The holiday season is just around the corner, and it promises to be one of the biggest shopping seasons yet. According to PwC, spending is going up 10% this year, and both mobile and digital sales will be up about 25%. With more and more stores breaking tradition and closing on Thanksgiving this year, retailers and commerce companies are looking to digital to find holiday shoppers.
As brands ramp up advertising dollars for record-breaking holiday spending, HelloSociety wanted to take a look at how influencer engagement changes over the holidays and see which kind of influencers generate the most engagement.
We queried our database of proprietary campaign data to collect average likes, comments, mentions, tags and latest follower count for each Instagram influencer in a pool of approximately 300 HelloSociety Instagram users. The sum of likes, comments, mentions and tags (i.e. engagement) was then divided by followers to calculate engagement rates. Engagement rates were then averaged across different follower-size silos.
For this study, we defined the holiday season as November 1 through December 31. The rest of the year is defined as January 1 through October 31. Holiday data was taken in 2015 and non-holiday data was collected in 2016.
We found engagement with Instagram influencers increases during the holidays. During the non-holiday period, we saw an average engagement rate of 3.8%, which amplifies to 4.3% during the holiday time. This is of critical value for brands that are interested in boosting their presence among highly-engaged, and focused audiences during this specific time of year.
Most assume that an influencer with a bigger audience equals greater engagement with brands. When we explored the data, what we found was surprising: influencers with smaller followings created the most engagement. Influencers with 35k-500k followers generate between 2.3 and 2.5% engagement. When you look at influencers with more than 500,000 followers, that engagement drops to just 1.6% or less. The full findings are in the chart below:
HelloSociety campaigns stand out in the coveted 35K to 500K followers segment. This is a sweet spot for the industry because it brings in both a high number of impressions and a strong, well-engaged audience. Additionally, these influencers maintain high levels of interaction through likes, views, shares and conversations within the comments section to keep brand-to-consumer dialogue flowing.
With overall engagement set to spike during the holidays, now is the time for brands to consider investing in influencer marketing. Brands can benefit from working with influencers in these smaller audience-size ranges, because evidence shows that overall engagement during this time is higher.
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