By the very nature of what they do, influencers expose a part of themselves to the world – their passions, their talents, and their lives – but they don’t often talk about their experiences with influencer marketing. Whereas much ink has been spilled over how marketers employ influencer marketing, we were interested to hear from the influencers themselves.

In our second annual State of Influencers Report, we partnered with Lippe Taylor to survey 300 influencers across topic areas of interest and size of following. They generously shared their candid insights on influencer marketing and partnering with brands.

Our favorite takeaways boil down to three areas and an undeniable fact:

  • The Demographic trends we're seeing
  • The Motivations of the influencers
  • The Authenticity of an emerging profession

And, of course:

  • Instagram is king of social and digital platforms amongst influencers

Let's take a quick tour before you dive into the full State of Influencers Report 2019:

Demographics

Women still ‘own’ influencer marketing in a variety of aspects and female respondents were 10 percent more likely to be a full-time influencer. They also were the only ones to break $150,000 in annual revenue. But male influencers are becoming more common – representing almost a quarter of all our survey respondents this year – and men certainly have their niches.

Talking about niches, did you know that when presented with 14 popular verticals, most influencers share content across multiple topics of interest? Or that there are influencers for Disney, farming, fashion over 50, and cigars?

Download the State of Influencers Report 2019

Motivation

As a company that believes in the creative side of influencer marketing, we were especially pleased to see that influencers’ motivations are purer than they are often given credit for.

Although a large majority of influencers prefer to be compensated financially and annual revenues went up for exactly half of our respondents, creativity, sharing a passion or expertise, and building a personal brand are the leading motivations for being an influencer. Furthermore, being a fan of the brand they are promoting is very or extremely important for 80 percent of influencers.

Authenticity

We saw plenty of signs the field is maturing and being a full-time influencer is becoming a valid career option. If we had to put our finger on what is helping the industry reach this new level of sophistication, it would be influencer authenticity.

We found that influencers as a group have a strong sense of what's fraudulent or unethical when it comes to online behavior. With more than 80 percent of respondents using #ad, #sponsored, #brandpartner, or language like “I am partnering with” in their posts, there’s also widespread adherence to FTC guidelines. And finally, 61 percent of influencers are looking to build a long-term relationship with brands.

Instagram is king

There’s no denying it, Instagram is way ahead of the platform pack. The photo and video-sharing social networking service leads by a large margin in a number of areas, including platform notoriety, growth, engagement rates, and how it allows influencers to express themselves in an authentic way.

We also selected a number of emerging platform features and content types to gage influencer interest, and 52 percent of respondents are planning to use Instagram’s IGTV in the next 6-12 months, making it the most popular feature.

For all the stats and further analysis, download the full report now.