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Influencers Set For $1B+ Payday On Instagram, Despite FTC Warning Bells

For better or worse, brand-backed influencers seem to be obsessed with Instagram.

In fact, a new survey shows that 92% of influencers say the Facebook unit is their main focus these days.

The survey was conducted by micro-influencer marketing firm #Hashoff, which is backed by ex-agency chiefs David Verklin, Steve Farella and Mike Lotito.

By 2019, the sponsorship money Instagram influencers get is on pace to more than double -- from about $1 billion this year to nearly $2.4 billion -- according to recent estimates from Mediakix.

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Unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission is threatening to spoil the party for influencers if they don't do a better job of disclosing their financial arrangements with sponsors. 

Just last week, the agency said it contacted 90 or so Instagram influencers and warned them they should be more transparent.

Still, with $1 billion-plus at stake, the number of brand-sponsored influencer posts on Instagram is on track to more than double, from 14.5 million this year, to 32.3 million, in 2019.

That poses a problem for Instagram, because many users essentially see sponsored posts as a form of spam.

Bigger picture, Facebook is increasingly relying on Instagram to drive revenue growth. In fact, the picture-based network will make up 20% of Facebook’s domestic mobile revenue this year -- up from 15%, last year -- eMarketer estimates.

That, of course, has meant more ads. Showing the extent to which the once ad-shy platform has gone commercial, Instagram even recently began rolling out full-screen, “sound-on,” auto-play ads in Stories.

As of March, Instagram's global community exceeded 600 million users.

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