Why Influencer Engagement Rates are at All Time Lows and What Businesses Should Take Away

With engagement rates at all-time lows, it seems like influencers might not be as influential as they once were. One study from Mobile Marketer indicated that engagement rates have hit historic lows for not only sponsored, but also influencers’ organic posts.

The study showed that engagement rates for sponsored posts in Q1 2016 were at 4%, dropping to 2.4% now in 2019. Even more alarming, the engagement rate for organic posts declined from 4.5% to 1.9% in the same period of time. And, engagement is reportedly down across all categories, including travel, fitness, fashion, food, and lifestyle.

Although engagements are low across the platform, the study indicated that sponsored posts are seeing more engagements than organic posts. This could have come as a result of the substantial increase of sponsored posts appearing on Instagram feeds, which might actually be cutting other influencers thin and giving influencers less visibility to followers. 

With feeds that are oversaturated with content, influencers are finding it harder to distinguish their normal posts apart from sponsored or paid-for posts. If these trends continue, it could do major damage to influencers, who sometimes make up to $100,000 per post along with brands that invest as much of 72 percent of profits into furthering their work with influencers.

Nonetheless, another interesting facet of the study indicated that influencers with less followers, also known as “nano-influencers”, are actually bringing in better rates. Despite nano-influencers’ smaller reach, these types of accounts usually bring more dedicated followers, which could explain some of their success. 

Nevertheless, through this research Mobile Marketer presents opportunities for businesses. This study could indicate that it might be time for marketers to pivot their strategies toward adopting more micro-influencers, rather than fewer big-name influencers. Furthermore, if it seems like the sheer number of sponsored posts across Instagram might be responsible undercutting overall engagements, businesses should all take notes for future endeavors.

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