You’re Probably Not Measuring Engagement for Instagram Sponsorships Correctly

24 Feb You’re Probably Not Measuring Engagement for Instagram Sponsorships Correctly

Since publicly available information is primarily what you have to go on when selecting influencers to sponsor, engagement is one of – if not – the key criteria for selecting Instagrammers.

The reason for this is not complicated; the industry has matured to where we know that basing buying decisions on follower count is a fool’s errand. As money began to flow to influencer marketing, influencers realized that sponsorship amounts were largely predicated on how big of a following you had.

Makes sense. Advertisers were willing to pay more for larger perceived reach. 

And the tools necessary for detecting fraudulent traffic were in the very early innings back then. 

So, rates began increasing based on follower count, and companies, over time, started asking more questions about evaluating the efficacy of their campaigns. 

Is my sponsorship being seen? By how many people? Is this impacting sales? Does this person’s followers care about what they have to say? And so on and so forth. 

If it was a small investment, or, only product given in exchange for a post, then there wasn’t much need to examine the campaign closely. However, when posts begin to cost $1,000, $10,000+, the calculus changes. 

We have evolved to a state in the industry where micro-influencers are now seen as the more prudent investment (rightfully so, as they almost always are), and follower count is no longer the dominant variable in assessing the opportunity. 

Now engagement is big (even with Instagram starting to hide Likes).

But are you properly evaluating it? 

Most look at the Likes + Comments and divide by the total Follower Count. For eg. 5K likes and comments on a 100K follower person, would be 5%. That makes sense on the surface, but is inaccurate. 

The reason why this is is because that assumes that the entire following is seeing the post. Anyone who has been around Facebook since ~2012, and Instagram the past few years, knows that is not the case. Not even close.

The platforms are mature, attention sucking destinations that are all about making money. Of course they are, they’re public companies! How they do this varies, but for the context of this article, they make money by limiting organic reach and charging brands to boost posts to a larger percentage of the influencer’s audience, if not the entire follower list. 

The typical reach now is ~15% (of a person’s following). Under the scenario above, the actual engagement would be 33%! Ok, that is not realistic, but let’s use 1K engagements, which is; that would change the actual engagement to ~6.7%, which is solid. 

The reason this is important is if you only look at follower count and engagement, you might opt not to work with a person if their engagement is 1%, but that person might be great for your brand, and if you realized he/she was receiving north of 5% engagement, you’d probably reconsider. 

Put enough of those influencers together with that level of engagement and you’ve got yourself the makings of a very solid campaign.

So, ask the deeper questions… if you’re planning a campaign, request the analytics from the prior sponsored posts. If the numbers don’t make sense, walk away; if they do, move forward. There are a lot of great things about influencer marketing, and getting the right influencers with highly engaged audiences to be a part of a winning program for your brand is a huge part of it.

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