Did Sponsored Content Really Drop In 2020?

There were 2.4 million sponsored posts using the #ad hashtag on Instagram in 2020, down from three million in 2019, according to research from social media company Klear.

However, this drop does not necessarily indicated that sponsored content and paid partnerships declined in 2020.

Although #ad has long been the best way to identify sponsored content on Instagram, especially because it was the most common way to comply with Federal Trade Commission regulations, influencers are increasingly less transparent about their collaborations. According to FTC regulations, it is up to the influencer to disclose paid collaborations not the platform.

Other news from the study:

Social media influencers continue to switch platforms. There was a 130% increase in TikTok sponsorship between 2019 and 2020. For every one creators participated in two years ago, they created 2.3 posts last year. Sponsored stories increased 32% from an average of 28.8 stories a week in 2019 to 38.1 sponsored stories a week in 2020.

Gen Z influencer are rising.  When comparing influencers creating #ad content in 2020 to #ad content in 2019, Klear tracked a 9% increase in Gen Z’s market share. In 2020 influencers aged 18-24 made up 34% of the influencer industry, compared to 31% in 2019.

The top three categories participating in sponsored content are fashion, fitness and photography. Unsurprisingly due to COVID-19, travel and food experienced the most declines in paid posts.

Klear’s study analyzed 5,000 influencers across social media networks over the past year.

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