- Instagram is testing out "creator account" profiles that are aimed at the community of social influencers. The accounts provide influencers with specialized software tools to help them manage a following on the Facebook-owned image-sharing app, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
- The creator accounts provide more data about follows and unfollows, direct-messaging filters to highlight notes from brand partners and friends, and labels that let creators choose how to be contacted. Instagram is testing the features with a small beta group before rolling them out to a wider community next year.
- Ashley Yuki, an Instagram product manager who oversees media solutions, said the company wants to make its platform "the best place, and the easiest place, to build fan communities and also build [creators'] personal brands," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Instagram's test of specialized "creator accounts" for social influencers is a smart move for the platform, which is the No. 1 app for influencers. Almost all (93%) influencer campaigns use Instagram, about twice the share of Google's YouTube and Facebook's main social network, according to a study by CreatorIQ. Most influencers (80%) use Instagram as their primary network, and these new features could help Instagram hold on to its dominance of the influencer marketing space.
The influencer industry on Instagram is forecast to grow from $5.7 billion this year to $8.1 billion by 2020, based on estimates of earned media value (EMV) by researcher InfluencerDB. While the industry is growing, advertisers are seeking more transparency from influencers to ensure that they provide accurate data about their followers. Creator authentication requirements grew 60% during a six-month period this year, according to the CreatorIQ study. The average follower network of Instagram creators in influencer campaigns halved to 500,000 this year from 1 million in 2016 as Instagram scrubbed its platform of fake followers and bots.
Instagram, which this week created its first holiday gift guide based on trending hashtags, needs social influencers to help drive commerce amid worrisome signs that consumers have lost trust in social media. Social networks this year were the only digital marketing channel to show a decline in revenue per visit (RPV) among the traffic they drove to online merchants, according to an Adobe Analytics report. Fewer web users consulted social networks for gift ideas compared to two years ago, even as social media drove more visits to e-commerce sites, the study found. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat have developed more social commerce capabilities, but they still have to overcome consumer objections to making a purchase through their platforms.