Influencer marketing spend in 2017 was more than $69,000 per campaign, on average—an increase of 35.3 percent over the average in 2016, according to the newly released fifth annual Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report from ad-engagement firm RhythmOne.

As for platforms, Instagram Stories and Snapchat—utilized by 19.2 percent of all campaigns in 2017—proved to be significant drivers of engagement among influencer marketing campaigns that leveraged Influencer Social Ads.

In addition, the practice has gotten significantly more affordable for marketers and agencies—the Cost-Per-Engagement (CPE) was $0.28 across all influencer marketing campaigns last year, a figure that has decreased by about 70 percent from the 2016 CPE average of $0.93.

Influencer marketing benchmarks—spend increased, rates stabilized in 2017

The report provides insights into ROI and best practices based on an in-depth analysis of 74 U.S.-based campaigns that ran and were completed between January and December 2017.

The 2017 report provides benchmarks for key performance indicators across industry categories, including Earned Media Value (EMV), Cost-Per-Engagement (CPE), Engagement Rate (ER), and Social Media Listening (e.g., brand lift and positive sentiment) to measure program ROI and efficacy. The new report also includes Sharing Analytics and Dark Social metrics to highlight extended campaign reach and engagement.

Key insights include:

  • The Engagement Rate across all influencer marketing campaigns was 8.20 percent, on average—an increase of more than 4x over the 2016 ER average of 2.01 percent.
  • Advertisers that ran an influencer marketing program for two or more weeks saw an average increase of 14.78 percent in brand mentions and an 8.73 percent increase in positive brand sentiment, as compared to mentions and sentiment prior to the campaign flight.
  • Advertisers in select categories that have commoditized products generally found success with engagement when influencers showcased the products and branded content in highly creative, DIY-style applications.

Influencer marketing benchmarks—spend increased, rates stabilized in 2017

Influencer marketing continues to gain momentum with advertisers looking to engage targeted, quality audiences at scale

“The influencer space is becoming an increasingly important part of our clients’ media mix as a way to be relevant, break through the clutter, and become part of the conversation in an authentic way,” said Anne Heinze, associate director of influencer strategy at Haworth Marketing + Media, in a news release.

“This year’s Benchmarks Report results serve to reinforce the power of Influencer Marketing as a critical component of our clients’ marketing plans,” said Katie Paulsen, VP of influencer marketing at RhythmOne, in the release. “The year-over-year increase in average campaign ROI not only validates the success of the campaigns we’ve run to date, but it’s fueling future investment and growth in Influencer Marketing as a core component of brands’ digital marketing strategies.”

Download the full report here.

Over the course of the year, RhythmOne ran Influencer Marketing campaigns with 66 unique brands spanning 19 advertiser categories, employing over 1,550 influencers who created more than 8,700 pieces of content, in aggregate. The full report highlights aggregate campaign results, includes category-specific benchmarks across key verticals, and showcases success stories in the home & garden and travel & tourism categories.

Influencer marketing benchmarks—spend increased, rates stabilized in 2017

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