Influencer marketing, which involves a collaboration between brands and influencers, is a powerful approach that can help companies grow. It’s a marketing strategy that has been successfully used by thousands of businesses and brands and has experienced continued growth over the past decade.
Influencers are individuals with specific niches and have a significant online following. As they are viewed by their followers as trustworthy experts in their field, they can effectively impact their audience’s purchasing decisions. Their recommendations or endorsements can help brands expand their reach and generate leads.
For brands that want to leverage influencer marketing, it’s important to stay on top of the latest stats and trends shaping the industry. Here are 17 of the most important influencer marketing statistics you’d want to know.
17 Key Influencer Marketing Statistics to Fuel Your Strategy:
1. Influencer Marketing is Now a $21.1 Billion Industry
The influencer marketing industry has been witnessing steady growth since it became popular in the recent decade. Despite people losing trust in influencers, the market size has continued to grow over the years. According to our State of Influencer Marketing 2023: Benchmark Report, influencer marketing has grown into a $21.1 billion industry. This is a significant increase of 29% from $16.4 billion in the previous year.
2. Instagram Continues to Be the Most Preferred Platform
With most influencer marketing campaigns taking place on social media, your choice of social media platform will play a vital role in your influencer marketing success. In the past few years, Instagram has become the go-to social media platform for influencer marketing.
Today, Instagram continues to be the most popular platform for influencer marketing, with 72% of marketers in a HubSpot survey saying they use it to work with influencers and creators. TikTok’s popularity is also growing, and it’s quickly climbed up to second place with 61% of marketers using it. This is followed by YouTube with 58% of marketers using it and Facebook with 57% of marketers using it.
3. Instagram Yields the Highest ROI for Influencer Marketing
Instagram’s popularity with influencer marketers can be credited to its high return on investment (ROI). Thirty percent of marketers in the HubSpot survey say that they get the biggest ROI for influencer marketing through the platform. In addition, 32% say that it’s the easiest platform for working with influencers.
YouTube and Facebook tie in terms of influencer marketing ROI, with 20% of marketers saying that they get the biggest ROI from these platforms. Interestingly, TikTok currently seems to perform the poorest, with only 14% of marketers saying they get the biggest ROI from the platform. This is likely because the platform is still fairly new compared to the others and may take some time to yield the kind of returns that marketers expect.
4. Influencers are Seeing the Highest Engagement on TikTok
On the plus side, engagement rates on TikTok are through the roof even for larger influencers. This could positively influence the platform’s influencer marketing ROI further down the line. According to the IMH State of Influencer Marketing report, engagement rates on TikTok range between 10.53% for accounts with over 1 million followers and a whopping 15.04% for accounts with 1,000 to 5,000 followers.
Meanwhile, Instagram’s engagement rate for influencers is on the decline in spite of its popularity with marketers. Accounts with fewer than 5,000 followers see an engagement rate of about 4.21% on the platform, which is pretty decent by today’s standards. However, you typically can’t expect to see an engagement rate higher than 1% if you exceed 100,000 followers.
5. Marketers Prefer to Work with Smaller Influencers
Considering the higher engagement rates, it’s only natural that smaller influencers are highly preferable among brands. In fact, 80% of influencer marketers in HubSpot’s 2023 Social Media Marketing Report say they work with small creators and influencers. These are individuals with under 100,000 followers. On the other hand, only 16% say they work with celebrity influencers with more than 1 million followers.
While the high engagement rates may be a big plus, brands aren’t choosing to work with smaller influencers just because of that. The HubSpot survey found that cost is a major factor compelling marketers to go with smaller influencers, with 44% saying that they work with them because it’s less expensive.
About the same number of marketers also say that it’s easier to establish long-term partnerships with these types of influencers. This can be beneficial for brands since it gives them the opportunity to work with influencers who are already familiar with the brand and could lend an authentic voice to the campaign.
6. Over 80% of Marketers Have a Dedicated Influencer Marketing Budget
As influencer marketing grows in popularity, more and more brands are starting to have dedicated budgets for it. The IMH report from earlier found that 82% of respondents were planning to have a dedicated budget for influencer marketing. This is a significant increase from the previous year’s 77% who were planning to have a dedicated influencer marketing budget.
It’s an even bigger progress compared to 2017 when only 37% of respondents claimed they would create a budget for influencer marketing. These differences show how attitudes toward influencer marketing have changed in the past few years, with brands and marketers taking it more seriously and ramping up their efforts to grow their reach.
7. Most Brands are Increasing Their Influencer Marketing Spend
In line with the above data, brands are also planning to spend more on influencer marketing. Sixty-seven percent of respondents in the IMH survey were planning to increase their budget for influencer marketing over the next 12 months. That’s an overwhelming number of brands that are focusing their marketing budgets to work with influencers. It indicates that more and more brands are realizing the value of influencer marketing and spending more on it to boost their ROI.
Fifteen percent of respondents in the survey were planning to maintain the same budget as before while 11% were still unsure. Only 7% of respondents showed an intention to decrease their spending on influencer marketing.
8. Increasing Influencer Marketing Spending Leads to Increased Engagement
These increasing influencer marketing budgets could have a positive impact on campaign ROI for many brands. One study found a correlation between increasing influencer marketing spending and higher engagement rates. According to the study, even just a 1% increase in influencer marketing spending resulted in an engagement boost of almost 0.5%. If brands reallocated their spending based on the study’s insights, they could experience an engagement rate increase of up to 16.6%.
9. Most Brands are Spending Less than $50,000 on Influencer Marketing
So what do these influencer marketing budgets look like in dollars? Most marketers in the IMH report were spending well under $50,000 per year on influencer marketing. In fact, 43% weren’t spending more than $10,000 annually while 22% were spending between $10,000 and $50,000.
As you can see from these numbers, even though brands are increasing their influencer marketing budgets, they’re still not spending too much. Only about 11% were spending more than $500,000 on influencer marketing per year.
10. 31% of Social Media Users Discover New Products through Influencers
If you’re still wondering why brands are spending so much on influencers, it’s because influencers drive product discovery. They’re a valuable resource for brands that want to drive brand awareness, attract new audiences, and promote their products. The consumer trends survey by HubSpot found that 31% of social media users prefer to find out about new products through an influencer they follow as opposed to any other format or channel.
The numbers are particularly high among Gen Z consumers with 43% preferring influencers as a product discovery channel. So influencer marketing is a viable solution, particularly for brands that want to target a Gen Z audience.
11. Gen Z is Most Likely to Be Influenced by Influencer Recommendations
On the same note, the impact of influencers doesn’t just end at product discovery. In fact, influencers even influence people’s purchase decisions. Among social media users aged 18-54, 21% have made a purchase as a result of an influencer’s recommendation.
Among Gen Z social media users, the number shoots up to 32%. This shows that Gen Z consumers are much more likely than other generations to be influenced by influencer recommendations.
12. 61% of Consumers Find Relatable Influencers Most Appealing
Relatability is becoming an important factor influencing people’s content consumption. In fact, 63% of marketers in the HubSpot survey said that relatable content was the most effective. Similarly, as trust in influencers starts to decline, relatable influencers are gaining ground.
According to a study by Matter Communications, 61% of respondents found relatable personalities to be the most appealing. This indicates that consumers are favoring influencers who spark a sense of familiarity as they can relate to their experiences. Expert personalities were the second most preferred with 43% saying that they found these types of influencers appealing.
On the other hand, only 11% had a preference for celebrity personalities. There’s been a significant drop from the previous survey period of 2020 when 17-22% showed a preference for celebrity personalities. This is likely because these types of influencers often portray experiences that regular people can’t relate to.
13. Consumers Mainly Look to Influencers as an Educational Resource
Part of the reason why expert personalities are still one of the most preferred types of influencers is because consumers look to them as an educational resource. The same study by Matters Communications found that the most preferred types of influencer content are educational.
Forty-two percent of respondents expressed their preference for how-to content and tutorials. Stories with digestible bits of information are also popular among consumers, with 35% preferring this type of content.
14. AI and ML is Usage in Influencer Campaigns is Set to Increase
As technology advances, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is also extending to the influencer marketing industry. Based on the IMH report, 62.9% of marketers would use AI and ML in their influencer marketing campaigns. The goal is to leverage these tech innovations to build more impactful campaigns.
If you’re wondering how AI and ML would help influencer marketing campaigns, influencer identification seems to be the top purpose. Marketers would mainly be using AI and ML for identifying the right influencers, with an overwhelming 64% saying that they would use it for this purpose. Some marketers also plan to use AI and ML for locating and distributing relevant content. A small portion (5.6%) would use it to identify fraudulent influencers and engagements, which would help to curb influencer fraud.
15. Influencer Fraud is on the Decline
Speaking of influencer fraud, brands would be happy to know that it’s been gradually on the decline since 2019. The IMH report found that the percentage of influencer accounts impacted by fraud had dropped to 50% by 2021. By 2022, there was a further drop in these rates with an average of 36.68% accounts impacted. This is largely due to the development of tools and technology to detect this type of fraud.
Despite this decline, it’s good to note that influencer fraud isn’t completely eradicated. No wonder 64% of firms in the report were still concerned about it. That said, brands will have an easier time carrying out influencer identification since they don’t have to worry as much about selecting fraudulent influencers. The use of artificial intelligence is likely to further streamline these efforts.
16. Most Brands Work with 10+ Influencers
Even though brands are preferring to work with smaller influencers, they’re still carrying out influencer marketing on a larger scale. This shows in the number of influencers they work with. The IMH report found that around 60% of brands work with at least 10 influencers for their campaigns. By roping in more influencers, brands can maximize their reach and campaign impact.
According to the report, 21% of brands work with 10-50 influencers while 16% activate around 50-100 influencers for their campaigns. Some even go so far as to work with 1,000+ influencers.
17. Keeping Up with Social Media Trends is the Biggest Influencer Marketing Challenge
As rewarding as influencer marketing may be, it comes with its own set of challenges. Brands may find it challenging to execute influencer marketing for a number of reasons. According to the HubSpot survey from earlier, the most common influencer marketing challenge was keeping up with social media trends. Around 28% of marketers reported facing this challenge.
Cost is another common challenge, with 26% of marketers saying that it’s the biggest challenge. Around the same number of marketers said that building a creative strategy was the biggest challenge for them.
The Future of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a formidable marketing tactic. Companies that leverage influencer marketing are more likely to succeed, especially if they’re able to establish a healthy and long-term partnership with creators. As new technologies emerge and attitudes change, there will no doubt be many changes to the influencer marketing industry. We hope that our article will be able to help you stay on top of things as the year unfolds.
If you’re eager to dive deeper, then check out the Influencer Benchmark Report 2023, written by yours truly. You can download it here for free, and it’s jam-packed with everything that you'll need to know to fuel your influencer marketing strategy in the coming year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is influencer marketing still effective in 2022?
Yes, influencer marketing is still an effective—and profitable—venture for brands. On average, brands can earn $5.78 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. Many marketers also agree that influencers are effective at generating higher ROI and greater value for their brand.
What trends are shaping the influencer marketing industry?
Technological innovations, changing consumer behaviors, and the need for transparency are impacting the way brands and influencers approach marketing campaigns.
Also, social media platforms are now becoming easier to use and more accessible, making it relatively easy for anyone to become influencers themselves.
How many followers do I need to have to become an influencer?
Ideally, you need between 1,000 and 10,000 followers to become an influencer, specifically a nano-influencer. If you’re just starting and building your follower base, make notes on important metrics, such as your engagement rates. Nano- and micro-influencers have higher engagement rates, which are more attractive to some brands than the number of followers, so make sure you drive engagement on your account regularly.