The main way Instagram influencers earn money is by promoting products to their followers.
And with the rising concerns of fake followers, comments, and likes, brands are starting to look at new metrics to measure the success of an influencer campaign.
Evan Asano, the CEO of influencer marketing agency Mediakix, told Business Insider that many brands are looking at the quality of comments left on a sponsored Instagram post and the level of engagement from an influencer's fans.
"They are looking for a balance of influencers who engage with their fans, create authentic content, and partner with brands authentic to them, rather than anyone who will just pay them," Asano said.
Longer-term partnerships are more valuable now for both the brand and the influencer, and can provide better results. To track whether an investment was worth it, and if the influencer will be a good fit for a longer campaign, brands will come back and ask for certain performance metrics from the influencer.
How it works and what to look for:
On Instagram, brands often want to see that an influencer's followers are engaging with the post. Instead of partnering with the influencer based on follower count, brands are asking for other metrics before and after a campaign as a way to ensure value.
Naomi Lennon, the president of talent-management firm Lennon Management, told Business Insider that in her experience, brands often ask for the total views from the past 24 hours on an Instagram Story before an influencer campaign as a way to measure engagement. Lennon manages top influencers like Rachel Levin (known as RCLBeauty101 online) with 3.4 million Instagram followers.
"IG Stories is a much better measure of a page's engagement than previous likes and comments," Lennon said. "Even if they just want to just book an in-feed post they still want to see Story stats."
Katy Bellotte, a YouTube creator (470,000 subscribers) and Instagram influencer (166,000 followers), said brands pay more for a package than a single post. A package typically includes one post on Instagram, a Story, and sometimes a 30- to 60-second mention in a YouTube video, she said.
Bellotte said that after she posts sponsored content to Instagram, a company typically comes back and asks for specific performance metrics, and recently, she's noticed companies asking for how many views a story got and how many people saved the post to their personal account.
"You'll notice there are some creators out there who are getting smart about this," Bellotte said. "Saying, 'To enter my giveaway, you have to save the post and then do X, Y, Z.' Then, when brands ask for the save numbers, they have an inflated number because they'll do things like that."
Industry insiders told Business Insider that on Instagram, many brands are now looking for:
- In-feed post saves:
- On Instagram, followers can save a post to view later from their personal account.
- Comment sentiment:
- Brands are tracking the quality of comments left on a sponsored Instagram post. They want to see if followers are mentioning the company within the comments, or have any intent on purchasing the product mentioned.
- With the growing concern of fake metrics, "likes" are now studied along with comments, views, and saves, which together round out total engagement.
- Views on Instagram Stories:
- Before partnering with an influencer for a campaign, some brands are asking for the total views they've received on Instagram Stories over the last 24 hours.