As 65% of brands are planning to boost their spending in influencer marketing over the next 12 months, a new study has found that roughly one in eight Instagram influencers in the UK have previously bought fake followers within the last six months.
Based on an analysis of 700,000 influencer posts on Instagram, CampaignDeus uncovered that 12% of UK influencers were likely to have bought fake followers. The company based its verdict on unusual follower count leaps, low engagement rates and bot followers.
In addition, the research uncovered that smaller brands are commanding a higher ROI potential among influencers than larger brands. The report found just four established brands to appear in the top 10 rank for highest engagement rate for brand-sponsored influencers.
Interestingly, influencers which had fewer followers (less than 100,000) achieved 60% higher engagement rates than more established and larger players. That’s potentially good news for less well-established influencers and brands alike.
The sectors with the highest number of influencer marketing posts were fashion (34%) and beauty (21%). The food and drink sector came in third with 16% of all Instagram branded posts.
However, fitness is mentioned as the most rapidly growing marketing sector at an 8% increase month-on-month in terms of branded influencer posts.
Muhsen Syed, CEO of the report authors CampaignDeus, said: “Our Influencer Index also reveals the drop-off between branded and organic influencer posts increases as account sizes grow. The 17 per cent drop off for micro-influencers rises to 44 per cent if you’re working with a very large influencer with 1m+ followers. So marketers need to be aware that those larger influencers are likely to deliver almost 50 per cent less engagement than you might expect by looking at their past organic content.”
On the whole, brand-sponsored content on an influencer’s page still attracted less engagement than organic content. However, there are a few post types that appear to increase engagement rates more than others. These include competitions and giveaways, brand ambassador posts and product promotions.
Overall, the study highlights that small brands and smaller influencers tend to perform well as they capture audience-specific interests.