What does the future hold for Instagram influencers?

With over an eighth of the world’s population using Instagram (and counting), users with considerable follower counts have long been considered worthy brand ambassadors for influencer marketing. But with growing distrust and lack of transparency, what does the future hold for influencer marketing?

With 1 billion people using Instagram every month, this social channel is a viable one for brands looking to reach those, particularly those under the age of 35.  According to research, global spending on influencer campaigns could reach $10 billion by 2020, up from an estimated $6.3 billion in 2018, so influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But, with increased payment comes increased scrutiny over that spend.


  • Controlling brands limiting creative freedom
  • Late payments
  • Spoon-fed content from brands to influencers
  • Lack of authenticity in posts
  • Emphasis from brands on vanity metrics eg. Followers
  • Bad practice ruining influencer perception
  • Opportunism: influencers using hashtags related to California wildfires to promote unrelated brand partnerships


So long accounts who rely on huge followings. Recent reports are highlighting how even the world’s biggest stars are followed by thousands, and even millions, of bots. According to Harpers Bazaar, stars like Kourtney Kardashian have up to 46 per cent of bot followers. That’s a massive 37.3 million accounts!

With as many as one in ten Instagram accounts being fake, this is a huge problem for marketers. Not only does this mean that if you’re using an influencer with a large percentage of fake followers that you’re paying to reach them, but it also affects the demographics of said follower, meaning you could be reaching a very different audience than intended.


From this news of fake, bot accounts, the micro influencer has risen as the new favourite for marketeers. With much lower follower numbers – anything from 1,000 to 10,000 – they have a much more niche and engaged audience.

Coschedule reports that, people with 1,000 followers or fewer have an engagement rate of 9.7%. And the engagement rate of people with 1,000-4,000 followers is about 4.5%. And as the following size increases to 100,000 and over, the engagement rate drops to 1.7%.graffiti marketing millennials

Higher engagement rate means increased interest in an influencer from their audience for a much better price. By using 5 micro-influencers, you could reach more engaged people for a smaller cost than using one macro-influencer.


We can’t stress this enough. Authenticity with influencers is key to success on your campaign. Forget your targets and the brand message you want included in the caption. Social audiences are perceptive, 87% crave authenticity and genuine recommendations.

Understand who is, or could become, a real fan of your products or business and use this to your advantage. A long-term partnership with a genuine fan of your products is much more likely to work than a one-off post with an influencer who has never used a product, or anything similar to your product.

Looking for inspiration? We picked out 5 influencer campaigns to help give you ideas for your step into influencer marketing.


If you’re wanting to grow your social following, then most types of influencer campaign probably won’t work. Brands have started running Instagram Loop giveaways but these don’t work. Read Later’s blog on this for why it doesn’t work.

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Busy day.

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If you’re wanting to grow brand awareness, then an influencer campaign could be perfect.

When running an influencer campaign, make sure you define your goals first and target your campaign and chosen influencer, based on this. We’ve picked out the main goals for influencer marketing campaigns and how you could carry these out.


Where is the line drawn between a genuine recommendation and a paid-for post? In the research for BBC Radio 4, 82% of people said it was not always clear when an influencer had been paid to promote a product.  This begs the question as to whether influencers aren’t declaring paid-for posts and the answer is simply, yes. Has it become too difficult to regulate? The blurred line between what has been a paid for advertorial and what hasn’t is becoming increasingly confused, with influencers such as Binky Felstead of Made in Chelsea, only selecting to post #ad on certain posts and not others that also clearly include brands – and many of her co-stars and other influencers getting in trouble with the ASA for not declaring paid-for posts.

Now though, we’re not only battling influencers not declaring ads, but we’re also seeing influencers using #ad when there actually was no contract between them and the brand. The growing desire to be monopolised and the difficulty in proving your worth on social has forced influencers to fake brand deals with companies that simply, make them look good to prospective new brand partners.

It is clear that Instagram and its marketing capabilities are not going anywhere. So if you want to try influencer marketing but you’re not where to start, we can’t blame you. But we can certainly help. Read our guide on getting started with your first influencer campaign.

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