Engagement rates on Instagram are now approaching an all-time low, according to new research.
Engagement rates on sponsored posts have dropped from 4.0 percent in early 2016 to 2.4 percent in early 2019, suggesting that some influencers may be losing their influence.
Even travel influencers, known for their high engagement rates, have seen an average drop of 3.5 percent year on year, research published by Mobile Marketer found.
Interestingly, the study found that influencers with fewer followers are attracting the highest engagement rates. Influencers with 1,000-5,000 followers have an engagement rate of 8.8 percent, while influencers with 5,000 to 10,000 followers have an engagement rate of 6.3%.
Among influencers with more than 10,000 followers, the engagement rate is much lower at just 3.6 percent. Mobile Marketer attributes the decline in engagement rates to our feeds becoming "cluttered with sponsored posts".
It also predicts that brands could turn to using less prominent influencers in a bid to ensure greater engagement, saying: "While influencers with more than 10,000 followers may help to reach a broader audience, marketers may see better engagement by working with multiple 'nano-influencers' who have a smaller reach among highly dedicated followers."
Eugénie Grey, a New York City and L.A.-based influencer with more than 400,000 followers, recently spoke to Refinery29 about the difficulty of balancing sponsored posts with her own organic content.
"It's hard. During my really busy times, I can sometimes be posting three, four, five sponsored posts in a row," she said. "The key is to keep it real whenever possible, both publicly and to your followers in private. I enjoy talking to my followers over DM whenever I can; they know I'm a real, normal person just trying to pay the bills!"
According to a recent survey, UK influencers are most likely to charge between £100 and £250 for a post – a decent sum, but one unlikely to provide a life-changing income.
Calum McSwiggan, a writer, digital content creator, radio presenter & LGBT+ advocate with just over 70,000 Twitter followers, told Refinery29 last year that "there are some wildly disproportionate ideas about how much influencers actually earn".
"No matter how hard you work and no matter how many hours you put into it, there’s absolutely no guarantee that it’ll pay off or become something you can monetise. Building an audience isn’t something you can control - some people get lucky, that’s all," he said at the time.