What are the industry standards for key metrics you can measure for Instagram based marketing campaigns? If you’re using influencers to raise awareness and drive adoption for your products and services, answers to these questions would seem relevant. You might be thinking, if you don’t know how the rest of the industry is performing how can you know if your campaign has been successful?

This is a dangerous hole to fall into.

You can spend countless hours searching the internet, asking colleagues and reading forums. At the end of that journey you’ll find one very important thing to be true: the algorithm is different for every single account on Instagram. Any benchmark that you can find will either be so general that it won’t apply to the specific instance you need, Instagram may have made changes to algorithm since that report, or it could set false expectations that could set your campaign up for disaster.

Even if you knew the average engagement rate for all influencers using Instagram, it would be near impossible to calculate near real-time averages that align with the specific aspects of your campaign like what is the best day and time for influencers in Chicago metro to share content about fine dining options using your branded hashtag with the logo included and hashtags that follow proper FTC guidelines.

The lift to calculate with that much specificity is incredible and the wrong place to start your planning.

Typically when a marketers are in search of industry benchmarks, either they are in the early stages of planning, or the real problem, their campaign is not performing to expectation and they are looking for a reason to justify the failure. The latter is a result of not properly planning how to be successful with influencer collaborations on Instagram.

What’s more valuable than knowing industry benchmarks for performance?

Goal setting for a campaign in conjunction with understanding how influencer marketing can help to achieve that goal. The problem with goal setting against industry benchmarks is that the Instagram algorithm is constantly developing and evolving. Therefore a benchmark today does not necessarily measure where things are tomorrow, next week or even an hour from now. Likewise a benchmark published yesterday does not necessarily reflect how things work today.

When your campaign, or post is isn’t performing well, it’s easy to blame this on an algorithm that can’t be influenced, the truth of the matter is three related things:

  1. There are more and more and more people joining Instagram every day. This means there’s more and more and more AND MORE content is being shared on the platform.

  2. There is a limited amount of time in which a person can spend with their attention on any platform, including Instagram, even if it’s their favorite social network.

  3. Attention is dictated on inventory. Said another way, if everyone who is buying advertising on Instagram decides that this coming Tuesday is the day that’s most relevant for them to place an ad, inventory for eyeballs decreases. Therefore organic post will perform worse simply because people spend more money.

There is no amount of strategy, data analysis or planning that can go into assuming performance of an organic post will win and does.

The way that brands win over time with influencer marketing, specifically on Instagram, is multiple impressions from the same sources. If an influencer recommends a product or service to their followers once, that establishes a certain level of trust with their followers. If they recommend that brand or company three, four ...nineteen times, it’s way more likely that their customers will adopt that sentiment.

More important than knowing industry benchmarks, is having a campaign goal and knowing how influencer marketing on Instagram can help you achieve that goal. Once you know that, you can search for influencers who match within your target audience, whose interests could align with your brand and would take the recommendation from an influencer they follow, even if they are being paid.

When you have a goal and know how to measure it then you can look at your average engagement rate, the engagement rates of the influencers you want to use and their cumulative engagement rate, and plan for a successful campaign.

And, if you are still looking for some benchmarks, here is a report called The State of Influencer Marketing that might help you think about how the value of influencer marketing can be measured against your campaign goals.

Rev Ciancio is a Senior Marketing, Branding and Digital Strategist with 20 years of experience, specializing in hospitality marketing, content and local SEO. He has led many clients to new levels of local, national and international success in the hospitality, financial service and entertainment sectors.

He is also former agency owner as well as a former New York City bar owner. Rev is an “expert burger taster” and pens hospitality and marketing tips on his Instagram @revciancio as well as his LinkedIn Profile.