for Instagram Stories users to outstrip Snapchat’s entire userbase.
Instagram Stories DAU, Aug 2016 – January 2019
Instagram user demographics
The largest single constituency of Instagram users in a single country can be found in the US, with 110 million users. So far, so predictable – but Instagram’s success is truly international. Brazil (70 million Insta users), India (69 million), Indonesia (59 million), and Russian (40 million) round out the top-five. Clearly the appeal of nicely filtered photos truly transcends national boundaries.
But if that makes it sound like Instagram users are concentrated across emerging app markets, its popularity in Japan (26 million), the UK (23 million), and Germany (19 million) confirms that this is not the case.
Top-11 countries by Instagram users, July 2019, millions
The tiny but wealthy southeast Asian nation Brunei tops the list in terms of penetration, with 60% of the eligible population Instagram users. Indeed, affluence is something of a theme in this top-10, with Nordic nations like Iceland (57%), Sweden (55%), and Norway (48%) featuring alongside Gulf States Kuwait (55%) and Bahrain (48%).
Instagram is also extremely popular in Turkey (56%) and Cyprus (53%), as well as Central Asian nation Kazakhstan (53%). Turkey also features in the top-10 nations by absolute levels of Instagram usage.
We’ve only included fully sovereign nations here. We also see high levels of penetration in overseas territories of the UK and US, like the Cayman Islands (53%) and Guam (52%).
Top 10 countries by Instagram penetration (eligible reach), July 2019
Data source: Hootsuite/We Are Social
The Pew Research Center pegs US Instagram penetration at 37% (that is, those who ever use the app, rather than MAUs). This puts it in a comfortable third place, behind only YouTube and Facebook. It has occupied third position since 2016, after rising steadily over the years.
Interestingly, in 2019, we see a bit of a dip in penetration levels for many of the rest of the chasing pack, with the exception of LinkedIn. Clearly something about Instagram continues to be compelling to the US online audience while other apps lose their lustre.
Instagram US penetration vs. other popular social media
Source: Pew Research Center
Breaking down the global Instagram user base by age and gender, we can see that the highest proportion of users can be found in the 25-34 (34%), and the 18-24 (31%) age brackets. Between them, these two age brackets account for a touch under two-thirds of global Instagram users.
By this estimation, globally speaking we see something close to gender parity, with 51.2% of the Instagram user base female, and 48.8% male. We see different trends at different age groups.
Male Instagram users outnumber female in the 18-24 bracket only. There’s equality between the two in the 25-34 bracket. Every other bracket sees marginally more female than male Instagram users.
Instagram users by age and gender, July 2019
Source: Hootsuite/We Are Social
Breaking down the Pew Research Center’s data by age, we see a simple downward trend in Instagram penetration as we climb through the age groups (Pew’s data begins in the 18-24 bracket – the minimum age to use Instagram is 13).
In the 18-24 age bracket, Instagram comes in third behind YouTube and Facebook on 75% – though it is only a single percentage point behind the latter. Penetration, however drops rather rapidly as we go through the age groups. A mere 8% of 65+ users are Instagram users – though this is more than either Twitter and (unsurprisingly) Snapchat.
Facebook, on the other hand, is used by 46% of pensioners, and YouTube by 38%. And in both cases, these figures represent a significant drop from the 50-64-year-old bracket, showing that their appeal is more universal.
Not labelled on the below graphic, Instagram is used by 57% of 25-29-year olds, 47% of 30-49-year-olds, and 23% of 50-64-year-olds.
Instagram US penetration vs. other popular social media by age
Source: Pew Research Center
A biannual study of US teens, asking them to elect their single favourite social media platform has found in favour of Snapchat since spring 2016. In spring 2019, 41% elected Snapchat, compared to Instagram’s 35%.
There is always an element of volatility with measures such as this, of course. We might note that Instagram has been steadily on the up for the past few years. Indeed, the latest figures bring the two platforms closer together than they have been for some time. If current trends continue, then we are likely to see Instagram reclaim the top spot it last held among US teens in the fall of 2015.
Preferred social media among US teenagers, spring 2015 – spring 2019
Source: Marketing Charts
Other demographic data pertaining to the US Instagram user base paints a familiar picture. Instagram users are more prevalent (proportionally) in higher income brackets – as we might expect from a platform often associated with conveying a glamorous lifestyle.
No doubt related to this, the more educated an American is, the more likely they are to be an Instagram user. And, of course, those living in cities are the keenest users of Instagram. This is perhaps the sharpest divide, with low-income and less-educated Instagram users still relatively prevalent.
As compared to the global situation outlined above, in the US, women are a good deal more likely to be Instagram users than men.
Not mentioned on the below chart, Instagram is most popular with Hispanic Americans, with 51% of this audience using the app, compared to 40% of black Americans, and 33% of white. We might speculate that this can be connected with the rural/urban split, with Hispanic and black users more likely to live in cities.
To give this some context, the 61% of the US population identifies as white, 18% as Hispanic/Latino, and 13% as black. There is no Instagram usage data for Asian Americans or any other minority racial or ethnic groupings.
Instagram US demographics
Data source: Pew Research Center
Instagram Usage Statistics
In the US, Instagram users are frequent and regular in their usage. 63% use the app once a day or more. Only Facebook is accessed more regularly by its users. Instagram is trumped somewhat in the most-regular usage category by Snapchat, whose users are more likely to use it several times a day.
Though this perhaps reflects the more back and forth, quickfire nature of Snapchat more than anything.
Instagram usage frequency, US, 2019
Data source: Pew Research Center
A Facebook-conducted survey (perhaps unsurprisingly) found high levels across age groups. Regular Instagram usage, in this case is counted as multiple uses per day. We see the typical pattern here of declining levels of usage as we climb through the age groups.
Two-thirds of Instagrammers in the youngest bracket (18-24) use the platform multiple times per day. By the time we get to 35-44 we still very close to half of the user base (49%) logging these high levels of usage. Nearly a third of the oldest grouping (they stop at 55+) are multiple daily users.
Percentage of Instagram users using the platform multiple times per day, by age
Back in August 2017, Facebook reported that Instagram users under the age of 25 spent an average of 32 minutes using the platform. This compared to 24 minutes for those aged 25 or older.
These figure are roughly analogous to external estimates. eMarketer predicted in May 2019 that the average US adult Instagram user would spend 27 minutes per day using the platform over the course of the year. This is an increase of one minute over 2018, bucking a wider trend of declining or plateauing time spent using social media platforms.
This includes Snapchat, for which eMarketer predicts average daily time spent will remain at 26 minutes until 2021. This represents a downgrade of previous forecasts that estimated time spent on Snapchat would increase to 28 minutes in 2019.
eMarketer predicts that the average daily time spent on Instagram by US users would continue to increase by one minute each year, until at least 2021. This prediction is unchanged.
Overall social media time in 2019 is estimated to come to 1 hour 14 minutes – virtually unchanged from 2018, when it dipped after several years of unbroken growth.
This chimes with findings from Facebook, published in January 2019. These found that 57% of users claimed they had increased the amount of time they used Instagram, with 44% saying they believed that their usage would increase over the course of 2019.
On the other hand, other estimates make the above seem conservative. Recode, for instance, reported in mid-2018 that US Android users were spending 53.2 minutes on the platform. This was closing in on Facebook, at 58.5 minutes, while Snapchat was slightly behind on 49.5.
Average time spent on Instagram vs. Facebook & Snapchat, July 2017 – June 2018
When do people use Instagram?
According to Sport Social Instagram stats the greatest levels of Instagram engagement occur in the late morning during on Wednesday and Friday (Central Time Zone – the time zone used in Sport Social’s native Chicago).
Wednesday seems to be the day which sees the highest level of engagement, with usage levels still high well into the afternoon (later in the day in Europe). Interestingly, the weekends see relative low levels of engagement compared to the rest of the week. Those seeking high levels of Instagram engagement would do well to post during the working week. And during daylight hours, as it seems engagement tails off in the evening.
The data is taken from 25,000 global Sprout Social customers.
Peak Instagram engagement overall, CST
Source: Sprout Social
Median per post engagement levels, say Sprout Social, stand at 1.6%.
Why do people use Instagram?
According to Facebook Instagram data, 91% of users say they use Instagram to follow at least one of their interests. This varies across markets – the figure is as high as 98% in India.
The top reported interests of Instagram users are travel (45%), music (44%) and food and drink (43%). Which will be clearly evident to anyone who’s spent any time at all on the platform.
Top Instagram user interests
Instagram is a place where people go to look good, and to look at things that look good.
According to stats from Unmetric, of the top Instagram brands (see below for the top 20) accounts, it is top fashion brands which claim the highest average number of Instagram followers, with an average of 35.5 million. These are followed by athleisure brands, which are followed by an average of 21.8 million Instagram users, and cosmetics at 15.4 million.
Auto (15 million) and food (4.4 million) round out this list.
Most-followed topics Instagram
Instagram is a social network – though interestingly, it’s to brands that users chiefly turn when their looking for content relevant to their interests. Admittedly, though, there’s only 1% in it, with two thirds of users viewing content posted by other public users and communities.
How Instagram users engage with their interests
76% of users use Instagram to keep up with current events. 37% of people use it to keep up with sporting events.
Instagram content statistics
According to Instagram’s Year in Review 2018 blog post, the heart emoji was used in comments 14 billion times – that’s a little under twice for every human being on the planet. Hearts also featured in the most-used face filter on Instagram Stories – ‘Heart Eyes’, and the most commonly used Giphy sticker on Stories, ‘Heart Love’.
The classic smiley face, we are also told, was used most frequently in posts pertaining to Disneyland Tokyo.
The fastest growing hashtag goes to the omnipresent #fortnite. #metoo was also used 1.5 million times, making it the top advocacy hashtag of the year. According to mention, the top tags are #love, #instagood, and #fashion.
Despite the various dips reported around lowering engagement for influencer and brand content (see below), Socialbakers actually report that media post interactions stayed pretty consistent between May 2018 and May 2019. The median figure at both points hovered a little below 80
We see a spike around December followed by a decline in January, but this is fairly standard.
Interestingly, median interactions on both Facebook and Instagram are pretty closely matched, according to these Instagram statistics – both in terms of volume and in peaks and troughs.
Engagement volume, Instagram vs. Facebook, May 2018 – May 2019
Using data spanning Q2 2018 – Q2 2019 (inclusive on both ends), Socialbakers finds that images remain the predominant post format on Instagram, accounting for 73.5% of content. Video is next, as 13.7%, with carousels (a common format for Stories) not far behind on 12.7%.
Instagram post formats
Interestingly, the same Instagram dataset shows that carousels enjoy the highest median level of engagement by some way, at over 120. Video, on the other hand, musters little more than 70 – even less than images, on a little over 90.
Those looking to cultivate post engagement might do well to prioritise the carousels (and, by extension, the Stories format).
Instagram post format engagement
IGTV – Instagram’s foray into next-gen video formats – has been deemed to be a bit of flop (so far…). The app offers long-form video content from creators. TechCrunch criticises the quality of the content, which has delivered “imported viral trash from around the web” rather than “must-see original vertical content”.
The merits of the portrait format of the videos has also been called into question. In May 2019, Instagram acknowledged this, and added support for landscape videos.
Launched in June 2018, it was estimated to have been downloaded 4.2 million times as May 2019. Not a bad stat for a small app, but this comes to less than 0.5% of Instagram’s vast user base. In February 2019 it was also reported that partners created an average of five IGTV videos before abandoning the platform in favour of the well-established powerhouse that is YouTube.
Naturally, the rigours of creating long-form video content proved a turnoff for creators and brands
In classic Facebook-style, IGTV was quietly overhauled and pared down, cribbing various elements from competitors – namely the current king of next-gen video, TikTok as well as Snapchat. A few other social features have also been prototyped.
This follows the earlier development of showing IGTV previews in regular Instagram profiles. This was shown to have a huge positive effect on views, elevating them by a huge 300-1000% (though huge percentages like this are a bit of a giveaway to an initial paucity of views).
Trust Insights reports seeing a spike in median IGTV views for branded content between March and August 2019, before declining once again thereafter. Its analysts speculate that Facebook gave preference to IGTV content for a while, before folding it back into the mix. This is a tactic that Facebook has used in the past to promote specific user behaviours.
Following this short boost, views and engagement of with content fell to be lower than any other type of content. Views and engagement of influencer IGTV posts failed to rise even in the boosted period.
While Facebook can manipulate views and engagement, getting brands or influencers on board seemed to be too tall an order, with Trust Insights reporting that neither brands or investors ever invested deeply into the platforms, preferring traditional Instagram media.
Instagram Influencer Statistics
The most-followed account by some way is the official Instagram account, with 313 million followers at the time of writing. This serves up a mixture of inspiring individuals, quirky content, and lavish photography.
The biggest account held by an individual is that of Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, with 185 million. If GOAT status was based on Instagram followers, he would comfortably claim the title from Argentine Lionel Messi, who with 132 million followers, comes in ninth in the Instagram follower stakes. Brazilian Neymar Jr makes up the last of the three footballers featured in the top-10, and the last entrant in the top-10.
Between the footballers, musicians are the most represented demographic, with global megastar Ariana Grande leading the way on 165 million in third place overall, followed by Selena Gomez (157 million), and the original global megastar Beyoncé (133 million).
Former WWE superstar and current Hollywood hardman, bodybuilder, and general positive thinking advocate Dwayne Johnson takes fourth place with 158 million. The last two names in the list, inevitably go to a pair of names whose fame was largely built on Instagram as well their family reality show: Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. At present, Kim (148 million) has the slight edge over the younger Kylie, though perhaps we might see the established order changing in the not too distant future…
Most-followed Instagram accounts, October 2019
Sometimes, we see crossover between the worlds of Instagram royalty and real-world royalty. The UK’s Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Megan Markle) became the record holder for the fastest account to reach 1 million followers. Their @sussexroyal account reached seven figures in a mere 5 hours and 45 minutes after they joined in April 2019. Six months later, however, this was broken by Jennifer Aniston (@jenniferaniston) – who reached the seven-figures mark in 5 hours and 16 minutes. Amazing what a single image of the Friends cast can do…
Both half the previous record, held by Kang Daniel, who reached 1 million followers in 11 hours and 36 minutes in early 2019. Interestingly, this account now lies dormant. Kang launched another account, as he wanted to wrest control of his feed from his agency.
Pope Francis managed the feat in 12 hours in 2016.
The world of Instagram influencers, however, is not just about this top level of mega-celebrities. Socialbakers breaks down the influencer population by follower count and region.
As we can see in this set of Instagram statistics, there is some variance in the influencer landscape to be found across regions. Latin America, for instance, sees a greater proportion of smaller influencers, with close to 90% of the region’s influencers counting fewer than 10,000 followers. Northwards, on the other hand, fewer than 80% of North American Instagram influencers fall into this bracket.
Interestingly, while the 1 million plus bracket is by far the smallest in every region covered, the 100,000-1 million follower bracket seems to be bigger than the 50,000-100,000 bracket in every region (though we might ascribe this to the huge range of possible follower counts here).
North America has the highest proportion of Instagram influencers with 10,000-50,000, 50,000-100,000, 100,000-1 million, and 1 million plus brackets. Asia and Europe are more or less neck and neck.
Instagram influencers by number of followers, by region, Q1 2019
Focusing on Gen Z and Millennial influencers, Socialbakers finds the largest constituency of influencers is females aged 18-24, who account for 3 million influencers (Q1 2019). Female and male influencers aged 25-34 are next, at 2.2 million apiece.
It seems male influencers tend to be older as a whole, with both the 13-17 and the 18-24-year-old influencer brackets feature at least twice as many female as male influencers. It is also interesting to note the sheer volume of teenage influencers, at 1.5 million. While it may be the smallest of the age brackets represented here, this is a not insignificant army of Instagram influencers.
Instagram influencer demographics
Socialbakers also breaks down the demographics of Instagrammers, based on the share of the total follower count (stats as of Q1 2019).
The most-followed demographic is females aged 25-34, who claim nearly 25% of the Instagram influencer follower count. They are followed by female influencers aged 18-24.
We can see that from aged 35 upwards, male influencers claim a greater share of the follower count. Despite Instagram being a platform on which women enjoy greater prominence than many other social media, some old prejudices die hard.
Influencing is clearly a young person’s game overall – the 13-17 age bracket claims a greater share of the follower count than do all influencers above the age of 45.
Instagram influencer demographics share of follower count share
The same trends are evident if we divide up engagement by age and gender. The gap between 18-24 and 25-34-year-old female Instagram influencers is a bit smaller here. Between the two of them, they claim 50% of interactions.
35-44 year-old male Instagram influencers account for a slightly greater share of engagement than 18-24-year-olds.
Instagram influencer demographics share of engagement
Influencer earning statistics
Top Instagram influencers can make huge sums of money through the platform. At the top of the list for earnings from a single post is Kylie Jenner, whose celebrity is inextricably tied in with Instagram, as well as the Kardashian reality show empire. Jenner earns a whopping $1.3 million per Instagram post.
The original mega-Kardashian, Kim, features in this list also, though her earnings of $910,000 per post are dwarfed by her younger sister, despite boasting more followers.
Apart from these Instagram celebs, musicians feature prominently in the list, with Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Justin Bieber all featuring in the top-10.
Uncommonly, Instagram’s top-10 earners per post are mostly women (just), with footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr, wrestler-cum-actor Dwayne Johnson, and Bieber the featured males in the top-10 Instagram earners per post.
HopperHQ report the figures below are based on constructed estimates or from directly speaking to the influencer in question’s agent.
Instagram top earners: Single post, thousands of dollars
Data source: HopperHQ
As a final note in this segment of the influencer section, it would remiss not of us not to mention one final influencer – one who lays claim to by far the most-liked post on Instagram. With 53.8 million likes (October 2019), we give you @world_record_egg’s picture of…an egg.
This January 2019 post was created with the express purpose of earning this accolade, overtaking Kylie Jenner’s first picture of her baby daughter, which has been liked a mere 18.7 million times. In third place is the final post made by XXXTentacion before he was fatally shot in June 2018 – a stylised portrait – with 17.2 million likes.
Instagram Influencer Marketing Statistics
Influencers are those who hold some sort of sway over their followers – the most important to brands being the power to influence purchase decisions.
The number of influencers using the #ad hashtag – increased by 33% between February 2018 and February 2019,
Influencers using the #ad hashtag
Another stat pertaining to the #ad hashtag (Boozzle Insights, reported in Campaign Live) found that the #ad hashtag was used 1.7 million times in H1 2019, which represents a 90% increase on the equivalent period in 2018 (and close to 200% more than H1 2017).
Post count: #ad hashtag, H1 2019 vs 2018 & 2017
In June 2019, Instagram launched a feature which would allow advertisers to turn influencer posts into paid ads, in order to help them reach a wider audience i.e. those who don’t follow or engage with the influencer in question.
Influencers can be some of the most influential actors in Instagram marketing. Some Instagram statistics, however, show that this influence may be on the wane. In Q1 2019, InfluencerDB stats show that the engagement rate for sponsored posts was 2.4% – down from 4% three years prior. The engagement rate for organic posts had somehow fallen even lower – to 1.9% from 4.5% in roughly the same period.
Trust Insights also identified a more short-term dip in engagement levels in a small sample of fashion influencers (in the context of a wider drop in engagement with branded content).
Here, we saw peak engagement of 4.3% in February 2019 drop as low as 2.4% in June 2019 – in line with figures we saw above.
Instagram engagement rates with fashion influencers, H1 2019
Source: Trust Insights
It seems the tail off in engagement rates has not necessarily been a gradual process. InfluencerDB’s Instagram statistics show travel influencers – who traditionally enjoy the highest level of engagement of all categories – were down to 4.5% engagement, down from 8% in 2018.
Instagram moved in January 2019 to deny that any algorithmic changes were limiting post reach.
The huge increase in the volume of sponsored posts suggests the threat of oversaturation is a very real one. Socialbakers reports that that there’s not a great deal of difference between engagement levels for sponsored or organic posts from influencers – with 415 median interactions for posts with #ad hashtags, compared to 442 for those without.
Engagement rates tend to be higher for influencers with smaller numbers of followers. This make sense given that a small, loyal following is likely to be more deeply engaged than the vast fanbase commanded by the Instagram empires of major celebrities. Of course, the flip side is, lower percentages will be higher in absolute terms for those with 10s of 1,000s of followers or more.
Influencer Marketing Hub Instagram engagement stats confirm this – showing that, influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers see engagement rates see engagement rates of 7.2%. This declines as we go higher up in follower counts, with those with over 100,000 only reporting engagement levels of 1.1%. Although to illustrate the point, 1% of 100,000 is 1,000, while 7% of 1,000 is 70…
Let’s not forget, however, that this does not represent the quality of the engagement. Here we are also shown engagement levels on Twitter. The takeaway here is pretty cut and dry – indeed, was anyone even asking this question?
Engagement rates by number of followers vs. Twitter
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
On the other hand, InfluencerDB reports the engagement rates for Instagram influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 followers stood at 8.8%, that for those with 5,000 to 10,000 at 6.3%, while for those with over 10,000 followers, it came to 3.6%.
We mentioned above that influencers with fewer followers tend to have a more engaged fanbase. Well, it turns out that brands are alive to this. Reportedly, the average number of influencers used in a brand campaign is 726, according to InfluencerDB Instagram statistics.
This shows that brands are more deeply committed to something like a ground war in order to achieve results, as opposed to opting for the bombing campaign of opting for a top-drawer influencer. We wouldn’t be surprised if it weren’t a lot more cost effective too…
Socialbakers’ influencer score measures effectiveness based on interactions per 1,000 followers, authenticity, and the strength of their interests (the two last measures show just how many factors are at play when measuring effectiveness).
We get a mix of influencers here earning a perfect score – but what’s really interesting is the diversity of influencer size we see. They range from close to 2 million followers, all the way down to 20,000.
There does not seem to be a simple relationship between follower count and interactions. DariaundDiana, with 19,500 followers, log around 55 interactions per follower. This is by far the highest level (there are two of them though!).
STHE still manages 8.5 interactions per follower, even with nearly 2 million followers – a level higher than that reported by Milena Ciciotti, at 7.8, who has less than 10% of the followers. The former is courtesy of a phenomenal work rate, with close to 17 million interactions reported in this quarter alone.
In conclusion, there’s more at play than either just follower count or even the sheer proportion of interactions.
Top influencers, Q2 2019
A study by Roth Captial Partners found that 78% of Millennials reported that they were indifferent or averse to celebrity endorsements (47% of these are in the latter category, by the way). This leaves us with 22% who say that they would make a purchase based on such an endorsement. It is unclear, however, if this includes smaller influencers. What we might take away from this is a reminder of the importance of tailoring marketing strategies to target audiences.
Another survey from Collective Bias found only 22% of US adults would buy a present from a brand they didn’t know based on an endorsement.
In terms of influencer post formats we are seeing a decline in simple images. While back in 2017 these accounted for 91% of influencer posts, this had fallen to 71% by 2019. By the latter point, videos had come to take up 10% and carousel-type posts 18% of influencer content on Instagram.
Instagram influencer post formats, Feb 2017 – Feb 2019
Instagram influencers: brands and industries
Topping the list of the interests of Instagram influencers, according to Socialbakers, is ‘hobbies & activities’ – a slightly vague category that could well include any number of things. ‘Business and industry’ is in second, followed by ‘arts & music’, which perhaps are a bit clearer.
Interestingly, this list includes such broad categories as ‘online’ and ‘social media’. From this we can infer that Instagram influencers like to use Instagram. This is perhaps not as ridiculous as it sounds – the platform is an end into itself, and not simply a conduit through which users can explore their outside interests.
The vagueness of some of these categories will certainly mean those that are a bit more focused – take ‘shopping & fashion’ – are likely to be higher impact.
Interests of Instagram influencers
Fashion influencers account for the greatest number of Instagram sponsored posts, at 25%. Food (12%) and beauty (7%) are also big categories, while those highly-engaged travel influencers contribute 5%.
In Socialbakers’ analysis, fashion is the industry with which most influencers work. Accordingly, the 5,329 brands here were mentioned an aggregated 1.7 million times by influencers between January 2018 and March 2019.
It is, however, beauty brands who claim the highest number of mentions by a slightly smaller demographic of influencers. Of course, the smaller number of brands means that each brand gets mentioned even more often, while the smaller number of influencers means that each one will mention brands more often – hammering the names home to their followers.
Brand industries worked with and mentioned by Instagram influencers
Socialbakers reports that, the more followers an influencer has, the more likely they are to use the #ad hashtag. This makes sense – for one thing, there are far fewer influencers in the upper echelons. And a mega celeb is certainly more likely to be asked by a brand to represent them then Joe/Jane Average.
According to these Instagram statistics, 26% of influencers with over 1 million followers have used the #ad hashtag.
How many Instagram influencers use #ad, by follower count
As we might expect, broadly speaking, the more followers an influencer has, the more brands they tend to mention on average. They are also likely to mention more different industries. Smaller influencers are more likely to be closely associated with one particular field of expertise.
Climb up and we get to bigger celebrities, who may have made their name doing one thing, but whose influence is now such that even endorsements outside of this area will be impactful.
That said, we see a slight decline at the very top in terms of the numbers of brands endorsed by Instagram influencers with over 1 million followers. We might ascribe to the desire to retain an air of exclusivity – something which endorsing too many brands will erode. We might expect endorsement at this level to come at premium price point also…
Number of brands/industries vs. influencer follower count
Marketers and Instagram Influencers
Instagram influencers are not, of course, striking out on their own. The business of influencing is something done in coordination with marketers.
Mediakix Instagram statistics find that 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective. Nearly half of this 80% believe that influencer marketing is very effective.
How effective do marketers find influencer marketing?
Influencer Marketing Hub report an even higher figure of 92% of marketers who believe in the effectiveness of influencer marketing.
89% of respondents to the Mediakix survey say that influencer marketing ROI is equivalent or better than other marketing channels, with a touch over half believing it was better or much better – though the latter constitute a relatively small proportion of respondents.
Measuring and improving ROI was reported as the top challenge related to influencer marketing reported to Mediakix (chosen by 78% of respondents).
Influencer Marketing Hub reports that, on average, marketers stand to make $5.20 from every $1 invested in influencer marketing.
How does the ROI from influencer marketing compare to other channels?
The above-stated confidence in the medium is further evidenced by the just shy of two-thirds of marketers who stated that they were going to up their influencer marketing budget over the course of 2019 (a further third planned to keep spending level); 17% of marketers will be spending over 50% of their budgets on influencer marketing. Perhaps that may sound extreme, but then, Instagram is among the top channels to reach certain demographics. At the extreme end of the scale 6% will be spending 91-100%.
69% of marketers will be dedicating the greatest share of their influencer marketing budget to Instagram.
On what networks marketers do spend their influencer marketing budgets?
Another study by Traackr found that 57% of companies said influencer marketing accounted for less than 10% of their marketing budget. A further 29% of companies spent 10-20%, while 9% spent 30-40%.
The firms surveyed by Mediakix disclosed a wide variety of different influencer marketing budgets, as you can see below. The largest proportion (19%) stated they were going to spend $1,001-$10,000 – but nearly as many (18%) fell into the $500,000-$1 million bracket.
7% stated they were going to spend a seven-figure sum on influencer marketing.
Planned influencer marketing spend 2019
Elsewhere Mediakix predicts that global spend on Influencer marketing will be between $5 billion and $10 billion by 2020.
Global influencer marketing spend, 2015 – 2020
Influencer Marketing Hub influencer marketing stats do not differ a great deal from this estimate, with 2019 levels pegged at $6.5 billion.
Global influencer marketing spend, 2016 – 2019
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
Business Insider Intelligence estimate that marketers will spend $15 million on influencer marketing by 2022 (their 2019 estimate is $8 billion, so this is a serious increase).
Instascreener reports that Q2 2019 was the largest quarter ever for influencer marketing, with brands spending $314 million on Instagram in North America. A total of $442 million was spent on influencer marketing –increasing $69 million, or 18%, on the previous quarter, and 83% year-on-year.
Instagram influencer marketing spend, Q1 2018 – Q2 2019
Fashion Nova was the brand which made the biggest contribution to this $442 million, spending $5.51 million on Influencer marketing in the quarter in question. This puts it some way ahead of second-placed Ciroc (vodka), which itself spent half a million dollars than third place Flat Tummy Co.
Instascreener notes that mant of these top-spending brands were independent or direct-to-consumer brands, whose marketing strategy hinges no small part on influencer marketer.
Top brand spend influencer marketing, US & Canada, Q2 2019
Data source: Instascreener
Of the money spent on Instagram influencer marketing in the US & Canada in Q2 2019, no less than $58 million went on fake followers according to Instascreener’s detection methods. Unsurprisingly, this is a major concern for marketers using influencer marketing.
Below, are the brands which suffered from the greatest proportion of fake followers in their influencer marketing. We can see that it is mainly smaller brands that seem to suffer, though the presence of Elizabeth Arden and Pond’s – both of which were found to be marketing to an Instagram audience that was more fake than real – shows that big brands are not impervious.
In more positive news, however, no brands which appeared in the Q1 equivalent of this list, reappeared in this quarter. This shows that brands are alive to challenge posed by unscrupulous actors.
Influencer Marketing Hub found that nearly two-thirds of marketers have experienced influencer fraud.
Brands which suffered most from fake followers, US & Canada, Q2 2019
At the opposite end of the scale, below are the 10 brands with the highest level of authentic engagement through influencer marketing.
Automobile brands are popular on Instagram. Here we see that in the US & Canada in Q2 2019, that Audi has got the best results from influencer marketing, with an engagement rate of 12.7%.
The presence of other luxury brands: Hugo Boss, Rosewood Hotels, and Veuve Cliquot point to the aspirational nature of Instagram influencer marketing. Beauty brands and underwear brands seem to fare well here also – draw your own conclusions from that…
Brands like Sephora and Lulus represent those with marketing strategies which heavily lean on influencer marketing.
Highest engagement rate from influencer marketing, US & Canada, Q2 2019
71% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is better than other forms of marketing in terms of the quality of the customers/traffic generated; 18% strongly believe this.
Marketers who believe influencer marketing generates higher-quality leads
The above stats pertain to influencer marketing as a whole, but 89% of marketers say that Instagram is important to their marketing strategy – in line with the budget allocation we saw above.
This is nearly twice as many who chose third-place Facebook. YouTube, chosen by 70% of marketers, is the only other channel to be elected by over 50%.
Key channels for influencer marketing (Mediakix)
A similar study from Influencer Marketing Hub once again puts Instagram well out in front (79%). No other platform gets more than 46% (Facebook). Here, YouTube scores a mere 36%.
Key channels for influencer marketing (Influencer Marketing Hub)
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
In a reverse question, only 4% chose Instagram as an unimportant channel for influencer marketing. Interestingly, Snapchat tops this list (62%), followed by LinkedIn (55%).
78% say Instagram posts are an effective content format for influencer marketing, with 73% electing Instagram Stories. The next most chosen format was YouTube Videos, some way behind on 56%. And this is only 2% more than chose Instagram videos.
It’s not simply as easy as saying you’re pursuing influencer marketing as a strategy, however – it’s about finding the right influencers and then tracking the results.
61% of marketers say it’s a challenge to find the right influencers for campaigns (17% strongly believe this). 67% identify this as one of their top-three challenges in another questions.
71% say they simply trawl through social media to find the right influencers with whom to work (40% just use Google). 43% use an influencer platform, while 42% say they influencers come to them.
How do marketers find influencers with whom to work?
There seems to be rich mix of reasons involved in choosing an influencer with whom to work. Notably follower count is chosen by fewer than half of the marketers surveyed here.
The most important criterion is the quality of content, with 81% of marketers choosing this option. Next is target audience – which makes sense as why work with influencers if you’re not trying to reach out to a specific audience. While follower count comes a bit lower, engagement rate is chosen by 73% of marketers.
What are the criteria for choosing influencers with whom to work?
Influencer Marketing Hub find the most popular criterion by which influencers are chosen is engagement or clicks (43%), followed by views/reach impressions (33%), followed by content type/category.
How do marketers choose with whom to work?
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
Influencer Marketing Hub also report that finding the right influencers is major concern – 36% of marketers report it as their biggest challenge, followed by 24% who say managing the campaign is their biggest issue.
Biggest challenges involved in managing influencer campaigns
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
The number one fear held by marketers around influencer marketing is fake followers (50%),
The danger of trading on a platform where visibility and success hinges on an algorithm based on good faith is that unscrupulous elements can game the system. Facebook has, however, taken action against those who try and manipulate the influencer marketing paradigm to their advantage. In April 2019, it was reported that it was taking legal action against three individuals and a New Zealand-based firm who profited from selling fake likes, followers and views.
They are not being unduly paranoid in this instance. Of the estimated $314 million spent in North American on Instagram influencer marketing in Q2 2019, $58 million went towards reaching fake followers, says Instascreener. See above for a selection of brands who have suffered from this recently.
Algorithm changes rendering strategies ineffective follows as the next biggest fear (49%). This can be loosely linked to fears that influencer marketing strategies focus on the short term at the expense of a longer-term strategy, and generally building up a strategy, which are also prominent on this list.
Rising influencer costs are also a concern, felt by 38% of respondents.
What are the main challenges involved in influencer marketing?
The most commonly-specified motivation to practice influencer marketing, chosen by 85% of respondents, was raising brand awareness, followed by reaching new audiences, chosen by 71%, and generating sales or conversions (64%).
What are the main goals of influencer marketing?
Instagram Advertising Statistics
A multi-country Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of Facebook in November found that 66% of people said they deliberately used Instagram to interact with brands. It’s not just about shopping either – it can be about building an authentic relationship. 53% said they would follow a brand on Instagram for the content alone, if it was relevant to their interests.
Facebook Instagram statistics show the types of advertising content that users would like to see from brands. The top quality identified is to be fun or entertaining, followed closely by real or authentic and creative.
Other popular choices that didn’t quite make into the very top desired qualities for Instagram brand content include content showcasing brand personality (32%), community building content, and endorsements from celebrities (27%) and influencers (26%).
Brand content: Instagrammers’ preferences
Just being on Instagram, it seems, can be a boon for brands. Facebook Instagram data showed that users perceived brands that used the platform as being popular, creative, and entertaining. In each case, over three quarters of the surveyed Instagram userbase stated they believed this.
Slightly fewer users felt brands to be relevant and committed to building community. Naturally, these Instagram statistics come from Facebook itself, in a bid to convince brands to take up with the platform.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to say that for a brand to be active on Instagram will say to users that it is engaged with its prospective customers and has some sort of personality.
How brands on Instagram are perceived
As of September 2019, the most-followed brand on Instagram by some way was Nike, with a huge 90 million followers. Second-place Victoria’s Secret counts 68 million lingerie enthusiasts, who outnumber followers of third-place Huda Beauty – the makeup line of makeup artist and beauty blogger Huda Katten – by nearly two-to-one.
It’s a bit tighter after this point, from third-place down to 20th. The most cursory of glances will show you that fashion and beauty brands are utterly dominant in the upper echelons of Instagram following. This is perhaps to be expected from a platform which hinges of the visual.
The hegemony of aspirational fashion brands (albeit one topped by a more accessible athleisure brand) is broken by aspiration automobile manufacturers. BMW has the edge on Mercedes Benz and Lamborghini in this mini league, with 23.4 million followers to 23 million apiece. The dominance of the more practical German brands over the flamboyant decadence of the Italian supercar marque suggests the mindset of Instagram users is more geared to something they could more realistically own.
Starbucks, in 20th position, is the only brand that doesn’t fit into either of the two aforementioned categories.
These figures are accurate as of October 2019 – they may well have changed. Indeed, this list is not even the same as it was in early September 2019, reflecting just how quickly the pecking order can change.
Most-followed brands on Instagram, October 2019, millions
Data source: Unmetric
It’s not just about follows, of course. Brand success on Instagram hinges in no small part on the influence of influencers. In this case, the most successful brand in terms of sheer volume between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019 was Daniel Wellington. The Swedish watch maker was mentioned about 20,000 times by 7,200 influencers using the hashtag #ad, according to Socialbakers. It’s worth noting that one of the influencers in question was no one other than Kylie Jenner.
According to these Instagram statistics, this puts it well out in front. The brand, Socialbakers notes, pursues a strategy that heavily relies on influencer marketing. A post from Jenner logged 4.6 million interactions. (A post for Kylie Cosmetics, Jenner’s own brand, recorded 5.2 million, and Waist Gang Society 5 million).
The next most popular brand, fashion brand iDeal of Sweden (Swedish brands are obviously keen on influencer marketing on Instagram) is mentioned only 10% as often, by around one seventh of the number of influencers.
We see a real mix of brand sizes in this top-10 – ranging from Nike, which is the most-followed brand on Instagram, to relatively tiny Campaign – a home and living brand with 12,500 followers (at the time these stats were compiled).
We should note that this list focuses on the #ad hashtag – any posts that do not include this hashtag for whatever reason are not included. These will be a mixture of organic posts and those where influencers have not appended the appropriate hashtag.
Most-mentioned brands by Instagram influencers, Q1 2018 – Q2 2019
Over Q2 2019, Daniel Wellington has slipped into second-place, behind the far less Instaglamorous stylings of Walmart. The presence of grocery chain Kroger in the top five confirms that you don’t have to be a young, hip brand with name built through influencer marketing to embrace Instagram to this end.
Fablethics, founded by Kate Hudson, on the other hand, is exactly what you might expect. Is there a more Instagram word than ‘athleisure’?.
Most-mentioned brands by Instagram influencers, Q2 2019
Instagram data from Talkwalkers shows that Nike and Puma were among the most-successful brands on Instagram in 2018 through their leveraging of influencer marketing. Cristiano Ronaldo and Selena Gomez respectively were identified as being particularly effective Instagram influencers for the two brands. A post mentioning Nike from Cristiano Ronaldo garnered 6.6 million interactions .
In Q2 2019, Heineken Italian was the brand found to have got the most value from influencer marketing, as compared to in-house. These posts gained 445,663-times more interactions than anything posted by the brand itself. Influencer posts account for 20% of the brand posts.
This puts it far out ahead of any other brands listed in this top-six. These are a curious mix, with fintech, sportswear, food & drink, homeware, and telecoms. The only clear pattern is the presence of another Italian brand – 3_Italia. If nothing else we can take from this that influencer marketing can be more successful in certain markets.
Nature’s Recipes is the only brand that leans into influencer marketing more than Heineken Italia, with 37.5% influencer posts. Sprint Latino is the only other brand to break the 10% (or even the 5% mark)
Top brands: Instagram influencer marketing effectiveness, Q2 2019
If we take a look at the types of branded profiles that are being engaged with by users, we see that fashion leads the way by some distance (27.8%) , followed by beauty (15%). The two account for over 40% of engagement with branded profiles on Instagram. This represent s a little bit of a shift – back in H2 2017, these two sectors accounted for over 50% of interactions.
The next biggest sectors are ecommerce (13.9%), auto (10.5%), and retail (8.6%), in that order. Electronics, sporting goods and services claim smaller percentages. The dominance of these eight mentioned sectors is clear when we consider that those fitting into ‘other’ account for a mere 10%.
For a little bit of context, Socialbakers give us a comparison with Facebook. Here, we see a less top-heavy spread of sectors. Ecommerce leads the way of 17.4%, followed by retail on 12%, and fashion on 8.2%. Beauty logs only 4.8%, though still features in the top-eight. The only inclusion that differs from Instagram (notwithstanding the different order) is FMCG food in the Facebook list, in place of sporting goods on Instagram.
Facebook’s other category accounts for 31.1%, a demonstration of the wider diversity of brand interaction on the platform. The top industries, however, have come to account for a greater share of interactions. These accounted for nearly 50% of interactions in H2 2017.
These engagement stats give us an indication of the differing interests of the Facebook and Instagram demographics.
Brand engagement on Instagram, by sector, April 2018 – June 2019
Marketing on Instagram is not always a bed of roses though. Trust Insights found that Instagram engagement with branded content took a dive in May and June 2019. According to this study of 1.4 million Instagram posts posted by 3,600 brands over the first half of 2019, average post engagement fell to 0.9%. This represents a serious decline (18%) from January’s 1.1%. The serious decline in engagement with brand posts began in May according to Trust Insight’s Instagram statistics. Indeed, we even saw a spike in April which saw average engagement levels increase to 1.54%.
Average branded content Instagram post engagement, H1 2019
Source: Trust Insights
Once again, it’s worth noting that Instagram deny any deliberate limiting of post reach to small proportion of followers.
According to Iconosquare, average brand engagement levels on Instagram come in at a more postive 4.7%, with average reach rate standing at 34.37%. Most brands post 0.72 media per day. These stats vary according to industry. Pubic figures (taken as a type of brand) see engagement of 5.77%, while media brands are on 5.55%. The lowest engagement is seen in shopping & retail (29.54%) and food & beverage (4.13%).
Travel posts see the best post reach rate of the selected industries, at 39.94%, followed by media brands at 37.47%. The worst is seen in shopping & retail (29.54%) and consumer brands (32%).
Ads posted in the Instagram feed enjoy a click through rate of a little more than 0.25%, while ads placed in Instagram Stories log more like 0.2%. These compare relatively poorly to Facebook ads, which can command CTRs of around 1.6% for ads placed in users’ Facebook feeds.
Instagram CTR vs. Facebook
Shifting the focus to CPC and CPM, we can see that the picture is a bit more complicated. Ads placed in both in the Instagram feed and in Instagram Stories see a higher CPC level than anything posted on Facebook – at around $0.60 and a little over $0.50 respectively.
CPC for ads placed on Facebook, however, never seem to go any higher than $0.25 – and can even go south of $0.10 for suggested videos.
In terms of CPM, however, Instagram is competitive compared to Facebook, with feed ads coming in cheaper than their equivalent and Stories CPM lower than anything aside from the aforementioned suggested video ads.
Instagram CPC and CPM vs. Facebook
While elsewhere we’ve looked at how Instagram ad spend is increasing as a share of total Facebook ad spend, the bigger platform still seems to be where advertisers are directing their money for the time being. Over 60% of Facebook ad spend goes to Facebook feed ads.
On the other hand, with 20% of ad spend going on Instagram feed ads, and nearly 10% on Instagram Stories, advertisers are directing a healthy proportion of budget towards Instagram. Conversely, Facebook video ads account for a relatively insignificant proportion of spend.
Proportion of ad spend going on Instagram/Facebook, Q2 2019
Instagram is a channel through which advertisers can reach an audience that cannot be reached through traditional channels. 41% of Instagram users reported that they don’t watch television on a regular basis. 64% say they are happy to see brands that advertise on television communicate with them through Instagram – though only 16% say they’d like to see the same sort of ads that the brands use on television.
According to Facebook Instagram statistics, the largest percentage of users are looking for ads from these brands that last no longer than 15 seconds, with around a third more interested in 15-30 second ads.
In terms of content, users are looking for ads that are relevant and suitable for the platform as a whole – or specifically for Stories.
Instagrammer ad preferences: TV advertisers
Perhaps part of the reason that these users have turned to the likes of Instagram in place of traditional media is the interactivity afforded by the platform – as we mentioned above, 66% of Instagram users use the platform to interact with brands.
A Facebook study published in March 2018 found that 50% of brands using Instagram created at least one story per month. The same survey found that over a third of Instagram daily active users became more interested in a product after seeing it on Instagram stories.
Socialbakers reports that usage of Stories by brands increased by 21% over between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019.
Shopping on Instagram
Engaging with the Instagram can be an inviting prospect for brands looking to reach an affluent and image-conscious demographic. And the Instagram audience is ready to act – 54% of respondents to the same survey said they bought something after seeing it on Instagram. 87% said they took some kind of action after seeing product details on Instagram.
The most commonly taken action was to search for more information, elected by 79% of survey respondents. Two thirds of users, on the other hand, took the more direct path of visiting the brand’s app or website – at which point things are very much in the brand’s hands. 37% also said that they visited a retail store.
Perhaps the most alluring of these Instagram stats to brand will be the 46% of users who report making a purchase online or in-store.
Action taken after seeing product details
In March 2019, it was revealed that Instagram was testing a new ‘checkout’ feature. That is a clickable icon that will allow users to directly purchase items in Instagram posts without leaving the site. If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s not dissimilar to functionality offered by Pinterest.
Brands involved at the beta testing stage included Adidas, Dior, and Zara. An agreement has been struck with PayPal, allowing users to make purchases through the payments platform. eCommerce platform BigCommerce was also on board, facilitating Instagram transactions for businesses.
As well as making the order on Instagram, users can track the order (receiving notification within the app), and make returns or cancel purchases.
This builds on a previous feature, introduced in September 2018 which allowed brands to add stickers to Instagram Stories that would let users shop products featured in posts (much like Stories as a whole, Snapchat did it first…). This in itself built up on product tags that brands can add to organic posts, rolled out to number of North American and European markets in March 2018.
An Explore shopping channel was also announced in September 2018. This is customised based on users’ specified interests, serving up brands in which might appeal to them.
Instagram reported that over 90 million Instagram accounts clicked a post to reveal product tags every month, as of September 2018. In March 2018, Instagram reported that 200 million accounts visited one or more business profile every day.
Deutsche Bank predicts that Instagram checkout could be worth as much as $10 billion to Instagram. It cautions, however, that brands will be frustrated by the ‘walled garden’ of user data. This pertains to the limited access to user data given by Facebook to advertisers.
It has also been posited that Instagram shopping could be an important source of revenue for Facebook, as concerns around user privacy lead it away from its current targeted advertising model.
@shop was introduced in May 2019. This is an official Instagram account which showcases brands popular on Instagram. Posts, of course, are all shoppable.
Facebook Business stats published in February 2019 show that high percentages of users will use Instagram as part of the shopping process. 83% will use it to generally discover new products, 81% to research products or services, while 80% will use it to decide whether to buy a product or service.
How does Instagram help users shop?
Narrowing the focus to brand content specifically, the figures are bit lower. 42% said it helps to discover products, 44% to find out new information about a product or service, and 41% say brand content help them research the product or service.
Sprout Social stats looking at peak times for Instagram engagement (see above for overall engagement) also break down post engagement by different sector. As with overall engagement, we can see the peak times for engagement with posts pertaining to consumer goods occurs during the week.
Wednesday and Friday once again are the days which see the highest concentration of engagement. The peak for consumer goods seems to occur around between late morning to the afternoon (though remember this is CST – it is later in New York, and later still in Europe).
Late evenings and weekends are little quieter – as is the case for overall engagement.
Peak Instagram engagement overall, consumer goods
Source: Sprout Social
It seems that techies, on the other hand, are engaged a little earlier in the day. Here the highest peak of engagement comes between 6 and 7 on Wednesday. Friday, once again, is the only day which shows similar levels of engagement to the midweek peak.
The pattern for tech Instagram engagement however does differ from that of overall engagement a little, in that the engagement levels we see on Saturday do not seem much lower than many weekdays.
Peak Instagram engagement overall, tech
Source: Sprout Social
Instagram Revenue Statistics
Instagram was monetised as an advertising platform in 2013.
The platform was bought by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. This makes it harder to accurately gauge Instagram’s precise revenue statistics, so we have to rely on estimates.
We do know that Facebook brought in $16.9 billion in revenue in Q2 2019, $16.6 billion of which is advertising revenue (98%). 94% of Facebook revenue was mobile advertising revenue over this quarter – up from 91% in Q1. Revenue for this quarter exceeded the predicted $16.5 billion.
As we can see from previous quarters, advertising revenue accounts for effectively the entirety of Facebook revenue. Revenue follows a pattern of rising throughout the quarters, culminating in a lucrative Q4.
Facebook quarterly revenue Q2 2017 – Q2 2019
Facebook’s annual revenue has risen from $7.9 billion in 2013 the year after it started collecting Instagram revenue, to $55.8 billion in 2018 – a sevenfold increase all told.
Net income over 2018 was worth $22 billion.
The US & Canada account for nearly 50% of worldwide Facebook advertising revenue, as we might expect. Europe comes in second with around a quarter, with the remaining quarter split around 2:1 in favour of Asia Pacific.
Facebook advertising revenue by region, Q2 2019
There is a huge disparity in Facebook ARPU between regions. Each user in the US & Canada is worth $33.37, which is over three times that of a European user, at $10.70. This, in turn, is over three times that of an Asia-Pacific user, each of whom are worth $3.04 to Facebook. ARPU for the rest of the world comes to $2.13.
Worldwide Facebook ARPU comes to $7.05.
Facebook ARPU by region, Q2 2019
Instagram ad revenue statistics
As of September 2017, official stats showed 2 million advertisers used Instagram on a monthly basis. This represented a doubling of the 1 million Instagram monthly advertisers reported in March 2017.
In recent years, Facebook has issued warnings that growth in ad revenue would slow for the main business. When this occurs, it is thought that Instagram will step into the breach and drive further ad revenue growth.
It was estimated that Instagram was generating $2 billion in Q2 2018 2018. By Q3 2020, a KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst forecasts close to $7 billion in Instagram ad revenue per quarter.
This compares to $11 billion in Facebook ad revenue in the mid-2018 point, and nearly $16 billion by the end of the period in question.
Instagram is pegged to rise steadily through this period, as opposed to Facebook’s three quarters up, one quarter down pattern.
To give further shape to what’s going on here, in Q1 2017, Instagram ad revenue stood $0.7 billion, while other Facebook ad revenue was a little over $7 billion at this point.
Estimated Instagram ad revenue vs. other Facebook ad revenue, Q1 2017 – Q4 2020
As is clear from the above Instagram ad revenue statistics, Instagram ad revenue is set to account for a greater and greater share of Facebook ad revenue. At the beginning of the period in question, it stands at 9%, by the end of 2020, we’re looking at 30%. Again, this is a pretty steady upward curve.
This is even more pronounced if we narrow the focus to new ad business, which increases in this estimation from 18% of total Facebook ad revenue, to 68% by the close of 2020. Here, it is estimated that rapid growth across 2018 will be tempered by a little bit of slowdown in Q3 2019.
Instagram ad revenue will bounce back after this point, though growth as a proportion of Facebook ad revenue will be more steady after this point.
Estimated Instagram ad revenue share of Facebook total/new ad revenue
One of the estimates to which we referred above comes from Bloomberg – which valued Instagram at no less than $100 billion in mid-2018. a pretty tidy investment by any account. $100 billion is a figure that invites GDP comparisons, and who are we to resist: this would put Instagram somewhere in between the Slovak Republic and Ecuador – just about in the global top third.
Facebook’s market cap at the time of writing stood at $514 billion. This is well up on the $376 billion reported in January after a difficult winter. A peak of $628 billion was achieved in July 2018 – after which things took a turn for the worse, in large part due privacy fears in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
As of October 2019, Facebook stock was priced at $180.30 a share. This is something of a middling price for Facebook, though is well of up on January 2019’s $124.95
At its July 2018 peak, Facebook stock price stood at $209.94. The recovery, however, has been strong. In July 2019, Facebook shares were priced as high as $204.87.
Facebook stock price
Source: Yahoo Finance
It seems so simple: an app which allows you to share pictures, with a little helping hand from filters to make them look just right.
Who could’ve known that the format would take hold so decisively, becoming a central part of our modern online lives? That it could be a platform which would give us a new genus of celebrity? That it could become one of the most influential marketing platforms in the world, creating a whole new subset of the industry? That it would be embraced by US presidents and UK royals? And that it would – for certain demographics – supplant Facebook as the key social network?
Well, Facebook knew, and in typical Facebook fashion dealt with the threat by buying up then two-year old platform. More than dealing with the threat, however, that $1 billion purchase in 2012 looks like one of the savviest pieces of business of the modern age.
Together, Instagram and Facebook have come to dominate a healthy (we might say unhealthy…) proportion of the digital landscape. The former has clearly taken its place as a tactical division of Facebook’s gargantuan advertising business – reaching out to demographics which Facebook’s other business areas cannot reach.
A new paradigm and lexicon of marketing has arisen around influencers – not to mention a host of companies focused on this often hard to usefully measure discipline.
Then there is the dark side of ‘influencers’ – the unrealistic aspirations created by the (sometimes only seemingly) glamorous lifestyles and gym-toned bodies of influencers. This has been linked to a rise of mental health issues in young people. And that’s not mention the rampant commercialism of what many view as a platform on which they might interact with their friends. A move to hide likes on Instagram posts may well be read as a positive move, though naturally we might ask why no one thought of this before?
There are also overarching concerns around privacy and fake news on Facebook. Facebook has made some positive noises at the very least around the former. Features which prioritise communications with close friends on Instagram are an indication of this. In October 2019, Instagram introduced Threads by Instagram, a standalone app which puts a focus on communicating with users’ close circles of friends.
While we associate fake news more with Facebook, Instagram has been identified as a potential platform through which disinformation can be spread. A tool has been added to the platform, though with fake news might be flagged. It would be not be totally unfair, however, for users to be sceptical, given Facebook’s poor track record on these issues…
On Wall Street, perhaps there is less reason to be sceptical. Facebook’s fortunes have been wobbly in the past few years. Consequently, Instagram is – by all accounts – set to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in years to come. It’s worth reiterating that as a platform, it almost seems tailormade for advertising to young people. And the young people of today are set to be the affluent of the future. This is something like futureproofing Facebook’s ad platform.
When we look back, the contemporary (and perhaps the future) marketing and advertising industry, Instagram will serve a metonymy of the current paradigm. Whether we look back at this problematic or not is another question – it remains to be seen if Facebook can get its house in order in years to come. Instagram will be central to this.