As a content creator, do you ever wonder what engagement rates and reach brands expect in collaborations on Instagram?

To help you understand what they’re looking for, we’re breaking down our newly released Instagram Benchmarks Report 2019. In this report, we’ve analyzed over 2,000 collaborations that occurred on our platform between January 2018 to January 2019. Based on this data, we’ve created benchmarks that brands can use to determine whether their collaborations were a success.

Here’s what we found!

What do our findings show?

Depending on their campaign goals, brands will choose to partner up with creators who perform as well as, or better, than the benchmarks listed below. If brands are looking to reach many people, they’ll likely choose to work with macro-creators. If they’re looking to engage with potential consumers, they’ll turn to micro-creators.

Sponsored posts perform just as well as non-sponsored posts

We compared the average engagement rates of sponsored and non-sponsored posts of each creator. We found that sponsored content is capable of performing just as well as non-sponsored content.

If you find your sponsored content performing considerably worse than your ordinary content, it may indicate that you’ve partnered with a brand that doesn’t pique your follower’s interest!

Pro-tip: Don’t hesitate to work with brands you love! If you schedule your sponsored content well and choose to work with brands you genuinely believe in, your engagement shouldn’t decrease.

Micro-creators generally perform better than macro-creators

At inzpire.me, we define micro-creators as creators with 10,000 followers or less. Macro-creators are creators with 100,000 followers or more.

In our analysis, we found that micro-creators tend to reach a larger proportion of their followers with Instagram posts and stories. They also tend to receive higher engagement rates than macro-creators.

When we look at Instagram posts, creators with 2-5k followers have an average engagement rate of 7.7%, and reach about 42% of their audience. When their follower size increases to 100k or more, their engagement rate drops to an average of 1.6%, and they reach approximately 20% of their audience.

This difference can be a result of Instagram’s algorithm, which seeks to build a personalized Instagram feed for users. Because micro-creators reach a higher proportion of their audience, it’s likely easier for them to develop close relationships with their followers. Their relationships help them generate more interactions — likes and comments — with their posts. Based on this behavior, Instagram’s algorithm will treat the micro-creators’ posts favorably by placing them at the top of the Instagram feed, rather than the bottom.

With Instagram stories, creators who have 2-5k followers reach about 17.5% of their audience, while those with 100k or more followers reach 2.8% of their audience. Stories may experience a drop in reach because they expire within 24 hours, and only a small proportion of your followers may see them before they’re gone.

Macro-creators still reach more people in absolute numbers

Though macro-creators reach a smaller proportion of their audience, they still reach more people because of the sheer number of followers they have.

How to improve your engagement on Instagram

Want to improve your engagement on Instagram? Here are 9 tips you can use:

  1. Constantly monitor and measure your engagement. By doing this, you’ll be able to see what type of content is performing better than others. It’ll help you understand what content you should be posting more of. You should also compare your engagement against the benchmarks above to determine whether your performance improves.

  2. Write great captions. Captions don’t need to be extremely long, but they should be more than an emoji. You can try sharing a story about the content or share valuable tips. Whatever caption you decide to share, be sure to encourage your followers to interact with you by posing a question or asking your users to tag a friend who may enjoy the post.

  3. Include yourself in more of your photos. After all, Instagram photos with faces generate 38% more likes than photos without them.

  4. Publish your content at optimal times. If you have an Instagram Business account, you can check Insights to find information that shows you when your followers are most active. You’ll then be able to schedule your posts to go out at a time when your followers are likely to engage.

  5. Reply to comments and DMs. Engaging in conversations with your followers will incentivize them to leave more comments and DMs. It’ll also help you develop great relationships with them!

  6. Search for quality accounts in your category and engage with the content your fellow creators publish. By interacting with those accounts, you’ll be seen by users who engage with content that’s similar to your own. This may increase your number of profile visits and, in turn, your engagement.

  7. Use hashtags to make your content more discoverable. Users can choose to follow hashtags that align with their interests. If you impress them with your content, they may choose to give you a follow and like! Learn more about the most popular hashtags here.

  8. Add a location to your content. Your content will be searchable by location, so anyone who searches for the location will be able to see your Instagram posts and stories. This will help you reach new audiences and potentially engage them.

  9. Use questions and stickers in your Instagram stories. Instead of just commenting and liking your posts, you can encourage your audience to ask you questions or share their feedback.

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