- Organic reach for Facebook influencer content dropped an average of 23% over the past year, according to an analysis by the influencer marketing firm Whosay provided to Marketing Dive. Whosay examined 50 influencer campaigns across a variety of categories and which were marked with the #ad disclosure.
- Facebook reach declined across all of what Whosay calls influencer "talent levels." Reach was lowest for influencers with more than 5 million followers at 4.2%, followed by those with between 2.5 million and 5 million at 4.4%. Reach was 5.6% for influencers with 1 million to 2 million followers, 6.5% for those with 200,000 to 1 million and 7.5% for those with fewer than 200,000.
- Instagram, a separate photo-sharing app that is owned by Facebook, had the largest organic reach for influencers with 1 million to 2 million followers at 36.1%. Reach for all other talent level groups hovered at around 21% to 26.7% on Instagram.
A dip in reach is perhaps unsurprising given Facebook's tweaks to its algorithm at the beginning of the year to downplay organic posts by brand and publishers in favor of content from family and friends. However, the Whosay analysis might dispel some notions that those same algorithm changes would lead to a ramp up in influencer marketing on the platform, as posts by influencers are often shared in the same way as family and friend-created content. While marketers might be investing more in Facebook influencers, creators with large followings appear to be taking a greater hit to performance than in the past.
Regardless, Facebook has over the past several months built out tools to better accommodate influencers, who are incredibly popular on platforms like YouTube and Instagram but have not had as large of a presence in the Facebook news feed. Facebook in June officially launched Brand Collabs Manager, a search hub that lets creators connect with marketers that might be a good fit for branded content partnerships. At the same time, the platform rolled out more interactive tools for Live and on-demand video, including polling and gamification features targeted at these types of content creators.
The ding to organic reach might additionally reflect how more marketers are favoring quality and fit of followers over sheer quantity. In fact, 96% of surveyed multinational brands now cite "quality of followers" as their most important criteria when selecting influencer partners, according to a recent report by the World Federation of Advertisers. Transparency was another key concern highlighted in the report, especially since the FTC has strict requirements for brands around disclosing their influencer relationships. Hashtags, descriptions in posts or videos, paid partnership labels and verbal mentions are the main ways that brands identify their influencer posts.
Marketers may be enticed by large followings when selecting influencers, but research continues to emphasize that mid-tier talent can also show strong performance. The Whosay analysis follows a study by Fullscreen and Shareable from March that suggested influencers with audiences between 250,000 and 19.9 million outperformed both large celebrity ambassadors and smaller microinfluencers.