Bloggers, Influencers and advertising, a topic that became quite hot lately. If initially the collaborations between brands and influencers went unnoticed without clear regulations, the scenario is now changing. In the States the Federal Trade Commission (agency protecting consumers) and the antitrust established a simple and precise rule: the sponsored posts must be clearly labelled. In other words, the sponsoring company must be tagged in the post and hashtags such as #ad, #adv or #sponsored must be easily readable by users. Finally Italy spoke out and the Iap (Istitute of Advertising Self-Discipline) asked influencers more transparency about their sponsored contents.
What has changed globally and in Italy
After the introduction of this legislation, how are things going on Instagram? How are influencers behaving now that they are obliged to follow these new rules? To answer these questions, we have analyzed posts containing the hashtags #ad, #adv, and #sponsored of the last eight months (from March to October 2017) published by more than 6,600 influencers (including 3,000 Italians) analyzed by our tool Blogmeter Social Influencer.
The first fact is the global increase of posts during the period under review with the hashtags mentioned before. If from March to June 2017, out of a total of 770k posts by Influencer, the sponsored posts were about 11,500, in the next four months it rose to 16,500 posts with advertising hashtags totaling 704,500, with a percentage increase of about 44%.
The situation is even more surprising considering only the Italian Influencers: the posts from March to June with explicit advertising aims were about 1,800 out of 274,500 total, but from July to October the figure climbed vertiginously, reaching nearly 7k sponsored posts out of 245k, with an incredible 285% increase. This peak between July and October was mainly generated by the most controversial Italian influencer of the web, Chiara Ferragni. The famous fashion blogger has doubled the number of posts with sponsorship hashtags, moving from the 39 published posts between March and June, to the 85 published in the following four months.
The Instagram stars social performances do not drop
There is question still unaswered though: has the imposed trasparency led to a decrease in Influencers’ social engagement? To answer this question, Blogmeter has checked the average post engagement of some of the most famous influencers. Among them, Chiara Ferragni emerges again for Italy, while at the global level Kylie and Kendall Jenner stand out , who can count on a great number of followers (99.5 million followers for Kylie, 84.4 million for Kendall).
Between March and October, Chiara Ferragni marks an average of 238k interactions for non-sponsored posts and 221.7k for those with sponsorship hashtags. While the youngest of the Kardashian clan, Kylie, records an average engagement of 2.1 million for posts without hashtag #ad; for the sponsored ones, the average engagement per post is 2.3 million.
Returning to the Ferragni, it is worth noting that following the increase in the number of sponsored posts, the founder of the blog The Blonde Salad recorded a significant growth in engagement (+137.6%), moving from 8.1 million interactions between March and June, to 19.4 million between July and October, a figure that puts her at the top of the engagement rankings, even before the Jenner sisters. The sisters, in the period under review, posted significantly fewer posts with sponsorship hashtags: Kendall posted only ten ad content from March to October, Kylie stopped at seven. However, thanks to their media coverage, every published content is a success: the Top 5 of the most engaging content is in fact dominated by the two young stars. The most clicked post with the #ad hashtag is Kylie’s, sponsored by the clothing website fashionnova.com, which reaches three million of interactions. Second place for Kendall with a post sponsored by the watch brand Daniel Wellington that gets 2.9 million interactions.
In conclusion, it can be said that at the moment the new measures of transparency do not affect the social performance of the most famous Influencers, which remains at the same level.
According to Paola Nannelli, Blogmeter’s Head of Influencer Marketing, “We have not seen engagement drops because the influencers have managed to maintain a balance in their social editorial plan: in other words, alternating the sponsored content with content related to their lives, the interest of their community stays consistent. “
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