111 Influencer Marketing Statistics

111 Influencer Marketing Statistics That Actually Mean Something For Your Brand

Three years ago, the two big questions on every marketer’s mind were “What is influencer marketing?” and “Does it really work?”

Today, 67% of marketers say not only does influencer marketing work, but it helps them to reach a more targeted audience. Influencer marketing allows brands to get in front of large groups of niched-down segments of their target audience by forming alliances with the most influential people in those segments. So, finding a way to get in front of green Millennial moms who are also vegan (#veganmom, #veganmoms, #veganmommy), or Millennials from the Bluegrass State who support local businesses (#shoplocalky) gets simpler with influencer marketing.

This is our stats post to end all stats post - more than 100  facts and stats that marketers can really use to manage effective influencer marketing campaigns.

We’ve broken down this post to give you the stats in seven specific areas of influencer marketing: The Overall State of Influencer Marketing, Ongoing Challenges, Social Media Platforms, Proof of Success, and User-Generated Content. 

Let’s get to it.

The State of Influencer Marketing

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Even creeping past the $2 billion mark, influencer marketing is still in its infancy. Instagram reports there are more than 25 million business accounts on the platform. But only two percent of brands are meaningfully engaging with users on social media. So, we’re far from the tipping point for influencer marketing.

1. Nearly half the world’s population (that’s 3.8 billion people) actively use social media, according the Global Digital Snapshot Q3 2017, a report compiled by We Are Social and Hootsuite.

2. Mobile is key. One in five Americans are accessing the web strictly at work and via smartphone. They don’t have a broadband connection at home.

3. For Americans ages 18 - 29, more than 1 in 4 (28%) are “smartphone only” internet users who have no broadband connection at home.

4. Different generations follow brands on social for different reasons.

5. Thirty percent of Millennials say they engage with brands at least once a month.

6. Sixty percent of Baby Boomers who engage with brands on social are looking for promotions.

7. Gen Xers? They buy. Something like 7 in 10 Gen Xers will buy something from a brand they follow.

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        8. BUT only 1 in 10 messages to brands get a response.

9. According to SproutSocial, the sectors that have the highest average response rate are utilities (17%), retail (16%), and travel hospitality (15%). Besides healthcare, the sectors with the lowest response rates are nonprofit (7%), education (7%), government (8%).

10. Professional service providers also rank pretty low (9%) with responsiveness.

11. Positive online interactions with brands drive sales. Seventy-one percent of those polled said they are more likely to buy from a company after a positive interaction.

12. In fact, 37% of consumers use social media as their go-to before making a purchase.

13. This includes C-level and executive-level buyers, 74% of whom use social media to make purchasing decisions. It really is

14. According to the PwC Total Retail Survey 2016, 45% of respondents said that user-generated content like reviews, comments, and customer feedback influences their shopping behavior.



The Ongoing Challenges

Influencer marketing isn’t without its challenges. But most of them seem to stem from a single dilemma: Contrary to the way in which many marketers handle their influencer campaigns, influencer marketing is less about sales and more about branding and relationship-building, even when it comes to recruiting an influencer to your cause. Relationships are your bread and butter.

So, directing your company’s resources to influencer marketing means you are effectively shifting from bottom-of-the-funnel [transactional] sales to focusing on your long game - wooing people into your funnel by building and nurturing relationships, cultivating younger users to become lifelong buyers, fortifying your reputation as the go-to source for whatever it is you do or sell. That shift in mindset is tough for many brands to justify, but thinking long-term about your marketing strategy is CRUCIAL to your continued success.

** Remind me to tell you sometime about the time the marketing department for one of the country’s leading symphony orchestras was charged with the responsibility of wooing younger symphony-goers because their core audience was aging up and literally dying-off.

My point: The long game matters, because like it or not, we all have to choose a day to implement that proverbial ten-year strategy. .

15. By and large, marketers name measuring ROI as the most challenging part of social media marketing, with 61% of those surveyed saying it was their top challenge.

16. When asked about influencer marketing in particular, 65% of marketers listed measuring ROI as the top challenge.

17. A full one-third (34%) of marketers said seeing how their social media marketing efforts support their business goals is one of their top challenges.

18. Marketers also struggle with finding the right influencers to promote their products in the first place. Seventy-three percent of respondents named choosing an influencer as the biggest challenge in working with influencers.

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In the eMarketer report Measuring Influencer Marketing: A Guide for Marketers, eight aspects of influencer marketing were listed as areas marketers would like to see improved:

19. Eighty percent of marketers want to see improvements measuring ROI

20. Sixty-six percent of marketers want to see improvements in tracking an influencer’s sway.

21. Sixty percent want improvements in the area of finding influencers.

22. Fifty-five percent of marketers want to see improvements  in getting influencers to report back on campaigns.

23. Fifty-five percent of marketers want to see improvements vetting influencers.

24. Forty-six percent of marketers want to see improvements managing lists of influencers

25. Forty-one percent of marketers want to see improvements engaging influencers

26. Twenty-six percent of influencers want to see improvements building and managing influencer relationships

Similarly, a separate survey indicated:

27. 59% of respondents included being able to get the attention of, and engage with, influencers as a major challenge in influencer marketing.    

28. 36% of marketers want a better way of readily identifying an influencer’s interests, and

29. 31% of marketers want help getting an influencer’s contact info and an accurate list of his or her endorsement history.

So, if you’ve experienced challenges in any one of these areas, rest assured you are not the anomaly.

There’s a great opportunity here for professional and licensed service providers to strengthen their follower base just by being more responsive on social media.

Social Media Platforms

Don’t assume everything happens on Instagram. In truth, influencers have generated millions of dollars for brands and for themselves across multiple social media platforms. Let’s talk about that in this section.

Where is your audience hanging out?

Across the board, the percentage of U.S. adults who are using the major social media platforms - Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter - significantly increased from 2012 to 2018.  As of Q3 of 2017, 79% of the 3.8 billion Internet users around the globe were also active social media users, with 2.78 billion accessing social from their mobile devices. That’s a lot of folks.

The first job for marketers is figuring out where their audience is spending time online, then developing platform-specific strategies to target small segments of that audience.


30. YouTube - On the low end, 56% of adults over 50 use YouTube, while 94% of adults 18 to 24 do.

31. Like Facebook, YouTube attracts users of all ages, including Gen Z (ages 6 to around 17). Social Media Today reports that 75% of Gen Zers want to become YouTubers, creating content for the platform.  

32. Seventy percent of the content watched on YouTube is viewed on a mobile device.

33. More than one in three Millennials (37%) ages 18 to 34 binge-watch videos daily on YouTube. Coincidentally, across age groups, YouTube is a preferred platform of binge-watching videos.

34. According to the YouTube blog, users upload about a billion hours of video content a day to YouTube.

35. Versions of the platform are available in 90 countries and 80 different languages.


So, we recently published YouTube User Statistics by Generation to The Shelf blog. For the most up-to-date numbers on how Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers are using YouTube, click here to read that post.


36. Facebook - On the low end, 55% of adults over 50 use Facebook, just over 80% of adults 25 to 29 do.

37. Eight-nine percent of women (young and old) who use social media are on Facebook.

38. About 4 in 5 urban dwellers use Facebook. The numbers are identical for rural users.

39. People who use Facebook, really USE Facebook. Most U.S. adults are Facebook users, and the average Facebook user accesses Facebook more frequently than any other platform… eight times a day, actually.

40. Four in ten  Americans over the age of 65 are Facebook users. That’s twice what the number was in 2012 (my octogenarian Uncle Buck -and his sassy wife, Aunt Charlotte - show up in my feed in the sharpest church suits you’ve ever seen).

41. There are a billion folks engaging daily in Facebook groups - that’s half of all Facebook users.


42. Instagram - On the low end, 16% of adults over 50 use Instagram, while 71% of adults 18 to 24 do.

43. There are a billion monthly active users on Instagram (we updated this stat June 25, 2018, after IG's announcement verifying 1 billion in MAUs).

44. Eighty percent of the accounts on Instagram follow at least one brand, according to Buffer, and 60% first heard about a product or service on Instagram.

45. Does that exposure help? Yes. According to Instagram’s blog, between February and March of 2017, 120 million Instagrammers visited a website, got directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged to learn about a business.

46. According to Simply Measured, 7 in 10  hashtags on Instagram are branded hashtags.

47. Ad revenue is expected to reach $7 billion in 2018.

Source:    Sprout Social


48. Twitter - On the low end, 14% of adults over 50 use Twitter, while 45% of adults 18 to 24 do. The most active Twitter users are Millennials.

49. Twitter has more than 300 million monthly active users, of which 261 million are outside the U.S.

50. Twitter users generate hundreds of millions of tweets daily. accessing the app mostly from their mobile devices .  Nearly 40% of Twitter users are following brands.

51. Most Twitter users are educated. 24% of Americans who have attended college use Twitter, and 28% of Americans who earned their college degree use Twitter.

52. More than 55% of Twitter users earn at least $50,000 a year in income.

53. Twitter is a go-to source for trending news and discovery.  

Source:   Sprout Social


Side note: When Slack went down in May 2018, I was one of many Slack’s users who learned of the outage when the #Slackdown hashtag started trending on Twitter.



54. Snapchat - On the low end, 7% of adults over 50 use Snapchat, while 78% of adults 18 to 24 do.

55. Snapchat is the most popular social media platform for Gen Zers between the ages of 12 and 17. Part of the platform’s charm is its utter reliance on user-generated content (UGC). The app’s entire culture is built on the originality you get when 300 million users create original content about themselves and their lives for their friends.

56. In Q1 of 2018, Snapchat had 191 million daily active users. To put that in perspective, Facebook - the most popular social media platform - has 1.45 billion daily active users. But 71% of 18 to 24 year-olds report using Snapchat multiple times a day.

57. More than 10 billion mobile videos are watched on the platform every day.

58. Activewear (90% of activewear companies surveyed have Snapchat profiles), beauty (78%), fashion (78%), and retail (56%) are the top four verticals with profiles on Snapchat.  




59. The 200 million monthly Pinterest users are a 70/30 split between women and men, but the platform is diversifying - half of new signups are male.

60. Speaking of half… Half of Millennials use Pinterest every single month. And half of Pinterest users are outside the U.S.

61. One final half for you. Half of Pinterest users have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin.  

62. Over 80% of pins are re-pins compared to 1.4% of tweets retweeted.    

63. Pinterest is the inspiration platform. People go to Pinterest to find and curate ideas on everything from home decor and starting a blog, to hairstyles and keto diet meal prep. More than 60% of Pinterest users say the platform helps them find ideas to be their best selves.

64. Forty percent of users have a household income of $100K+

65. Twenty-four percent of Pinterest users say the platform is a great place to “shop the look,” according to KP Internet Trends 2017.

66. Pinterest users are buyers who are ready to buy. They spend 16% more on cosmetics than people not on Pinterest. They spend 29% more on retail than those not on the platform. They spend 27% more on home decor than people not on Pinterest. And they spent 30% more on fashion than people not on the platform.

67. Sixty percent of Pinterest households have children 5 and under.

68. The lionshare of Pinterest users (80%) are accessing the platform from mobile devices.



69. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 562 million users  across 200 countries, including decision makers from every Fortune 500 Company. LinkedIn users span across generations. The 18 to 29 crowd represents nearly a quarter of LinkedIn users, 61% of LinkedIn users are 30 to 64 years old, and 21% of LinkedIn users are over the age of 65.

70. There are more male-identified users (56%) on LikedIn than female users (44%).

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71. Half of college-educated adults in the U.S. say they use Linkedin, compared to only nine percent for high school graduates who have no college experience.

72. Three in four LinkedIn users make more than $50,000 a year.

73. While it’s not really set up like other social networks, LinkedIn users are not immune to user-generated content and recommendations from friends. Half of B2B buyers rely on LinkedIn to make their purchasing decisions, and when they do, 76% use recommendations from their professional networks to make those purchases.

74. As you could probably imagine, 70% of LinkedIn users are from countries outside the U.S. The top 5 home countries of LInkedIn users are the United States, India, Brazil, Great Britain, and Canada.

Reciprocity in Social Media

Social media users tend to use more than one platform (called reciprocity), with younger users typically having the most social media accounts. Of the top 7 platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest):

75. Nearly 3 in 4 social media users (73%) use more than one platform.

76. The average American uses three social media platforms.

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The old adage for marketers is to never put all of your marketing resources into one platform. It only takes one update to the algorithm to render your hard work null and void. So, it’s important to know not just your audience’s favorite platform, but any reciprocal platforms where users tend to hang out.

In general, having an account with any platform increases the likelihood of also using Facebook and YouTube. Beyond Facebook and YouTube, the most popular combinations of social media reciprocity are:

77. Sixty percent of Instagram users also use Snapchat, but they are less likely to use LinkedIn (41%).

78. Seventy-three percent of Twitter users also use Instagram. They are less likely to use Pinterest (49%).

79. Most Facebook users also use YouTube (87%) and Instagram (47%). They are less likely to use Twitter (32%).

80. Seventy-seven percent of Snapchat users also use Instagram, but they are far less likely to use LinkedIn (37%).

81. Eighty-one percent of YouTubers also use Facebook (81%). They are least likely to use Twitter (31%).

82. Fifty-six percent of Pinterest users also use Instagram. They are least likely to use Twitter (41%).

83. Fifty-seven percent of LinkedIn users also use Instagram. They are less likely to use Snapchat (40%).


When Are They There?

Most social media users check the social feeds on their favorite platforms more than once a day. Which platform is the favorite?

84. Facebook is still the clear favorite across age groups, according to Sprout Social. A little over 65% of Baby Boomers peg Facebook as their favorite social media platform. And 64.7% of Gen Xers say Facebook is their favorite social media platform, compared with 33% of Millennials. One in four younger Millennials (18 to 24 years old) list Instagram as their favorite platform.

85. Half of all Facebook users say they access the platform more than once a day.

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User-Generated Content

The content generated by influencers during a campaign is the most valuable asset brands get from influencer marketing. Content is what makes an influencer, and it’s also the tool used to reach and engage followers.

86. When done right, user-generated content can generate nearly 7X higher engagement than brand generated content on Facebook

87. Thirty-seven percent of consumers think quality of the content overrides the fact that it’s a sponsored post. Thirty-four percent of consumers don’t even mind if they’re reading sponsored content, as long as the content is useful.

88. The celebrity endorsement isn’t what it used to be. Pets can outperform celebrities when it comes to influencer marketing. While 3% of people said they would consider buying a product in-store after a celebrity endorsement, 10% of 18 to 24 year-olds said they were likely to buy a product endorsed by a famous pet influencer.

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89. According to Kissmetrics, "25% of search results for the World's Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content."

90. 57% of consumers have purchased a holiday gift after reading a product review on social media.

91. 30% of US buyers have made a purchase based on sponsored content.

92. Live streaming is expected to be worth a $70.05 billion by 2021, as video content .

93. 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.


94. Facebook users spend 3X more time watching live videos than traditional videos.



Proof of Success

For all the fuss it’s making in the digital marketing space right now (I’m so over the term “disruptive”) influencer marketing is still being qualified with words like “nascent” and “emerging.” This thing is still pretty new.

Marketers are seeing results, but they do need help finding ways to get the intel they need to make the best marketing decisions, and they need to find ways to refine the collection process so the data is usable. Typical big data issues: How do we get it? And once we have it, what do we do with it?

I’ll raise you one big, fat question... How do we know if we’re winning? And who else is winning at this?

95. 84% of marketers believe influencer marketing is effective.

96. A now-legendary influencer marketing study published by Tomoson found that businesses make $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. That was in 2015. Just this week, Marketing Week published a stat saying beauty influencers are generating a return of $11.74 for each $1 a brand spends on influencer marketing. 

97. Similarly, $7.65 is the Average Earned Media value per $1 spent on influencer marketing, according to MarketingProfs.com.

98. Big brands having been successfully leveraging influencer marketing on social for years. Companies like Target, H&M, Adidas, Live Nation (our client), Lord & Taylor, Marvel (did you see their Valentine’s Day campaign promoting the DVD release of Doctor Strange?),  Samsung, American Express, Toyota, Hanes (our client), Fairmont, Famous Footwear (client), Neutrogena, Microsoft, Eos (client), and Ticketmaster (client) are just a handful of the brands partnering with influencers to reach audiences.

99. Authenticity is the one thing that keeps followers engaged on social media. Of 1,752 influencers surveyed, the most popular response for why their followers remain engaged was: “I am myself, honest, funny, open, willing to call it how I see it.”

100. By far, the most common way of measuring success in an influencer marketing campaign is engagement (59%), followed by conversion / revenue (21%), then amplification / brand awareness (15%)

101. Nevertheless, most brands have traditionally (like, over the last 3 years - that kind of tradition) used influencer marketing campaigns specifically to increase brand awareness. This is due in large part to the fact that earned media value (impressions) played a bigger role in measuring ROI than engagement and conversions.

BUT according to this piece published on Forbes.com by the Forbes Agency Council…

102. When measured with loyalty card data, influencer content can drive sales and increase basket size.

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103. Influencer marketing directly impacts sales through redemptions for promotional offers.

104. Using point of sale (POS) data, influencer marketing can drive true measurable sales lift.

105. When measured with foot traffic data, influencer marketing increases engagement.

In general...

106. The average Instagram user gets just over 4% engagement per post.

107. But as the number of followers increases, engagement ratio decreases. So, when hiring a macro or mega influencer for your campaign, a good rule of thumb is to ensure the influencer consistently garners around 2% engagement.

108. Social media spend in the US topped $13B in 2017.

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Source: Google Trends

109. 39% of marketers planned to increase their influencer marketing budget for 2018, according to Statista.

110. A year ago, the term “influencer marketing” ranked 40 out of 100 for Google search popularity globally, and 56 out of 100 for in the United States. Today, it ranks 72 out of 100 worldwide, and 96 out of 100 in the United States.

111. By the year 2020, global spending on influencer marketing is expected to reach anywhere from $5B to $10B.

The Wrap Up

When Instagram broke the Internet by selling to Facebook for a billion dollars just 18 months after it launched, I don’t think we really pictured that six years later, the app would play host to a two billion-dollar influencer marketing industry (of which Instagram alone is responsible for  $1 billion dollars). But here we are.

In a very short time, influencer marketing has gone from being a fad to being an important part of marketers’ core digital marketing strategies for reaching Gen Xers and Millennials. And brands and marketers have had to learn the influencer marketing game on the fly.

But as the masses continue to move away from relying on TV and radio for entertainment, and replace TV time with online streaming and social media, marketers - as marketers tend to do - are getting better at finding ways get brands in front of buyers, and do so across multiple social media platforms through influencer marketing.

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Do you want to work with influencers?

Heads up! The summer fun is afoot, and that means a couple of things: First, it’s the summer travel season, but it’s also the time for back-to-school shopping. And if you’re not on top of this, you’re going to miss the boat. The Shelf is an influencer marketing platform that takes away the guesswork. With our patent-pending ROI-prediction reports, you’ll be able to understand exactly who’s representing your brand and whether or not your collaboration with them will pay off. Contact us if you want to make a ton of money from your marketing efforts.

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