Inside Instagram’s Billion Dollar Influencer Marketing Industry

Instagram’s usage is increasing at cyber speed. The number of users has doubled over the past two years alone to reach 800 million users as of September 2017, which is more than five times what it was less than four years ago.

After the release of Instagram Business in May 2016, more U.S. companies decided to take advantage of this new feature and use Instagram for marketing and generating revenue. The eight million Instagram business profiles have made use of the unique features that Instagram business has to offer, including “prominent contact information, powerful analytics data [and] the ability to create Instagram ads” (Osman, 2017).

Small businesses, including Instagram influencers, make up the majority of the business Instagram accounts (Osman, 2017).

What is an “influencer”? An Instagram influencer uses his/her Instagram profile as a microblogging platform to share, advertise and promote personal and for-profit “sponsored” content. In short, he/she makes money off of Instagram. Blair Flynn of Balance with B is a Boston-based wellness blogger and recipe developer who quit her job to pursue her blogging career, and she credits it to her Instagram account. In an interview, she said, “The number [of followers] started growing overnight, and people were really liking my content. I was unhappy with where I was in my career and my Instagram account was the only thing that brought me joy. So, I decided to chase that happiness and pursue a blogging career.” Blair currently has over 108 thousand followers on her Instagram account (@balacewithb).

Blair is one of many. In fact, the Instagram influencer industry is expected to skyrocket in the coming two years.

Mediakix’s study shows that Instagram’s influencer market is expected to be a one billion dollar industry by the end of 2017, and is expected to double in 2019. It’s important to note that these predictions were made in 2015, before the launch of Instagram Business and Instagram stories; thus, market spending on influencers may even be larger than anticipated over the coming years.

What started as a mobile social media platform for sharing selfies and food pictures has transformed into a money generating machine for several small businesses and microbloggers. Results of a Hashoff survey show that Instagram has become influencers’ number one for engaging with communities and brands, with YouTube being the second most popular platform.

So in case you were considering becoming an influencer and reaping the benefits of the microblogging life, NOW is the time.

Link to infographic on Infogram: