Instagram influencer marketing to become a $22bn industry, with fraud in decline

Instagram’s influencer marketing sector will grow by $8.4bn over the next three years and reach $22.2bn by 2025, according to HypeAuditor’s latest report.

Previously, fraud in the influencer ecosystem had caused brands including Unilever and L’Oreal to pause spend, but the analytics company says the problem is slowly improving.

Data from its State of Influencer Marketing 2021 report reveals that social commerce and the redistribution of ad budgets toward digital will result in Instagram’s influencer industry ballooning by 12.6%, up from $13.8bn in 2021.

The increased adoption of adblocking software is also expected to drive growth on the platform, along with updates to Reelz and the introduction of the TikTok-esque function Remix.

There was welcome news for brands battling influencer fraud as cases fell on the Meta-owned app by 6.7% compared with 2020 and 14.3% from 2019. Despite the decline in cases, over half of the influencers surveyed reported fraud, with tactics including buying likes and followers and using comment pods.

The report suggests that interventions by Instagram coupled with influencers themselves turning away from fraud tactics have led to the decline.

HypeAuditor chief exec and co-founder Alexander Frolov advises brands to ”vet influencer accounts and make sure they have quality audiences with genuine engagement,” adding that it ”must be a priority for brands and agencies”.

Further report findings

Elsewhere, the report shows financial and business influencers grew in popularity in 2021, jumping 30% from 2020 closely followed by TV influencers who saw an engagement boost of 24%.

HypeAuditor also identified fast fashion brand PrettyLittleThing as the most talked about brand in 2021, closely followed by Zara, Asos and H&M. Away from fashion, M&S and Tesco made the top 10, taking ninth and 10th place respectively.

On average, brands will get $4.98 of earned media value (EMV) for each $1 paid for Instagram influencers promotion. For influencers with over a million subscribers, brands can pay an average of $1,200 per post with an estimated $5,133 EMV.

46% of Instagram’s UK users are now aged 25 to 34 – a 3.5% increase from 2020, which HypeAuditor says highlights the migration of the platform’s younger users towards TikTok.