Profiting from Instagram Influencers

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Profiting from Instagram Influencers

A research report by eMarketer found that 75 percent of marketing professionals believe that influencer marketing generates leads and sales, while 90 percent consider it effective at brand awareness.1 Meanwhile, surveys by marketing platform Experticity revealed that Internet users in the United States and Canada trust their family and friends, online reviews, and third-party experts far more than they do advertisements.2

A study of female U.S. Internet users by SheSpeaks found that 43 percent said online reviews “written by people you follow and/or people who are like you” rank as the most credible source of product information.3

For these reasons, many companies are now collaborating with the most popular Instagram users in an effort to reach their vast audiences of followers.


Instagram is a mashup of the words “instant camera” and “telegram.”  As conceived by developers Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram is a convenient way for users to share their activities via photos rather than words.4

Bundled with built-in filtering tools that can turn the most mundane snapshots into glamorous magazine-quality images, the free app was launched in October 2010 for Apple users; in 2012, it was released for Android devices, and that same year Facebook acquired Instagram for about $1 billion.

By the end of 2016, it boasted 600 million active users per month, who have shared 40 billion photos with fellow users, and the number increases by 95 million photos and videos every day.

That’s phenomenal growth for an app that didn’t even exist at the beginning of this decade.


The platform is so new that academic researchers are just discovering it, but the few studies that have been published reveal that:

  • It attracts younger users as well as more diverse communities.
  • Young people now spend more time on Instagram than Facebook.
  • Users become more engaged in using it because images are easier to share than words.
  • Followers prefer it to Facebook because it is faster to browse friends’ photos on Instagram than it is to read their posts on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Businesses can quickly spread marketing messages via Instagram because the photos they upload can be reposted multiple times by users and their followers.

With some Instagram users amassing hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers, it isn’t surprising that marketers have targeted those users with sponsorship deals...

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