Instagram may be concerned about TikTok’s threat to its business, but in the short term, it remains far ahead in terms of influencer marketing dollars spent on its platform in the United States. According to a new analyst report, Instagram is on track to capture nearly three times the amount of influencer marketing spend as TikTok by 2022 — or $2.23 billion on Instagram versus $774.8 million on TikTok.
However, while Instagram is outperforming TikTok in this category, Meta’s other app, Facebook, is not faring as well.
According to new data from Insider Intelligence (previously eMarketer), TikTok is on track to surpass Facebook in terms of influencer marketing spend this year and will surpass the No. 2 platform, YouTube, by 2024.
Currently, YouTube receives $948.0 million in influencer marketing dollars in the United States, surpassing Facebook’s $739.0 million. Furthermore, TikTok has already surpassed YouTube in terms of marketer usage for influencer-based marketing, according to the report.
Despite complaints from users who want to see more of their friends’ photos and videos, Instagram has been steadily adjusting its algorithm and feed to highlight creator content, recommended posts, and advertising. However, as Instagram changes how content is ranked in its main feed, some creators are concerned that the constant changes will have a negative impact on their reach.
After two of the Kardashians complained on their Instagram accounts, Instagram agreed to roll back some recent updates that saw the app morph into TikTok with a full-screen home feed and an increased number of recommended posts. Of course, mega influencer celebrities like the Kardashians may suffer if Instagram changes its algorithm to favor smaller creators.
According to the report, this could be Instagram’s long-term strategy, and the mix of influencers benefiting from this type of monetization has shifted over time.
Instagram’s feed changes, in particular, would allow smaller “micro” and “nano” influencers to take a large slice of the pie, according to the company. Individuals with 1,000 to 4,999 followers are considered nano-influencers, while those with 5,000 to 19,999 followers are considered micro-influencers. These influencers are already gaining from TikTok, which is part of the app’s allure for creators.
The report also mentions that marketing spend on smaller influencer partnerships is rapidly increasing. Analysts predict that spending on “nano” influencers will increase 220.5 percent this year, while spending on “mega” influencers will increase only 8.0 percent. (According to the firm, mega influencers have at least one million followers.)
Marketers may also prefer working with smaller creators for a variety of reasons, including lower rates but higher engagement rates on their posts.
They may also be less likely to have their view counts artificially increased through the use of fake views or bots.
TikTok, for what it’s worth, is frequently accused of inflating view counts and is known to have lower limits for what qualifies as a view for marketing purposes. It is said to count a view as soon as the video begins to play and rewatches as views. (Plus, some question how much TikTok may have been complicit in inflating views, given that its owner ByteDance was directly involved in creating fake accounts in a prior app that was a sort of TikTok precursor.)
“TikTok is gaining traction for influencer marketing, but it’s still nowhere near Instagram in terms of spending or marketer adoption,” said Insider Intelligence principal analyst Jasmine Enberg. “This is due in part to the higher prices Instagram creators charge for content, but also to the platform’s diverse range of content formats, the majority of which are now shoppable.” Still, Instagram is attempting to emulate TikTok in order to attract smaller creators, which TikTok is known for. That is critical for Instagram to maintain its lead in the influencer marketing space, especially since many TikTok creators now have follower counts that rival or exceed those on Instagram and YouTube.”
According to the report, 74.5 percent of US marketers will use influencer marketing in 2022, and spend on influencer marketing will increase by 27.8 percent to $4.99 billion this year.