Social Media Influencers Are Officially Losing Their Influence


A study has found Instagram influencers might be losing their hold over followers as engagement rates hover near all-time lows. 

These days, if you’re not looking at food or puppies on Instagram, chances are you’re looking at posts from an influencer.

Whether it’s to show off clothes, holidays or restaurants, the social media personalities are everywhere, hoping to capture the attention of as many people as possible and gain thousands of those coveted double-taps.

Social mediaPixabay

However, while us regular, occasional Instagram users might have fallen for their filters and captions at first, a study by analytics firm InfluencerDB showed engagement rates have dropped recently.

Is it because we’ve become wise to their seemingly nonchalant, yet actually heavily sponsored posts? Or perhaps because we’ve become fed up with looking at their seemingly perfect lifestyles? Maybe we just can’t be bothered to tap twice any more?

Whatever the reason, those likes and comments are on the decline.

Mobile Marketer shared the results of the study, explaining the engagement rate for sponsored posts fell to 2.4 per cent at the start of 2019, compared to 4 per cent three years earlier. The rate for non-sponsored posts dropped to 1.9 per cent from 4.5 per cent.

The firm measures engagement with a ‘like-follower ratio’, comparing the average number of likes on each Instagram post to the number of followers the poster has.

The study pointed out Instagram’s algorithm gives precedence to sponsored posts over non-sponsored posts but the sheer number of sponsored posts on the site now may be decreasing their overall engagement effectiveness.

Laptop influencerPixabay

InfluencerDB found influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 followers actually had the highest rate of engagement worldwide at 8.8 per cent, compared to those who have at least 10,000 followers, with 3.6 per cent, though it seems no influencer is safe as the engagement rate for every industry category of influencer has declined in the past year.

Travel influencers, who typically have the highest engagement rates, have seen an average drop of 3.5 per cent in the past year. InfluencerDB also observed declines for influencers in beauty, fashion, food, lifestyle and sports and fitness.


Influencers may have to adopt a new strategy in order to hold on to engagement, though things could get worse if Instagram follow through with their idea of getting rid of the ‘like’ counter.

Forbes report Instagram began to test the feature, which hides ‘like’ counts, earlier this year. The changes would mean only the account user would be able to see the number of likes a post receives.

Could the engagement decline mark the beginning of the end of influencers? We’ll just have to wait and see!

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