State of the Industry – Influencer Marketing in 2019

Our data science team has crunched the numbers to prove how successful the influencer marketing industry really is. How much budget do marketers around the globe allocate to influencer marketing? Which verticals show tremendous success on Instagram? Are macro-influencers the kings and queens of social media or should you place your bet on the small guys?

The influencer marketing trend continues

Influencer marketing plays not only a central role in global businesses’ marketing mix today but is also an established part of our daily lives. Whenever we surf the internet researching on efficient home workouts, scroll through our Instagram feeds for the latest fashion trends or look for food prep inspiration, we come across social media influencers rather sooner than later.

Google Trends Influencer Marketing

Google Trends “Influencer Marketing”

The interest in the topic has increased tremendously since 2013 and really took off starting 2017 with yet no end in sight, as Google Trends shows.

Key Facts

  1. Marketers around the world spent more than $5 billion on influencer marketing on Instagram in 2018, helping to grow the influencer marketing industry’s success.
  2. Instagram, the most popular social platform amongst influencers, continues to rise: The network showed an incredible growth from 90 million monthly active users in 2013 to 1,000 million in 2018.
  3. With 25% of all sponsored posts, the fashion industry dominates as the most popular vertical on Instagram amongst influencers, while the technology sector lags behind.
  4. Almost 1/3 of all Instagram channels are micro-influencers with fewer than 100k followers. This group is also accountable for the majority of sponsored Instagram posts.


The fashion industry goes big on Instagram

Looking at all sponsored posts on Instagram, the fashion vertical clearly takes the throne on Instagram in the influencer marketing industry. With 25% of all sponsored posts revolving around this topic, fashion brands are the most active industry on Instagram when it comes to investing in influencer marketing.


Of all verticals, the technology sector lags far behind and invests the least in paid content, with just 1% of all sponsored posts.

Naturally, our analysis examined disclosed sponsored partnerships only, meaning Instagram posts that have been labeled as paid partnerships using sponsoring-hashtags or keywords such as #ad, #commercial or #spon. For this analysis, we examined 68 different keywords/hashtags in 15 different languages.

Small, but mighty: Micro-influencers outnumber macro-influencers

Instagram today has more than 1.4 million accounts with more than 15k followers.

The platform is not only loved by influencers but by brands as well. Actually, only 39% of all Instagram accounts are active influencers! The rest are accounts of brands, fan channels or aggregator and meme accounts.


The superstars of Instagram might have millions of followers, but they are clearly outnumbered by small-range influencers.

While only 1% of all influencer accounts belong to mega-influencers (accounts with more than 5m followers), micro-influencers with less than 100k followers make up almost one-third of all Instagram channels.

Brands place their bets on authenticity

Micro-influencers are not only big in numbers, they are also diligent when it comes to brand collaborations: Looking at in­fluencer ranges, we see that micro-in­fluencers with 15k to 100k followers are accountable for the majority of sponsored posts on Instagram.


The success of these small-range influencers began in 2015. Since then, they have outpaced the rest of the influencer scene in the number of published sponsored posts.

Is the influencer marketing hype coming to an end?

Many experts predicted in 2018 that the influencer marketing bubble will burst in the near future. Our research shows that so far, that’s definitely not the case.

Marketers are becoming savvier when it comes to refining their influencer marketing strategies, influencer selection and the vetting process is becoming more elaborate, campaign concepts are more sophisticated.

The recipients are examined more closely and are being listened to, in order to develop and execute reasonable, well-conceived campaigns and content that resonates with the audience.

This year and in 2020, marketers will take more budget away from traditional advertising and shift it towards influencer marketing. In 2018, more than $5 billion was spent on influencer marketing on Instagram worldwide.

Download the full infographic to learn how big the influencer marketing industry will be by 2020, how the number of sponsored posts has changed over time and which verticals have the potential to catch up to the fashion industry!

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