The ideal percentage of #sponsored Instagram posts

Sep 18, 2019

By James Nord

While they create content in different niches, April Kae and Matt Bernstein have one thing in common: they keep their sponsored posts to a minimum. Find out why this has been integral to their authenticity.

While they create content in different niches, April Kae and Matt Bernstein have one thing in common: they keep their sponsored posts to a minimum. Find out why this has been integral to their authenticity.

We’re all familiar with ad fatigue, even if we aren’t actively aware of it. It’s that point in an ad’s lifetime where you’ve seen it so many times it becomes less effective with each view, but recently I have been using it to explain the overabundance of sponsored content on an influencer’s feed and its impact on trust, engagement and effectiveness. 

About 18 months ago, we started tracking the percentage of an influencer's feed that is sponsored, and increasingly we are using those numbers to guide our strategic choices in suggesting influencers for brand partnerships. I believe there is a limit to the amount of sponsored posts an audience will tolerate and if an influencer crosses that line, it is very hard to win back their credibility and authenticity.

When speaking to influencers I use Game of Thrones as an analogy. GOT was at least for six seasons, great television, but how many of us would have sat through an hour of ads to watch an hour of GOT? By that measure, if you wouldn't watch GOT if it was 50% ads, then how can an influencer expect their audience to stay engaged if their feed is 50% sponsored? 

We recently launched a new design for our influencer profiles and for the first time, are now showing the % sponsored number to our brand clients. As a rule, we think that 25% is a healthy percentage of the feed to be sponsored, and generally recommend avoiding working with anyone who has over 40%. 

As a little treat, here are two examples of influencers who have extraordinarily high reach and a low % sponsored number, and we see these accounts as huge opportunities for brands to work with people who will have a lot of impact.

  1. Matt Bernstein: 55% average reach, 20% engagement 4.9% sponsored

  2. April Kae: 27% reach, 4.1% engagement, 5.9% sponsored 

Those are just two examples of accounts with impressive stats, there are hundreds of others on the site and our team would be happy to help you identify them.


This was originally sent as an email on July 18, 2019. To learn more on how brands can better navigate the influencer space, sign up to Fohr CEO James Nord’s weekly email here.

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