A quick glance at any social feed shows influencer marketing on the rise, and eMarketer reports that 70 percent of U.S. agencies and brand marketers will likely increase influencer marketing budgets this year. But how can brands effectively implement an influencer strategy? Where are consumers most likely to discover new products? And how do consumers really feel about seeing ads in their feed?

Instagram has gotten most of the influencer attention, but is that truly where brands want to primarily be?

In a new survey, retail-focused digital marketing agency CPC Strategy asked 1,500 shoppers how they define “influencers” on social media, what makes an influencer trustworthy, and how likely they are to act on an influencer’s recommendation. The research uncovered some unexpected results—including the eye-popping statistic that 70 percent of consumers are most likely to hear about new products, services or events from people they follow on Facebook.

New report says Instagram has been dethroned as king of influencer marketing

The firm’s report, 2018 U.S. Influencer Marketing Report: The Rise of Micro-Influencers and How Consumer Trust Drives Sales, drills down into the data by age and gender, and reveals where brands should prioritize their resources when developing an influencer strategy.

“If our Influencer Marketing study had one underlying theme, it’s that Facebook is the king of Influencer Marketing, and Instagram the Queen,” said Nii Ahene, COO and cofounder of CPC Strategy, in a news release. “Nearly 70 percent of our survey respondents claimed they’re more likely to hear about new products, services, and events on Facebook than anywhere else. And the most impressive part? Users know they’ll see streams of products and events in their feeds, and they’re coming back for more—making Facebook (and Instagram, coming in at 11 percent) the prime location to invest in influencer marketing.”

New report says Instagram has been dethroned as king of influencer marketing

The research validates the rise of micro influencers

Beginning with the most basic question, how consumers define “influencer,” the study finds that micro-influencers—individuals with a smaller but more engaged and trusting follower base—have huge value for influencer marketers. Fewer than 20 percent of survey participants defined influencers as celebrities, while the remaining 80+ percent defined an influencer as a person with a lot of followers on a social channel or anyone who promotes a product on their social channel.

New report says Instagram has been dethroned as king of influencer marketing

Other key findings of the report:

  • Nearly 40 percent of consumers can’t tell if a post is sponsored
  • 44 percent of consumers are open to recommendations by influencers
  • 28.4 percent of consumers feel paid promotions are out of place on their news feed

So what can brands take away from this research?

Trust is everything. When brands invest in influencers who consumers trust, and utilize platforms their target audience use most often to discover new products and services, influencer marketing offers a powerful and cost-effective way to generate brand awareness and increase sales.

Download the full report here.

New report says Instagram has been dethroned as king of influencer marketing

Commissioned by CPC Strategy and conducted by Survata, the survey asked 1,500 online respondents ages 18-65 a series of questions, including how consumers determine whether a post is sponsored, how consumers feel about seeing ads in their social media feeds, and what products and services consumers have purchased based on an influencer’s social media post.

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