Sussing out Growth – How to Interpret Follower Growth Rates

As our current series of blog posts focuses on follower growth, we want to give you insights into analyzing and evaluating different follower growth rates. With the help of our experience with influencers and the analyses in our software, we provide benchmarks to give you a better understanding of a follower growth rate.

In our previous blog post, we emphasized why a steady follower growth is more important than the follower number itself. Now, we will analyze different follower growth rates to help you find influencers with ideal metrics for your brand.

To evaluate if an influencer can constantly arouse interest in the social media world, it is advisable to examine the follower growth rate of the influencer during the last month. In general, we evaluate growth rates as follows:

Evaluation of follower growth ratesEvaluation of follower growth rates © InfluencerDB

While we will only analyze the numbers without taking the circumstances of the channel into account today, a future blog post will explain which factors might impact follower growth in a positive or negative way.

State of the Industry 2019

How do different follower growth rates develop over the course of a year?

To explain the meaning of different follower growth rates, let us delve a bit deeper into the subject. What does it mean to have a follower growth of 2%, 3% or 5% per month? A difference of a few percentages does not seem like a big deal, but what can this difference actually mean over the course of one year?

Imagine three different Instagram accounts (A, B, C) all starting off with 100,000 followers at the beginning of the year. The first account is constantly growing by 2% per months while the second account is growing by 3% and the third account by 5%.

We calculate how the follower numbers of the different accounts change throughout the year assuming their growth rates are consistent.

different follower growth rates over the course of one yearComparison of different follower growth rates © InfluencerDB

Instagram A gains a total of 26,824 followers during the course of a year while the follower number of Instagram C increases by almost 80%. The channel gains the same number of followers in less than 6 months as Instagram A does in a whole year. Instagram B increases its follower numbers by a little less than 50%.

So if an account has a follower growth of more than 7.5% (which is a very good growth rate), the account can more than double its follower number.

A consistent follower growth in the course of one year is rather unrealistic, though, and small ups and downs are usual, as will be explained in an additional article.

Identifying an organic follower growth

As already mentioned, the follower growth rate in our software indicates the growth of a channel over the last four weeks as you can see in the top left corner.

Follower growth rates carodaurExample of follower growth within the last year @carodaur © InfluencerDB

Additionally, the graph shows the organic and consistent follower growth of the last 360 days of German influencer @carodaur. In May 2016, she had around 573k followers. This number increased to almost 1,1 million followers in May 2017. Thus, her follower number increased by 88%. A good follower growth can be identified by a consistent, linear graph. Be skeptical regarding sudden drops or upwards spikes! 

Influencer Leonie Hanne alias @leoniehanne went from about 300k follower to more than 1,1 million followers during the last year. She increased her followers by 295%!

Follower growth rates ohhcoutureExample of follower growth within the year @leoniehanne © InfluencerDB

This kind of follower growth in a year is phenomenal. One factor explaining her drastic follower growth is her earned media value. This metric describes the value of postings shared by third parties mentioning Leonie Hanne (formerly known as @ohhcouture). Leonie was tagged in a total of 4,692 pictures during the last 360 days. She is tagged in 26 Instagram pictures on average each day. This puts her on ninth in the ranking of the highest earned media values within the German influencer scene. 

mentions ohhcoutureExample of Leonie’s mentions © InfluencerDB

The Takeaway

Knowing and understanding growth rates helps you execute a deep analysis regarding the quality of an influencer which is essential for influencer marketing campaigns. It also makes sure your brand finds influencers today who will be even bigger on social media tomorrow. A good growth rate indicates that followers are curious about what the influencer will share next and want to follow the influencer’s content. Furthermore, it helps you identify who is growing quickly in the social media world and how an Instagram channel will potentially have developed a few month from now.


This article is part of our current series which concerns follower growth on social media. This series revolves around the following topics: