Today’s episode shares our latest data on 2022 industry engagement benchmarks, how to assess your own performance, and the right questions to ask brands to improve. You can submit your questions here.
This episode includes:
2022 Instagram engagement benchmarks: sponsored vs. organic
How to set goals for yourself
Questions to ask brands that will help you improve
Why James isn’t a fan of April Fool’s
2022 engagement benchmarks
James Nord: Welcome, Negronis with Nord, episode number 10. We have a very special guest here. Charlie Bird, is in the house. He is going to talk us through engagement benchmarks today. Charlie, what do you think? So much the platform is changing, right? And people don't know what is good engagement, what is bad engagement? What do you think is the way to go? Oh. Oh yes, that's very nice, okay. But what we are talking about today is engagement benchmarks. I had a question and somebody said,
Viewer question: "I'd love to know what your thoughts are on engagement benchmarks given much of the platform has changed recently and posts performed so differently."
That is true, right? Instagram is constantly releasing new things. We know that when they release those things, the algorithm changes generally. But also we know that in the beginning of them trying to make that feature or that new form of content happen, they are optimizing it in the algorithm, right? They did it with video. They did it with IGTV. They did it with Reels.
These benchmarks and things are changing. Also, engagement gets harder. A platform gets older as people become, I think more and more numb to the content that they're seeing but also there's more people and there's more competition for their attention. If you joined Instagram eight years ago and let's say there were 100 million people on it. And now there's 1.3 billion, right? It's a much more competitive market for people's attention than it was when there were only 100 million people. All of these things combined to create a situation where engagement is always changing. It's important to understand where fellow creators are, what their engagement is. I'm just going to go follow account and engagement number for a few you of these.
James: Okay. So we're starting at 5% is the high. And once we get over a million, it goes down to 1%, pretty big difference, 5X difference. Then you can also look at sponsored content. Really interesting that sponsored content for people from one to 5,000 followers has a hiring engagement rate than organic content. Few reasons for this one, there's a lot less of it. So it's easier to have a higher average because there is less sponsored content in that one to 5k range. When you are a smaller creator, just starting out, your audience gets really excited when you get a sponsored post. They feel like that's a big moment for you. It's something that they want to celebrate. We've seen this happen over and over again so that makes sense. From 5,000 to 100,000 followers, the engagement rate is about 20% worse on sponsored content than it is on non-sponsored content.
And when we get to 100K and above, it gets about 100% worse. Generally you're looking at sponsored content under 100 K performing 20% worse, above 100 K performing 100% worse. Right? And look, those benchmarks are important for you to understand where you are at, in comparison to the tens of thousands of other creators, hundreds of thousands. This is just from the four platform, the tens of thousands of other creators that are at a similar following size to you, but it is not actually the most interesting question and the right way to think about this. We've got a whole webinar that we had done a couple of weeks ago around this exact topic. And the way we framed it was how fast can a person run a mile? Are they a professional athlete? Are they 50 years old or 20 years old? So the question isn't so much how fast can a person run a mile, but how fast can you run a mile?
What you track is what you change
It's about benchmarking yourself first. You want to look at what your engagement rate is, and then think about how much you can raise it. What your engagement rate today is, is the baseline. And what you want to do is set a goal of where you want it to be. And then when you set that goal, how are you going to raise it? Right? What are you going to do every week to get a little bit better? We have talked about the importance of goals and tracking your performance. What you track is what you change. That's something that's talked about a lot in business, right? If you're not tracking a metric, you're not focused on it and you probably won't change it. We have an example in the marketing team, much of which are in this room right now.
It's about benchmarking yourself first. You want to look at what your engagement rate is, and then think about how much you can raise it.
Last year at some point we said we want to triple the amount of inbound leads that are coming to the business in a quarter. It was amazing by tracking that every week. Looking at the numbers, figuring out where we needed to go, coming up with initiatives to impact that number. We were able to triple the amount of people coming into the business saying that they were interested in potentially working with us. So if your engagement's at 2% today and you want it at 4% in six months, what are you going to do to change it? I'm going to spend an hour a day engaging with my followers, whatever it is, whatever the experiments are, whatever makes sense for you. Again, the benchmark isn't important. What is important is how far you can get away from your personal benchmark. You know what you can do to increase your engagement rate.
You want to be great. I cannot stress enough the magic of tracking this stuff. Taking it seriously, setting goals, checking in on yourself once a week. We generally with our clients de-emphasize engagement rates. It does drive the algorithm. And so it is important and it is directly tied to the number of people that are going to see your content. So take this seriously, really try stuff I mentioned and shared the sponsored engagement rates and how those change, right?
Questions to ask your clients to measure success
Ask the client what success is. Right. I know we've talked about this in the past video, but if bears repeating, if you don't know what success is, if you don't know what the goal of the campaign is, then you cannot create content that is going to achieve that brand's goal. What's the main KPI for this campaign. Oh, it's traffic. Okay. Well, I'm going to create very different content if I'm driving traffic.
Also in that same email, ask the brand, what has worked in the past? Has there been any content that influencers have done in the past that has performed extraordinarily well? Is there anything that you find in your ads or your own social channels that does really well? Of course, I'm speaking as you the influencer. Now of course, I'm going to put my spin on it, but it's always helpful to know from the brands. What, if anything has worked in the past? What if anything has really not worked in the past, right? Not to say that those things will be true for your audience, but one, it makes you look really good to the brand, but two, you might learn something and it might help you get above. Now, the last thing you do after the campaign, ask how you did. Ask for a report card.
It was always interesting for me as a photographer when I was still shooting and I would go on these trips with five other photographers, I felt like it was in Death match. It was like a cage match, MMA fight or something. There's a lot of other influencers on the same campaign, with the same brief and the same product and the same set of goals. And so ask the client, how did I do? Actually you performed in the bottom third. Okay. Well now, one, that gives you an interesting thing to understand. Is it that your audience wasn't connecting with it or was it the wrong content? Two, if you want to work with that brand again, now you've just learned you didn't perform that well.
So if you want to work with them again, you may want to do a bonus post or something because they just told you blew it. You can now understand that and do something about it to try and retain that client. Not enough people are asking for a report card. Are reaching out to the brand and saying, "How did I do?" And you can learn so much from it.
As always you can ask us questions and we will answer them. And maybe next week I'll bring Charlie back. He wasn't hugely helpful this episode but math is not really his thing. So maybe next week he can provide a little more context. Cheers.