The influencer marketing industry seems to take a huge beating every once in a while and it’s usually sparked by a controversy surrounding an influencer.

Despite the industry’s general bad image, businesses hardly care about what the public think of influencers; they are more concerned if influencer marketing is effective.

But here to put the marketing channel’s effectiveness in question is InfluencerDB. Its widely-discussed influencer marketing benchmark report is introducing some cracks on the polished veneer of Instagram influencers, shedding a little light on what seems to be the beginning of a decline in the industry.

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Like-follower ratio by verticals

The like-follower ratio (LFR) benchmarks has seen a sharp decrease over the past year across all verticals that are measured.

  • Even though it has the highest LFR in both years, travel fell the most from 8.0% in 2018 to 4.5% in 2019.
  • Food fell by the same margin as travel, from 6.7% in 2018 to 3.2% in 2019.
  • At 3.2%, beauty has the lowest LFR in 2019, sharing the spot with food.
  • Sports and fitness fell the least, dropping 1.5% from 5.2% in 2018 to 3.7% in 2019.

Based on the decline in LFR, InfluencerDB also raises the possibility that “the ‘gold rush’ of influencer marketing is over”.

Like-follower ratio by account size

The company also observed that LFR seems to plateau after a certain number of followers.

  • LFR for accounts with 1k-5k followers is the highest at 8.8%, followed by 5k-10k at 6.3%
  • Beyond 10k followers, however, the LFR hovers between 3.4% and 3.8%.

This seems to indicate that size doesn’t matter. In fact, the smaller, the better.

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Sponsored vs non-sponsored post engagement

Engagement is on a general decline across the board.

  • Sponsored posts generally performed better than non-sponsored posts.
  • Since 2016, global sponsored post engagement fell from about 4.6% to 2.4% in 2019.
  • Over the same period, global non-sponsored post engagement fell from about 4.0% to 1.9%.
  • In Singapore, sponsored post engagement fell from about 4.2% in 2016 to 1.9% in 2019.
  • Over the same period, non-sponsored post engagement in Singapore fell from about 3.9% to 1.7% in 2019.

InfluencerDB recommendations

  1. Advertisers need to be more discerning about who they choose to work with. Consider all available data and the quality of work of the influencer.
  2. Influencers with 1k-5k followers yield the best engagement.
  3. The shift towards nano-influencers means that influencer marketing is now more affordable to small businesses.

For more details, download a copy of the report.

This article first appeared on under the title “Are Instagram Influencers Losing Their Influence?