Influencer marketing is now a multi-billion-dollar industry, with the majority of that spend currently allocated to Instagram. But it has its challenges. With a limited capability to measure ROI, detect fraud, and a content half-life that’s less than 72 hours, many marketers continue to rely on impressions, engagements, and influencers’ engagement rates to determine influencers’ value and quantify influencer marketing success.

As such, the value of influencers’ marketing impact on Instagram remains in their content production and paid media efficiencies – influencer-generated content (IGC) with high engagement rates receive greater news feed visibility, and as well, earn greater efficiencies when repurposed in paid or sponsored posts. Influencers’ engagement rates are also harder to manipulate over time, making it easier for marketers to detect if and when an influencer is engaging in fraudulent activities.

Our 2018 Influencer Engagement Benchmark Report is designed to provide visibility and transparency to influencers’ engagement  rates for editorial and branded content across verticals by identifying the current trends driving positive audience engagement and IGC benchmarks for performance.


Our 2018 Instagram Influencer Engagement Benchmark defines the current state of influencer engagement and influencer-generated content (IGC) performance across three indicators: influencers’ average engagement rates, influencers’ engagement rates on branded content, and influencers’  audience size. Engagement rate was determined by calculating the average number of engagements per Instagram post  vs. an Influencer’s audience size. The data in this report represents a sample of 35,131 Instagram posts published from  6,540 influencers’ Instagram accounts with 1,000 – 500,000 followers during Jan. 01, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017, authenticated  via first party opt-in through the Mavrck platform.

The data in this report was anonymized, categorized, and validated for consistency and accuracy prior to inclusion.

By the Numbers

Key Takeaways:

  • Influencers with 1k – 5k followers earned the highest average engagement rates and branded content engagement rates in 2017, at 6.84% and 5.95%, respectively.
  • Influencers with 1k – 10k followers earned the highest engagement rates on branded content with the least difference when compared to their overall editorial average engagement rates.
  • Instagram audiences engaged the most with influencer-generated content in the Retail & Fashion and Food & Beverage categories.
  • While all influencers who published branded content saw engagement rates increase in 2017, engagement rates for influencers with 50k – 100k followers grew the most, increasing 3.5x over the course of the year.
  • Instagram platform updates may be directly related to its desire to retain influencers with more than 50k followers who saw the greatest corresponding growth in engagement rate in 2017.

Which Type of Influencer(s) is Best? 

The greatest opportunity for generating consumer engagement on Instagram lies in harnessing the power and efficiency of Instagram influencers who drive high engagement rates among their audiences to create compelling branded content – regardless of their follower count.

It’s not a conversation of macro-influencers vs. micro-influencers; marketers need both to power their influencer marketing strategies. As the research indicates, there are benefits to collaborating with influencers across tiers. Micro-influencers with between 1k – 10k followers provide the greatest opportunity to drive authentic engagement, while macro-influencers with 50k – 100k followers offer the greatest opportunity for feed optimization and visibility, given how their content is being prioritized in users’ news feeds.

As well, while food and fashion content seem to resonate most with users, marketers’ influencer content strategy can benefit by incorporating a mix of topics – particularly as categories like travel continue to grow.

To access these insights and more, download our 2018 Instagram Influencer Engagement Report here.