Nearly half of Instagram influencers were impacted by fraud last year

…but the good news is things used to be much worse, according to a new report.

The Instagram influencer market is growing fast – set to rise from a value of $13.8billion in 2021 to a whopping $22.2billion by 2025. So the discovery that 49 percent of Instagram influencers were impacted by fraud in 2021 is particularly worthy of note. 

But the good news is, that’s actually a decrease of 14.3 percent in two years, and the second year in a row that such fraud has been in decline.

All of these figures come from a new report into the stage of influencer marketing, by AI analytics platform HypeAuditor, which looked at 248k Instagram influencer accounts, 19.6k YouTube channels, and 14.6k TikTok accounts from the UK from its internal database.

The biggest decrease in fraud levels were micro-influencers (5k-20k followers) and mega-influencers (1million+ followers), with the average percent of accounts impacted by fraud decreasing by 19.04 percent and 14.3 percent respectively over two years.

Britain has been at the forefront of cracking down on this type of crime, according to Alexander Frolov, CEO and Co-Founder at HypeAuditor: “Increased scrutiny on social media platforms has pushed the issues of fake ads and online consumers’ safety to the top of the agenda. With its proposed “Online Safety Bill”, the UK has been leading the way in this regard.”

Getting finances in order

The study also highlights that the social influencer industry has a broader base than casual observers might imagine. Despite recent controversies around so-called “finfluencers” advertising dubious investment schemes on social media, the UK Instagram audience consumed more finance content in 2021. Posts in relation to finance and economics accounted for the most trending content, with an increased growth of 29.33 percent.

Meanwhile it appears that in spite of TikTok enjoying explosive growth during the pandemic to reach a billion active users, the engagement rate for all categories of TikTok influencers in the UK has decreased by 14.73 percent compared to 2020.

Mega-influencers have highest engagement 

Overall, ‘mega-influencers’ (over a million followers) have the highest ER at 14 percent. Some of the fastest-growing accounts on TikTok include Tomas Mikalauskas, with a follower growth of 663 percent in 2021, Gordon Ramsay and Jeremy Lynch

If that’s making you think of signing one up, however, it’s worth noting that these people can charge brands on average over $1000 per post, according to the report.

Other findings include:

  • On average, brands will get $4.98 of Earned Media Value for each $1 paid for Instagram influencer’s promotion.

  • 46 percent of UK Instagram users are aged between 25 and 34 years old, a 3.5 percent increase in comparison to 2020 – highlighting a migration of the platform’s younger users towards TikTok.

  • The top three most-mentioned brands by influencers on Instagram are Pretty Little Things (18,860 mentions), Zara (18,640 mentions) and Asos (11,820 mentions).

  • Brands can expect to pay from $60 for a YouTube sponsored video when partnering with a nano-influencer to over $2500 when partnering with a mega-influencer.