In the Headlights, February 24, 2021: Instagram Influencers, Survey Samples, Data Analysis

Instagram Influencers, Survey Samples, Data Analysis

In The Headlights

Learn how to use social media data to improve your SEO in this new paper from Trust Insights and Talkwalker »

On Sampling Sizes

One of the questions we always tackle when it comes to the validity of data is whether or not a study is representative of the population we’re analyzing. For example, in an upcoming talk about Instagram for brands and influencers, we looked around to see what others had done. A prominent case study from a couple of years back examined 14 different brand accounts on Instagram and drew some conclusions about how often to post, what hashtags to use, etc.

You see the problem here, yes?

According to Brandwatch, as of 2019 there were 25 million brand accounts on Instagram. How many Instagram brand accounts would you need to analyze to have even a chance at a representative sample of brands? Using any of the sample size calculators on the web (like this one from Surveymonkey), with a 95% confidence interval (meaning you’d get the same results 95 out of 100 times if you re-ran your study) with a margin of error of +/- 3%, you would need 1,068 brand accounts in your study.

Fourteen brand accounts doesn’t cut it. And that’s with the most forgiving generally accepted parameters for a survey. Suppose you wanted greater accuracy, a smaller margin of error, like +/- 2%? You’d need more than double the number of brands, 2,401.

This is the great danger to look for when reading marketing case studies, surveys, and research. What’s the confidence level? What’s the margin of error?

For example, suppose a study makes the bold claim that 51% of brands use 3 hashtags to generate engagement. Which means 49% of brands use something other than 3 hashtags. On the surface, this sounds good, but if your margin of error is +/- 3%, then the results flipped would be equally statistically valid.

As we put together our presentation for what works on Instagram, we cranked up the data as much as our systems would allow, with over 4,000 brands and 11,000 influencers. For brands, that means we can make a claim of a margin of error around 1.5% at a 95% confidence interval. For influencers, based on eMarketer’s assessment of 500,000 influencers, that’s a margin of error less than 1%.

The key takeaway here is to beware studies that don’t disclose methodologies as well as sample sizes – and understanding the denominator of any study is essential to judging its credibility. If you’re just reading a study for idle curiosity, then don’t worry too much, but if you’re reading a study to inform decisions for your marketing, be diligent and thorough about vetting the study’s validity. Your marketing might depend on it.

The Bright Idea

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris discuss the different algorithms for identifying influencers on social media services and advantages/disadvantages of each. They look at network graphing databases and how many influencer identification tools struggle to correctly identify influencers based on business goals.

Watch/listen to this episode of In-Ear Insights here »

On last week’s So What? The Marketing Analytics and Insights Live show, we examined what happens when we data that doesn’t pan out, plus different approaches for dealing with poor quality marketing data!

Catch last week’s episode replay here »

Coming up on this week’s episode on Thursday at 1 PM Eastern, Katie and John will tackle podcast advertising best practices, including insider tips from one of the longest running, most successful marketing podcasts online – Marketing Over Coffee.

Are you subscribed to our YouTube channel? If not, click/tap here to subscribe!

Rear View Mirror Data

In this week’s Rear View Mirror, we’re taking a look at Instagram influencer engagement rates. How have influencers fared in the last 10 months since the pandemic began?

Instagram Influencer Rates

What we see is that influencers started off with about a 1.5% engagement rate at the beginning of the pandmic, which slipped during the fall, but came back in the winter holiday season and has remained relatively elevated since.

More critically, and the key takeaway this week, these engagement rates for influencers are 4 times as high as the same time period for brands. Influencers earn 4x engagement that brands do, even with comparable audiences. If you’re marketing on Instagram, influencer marketing has to be part of your strategy if engagement is your key outcome.

Methodology: Trust Insights used Facebook’s Crowdtangle software to extract 1,289,690 posts from 4,008 brands and 1,282,389 posts from 9,735 influencers. The dates of extraction are April 1, 2020 – February 14, 2021. The date of study is February 16, 2021. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors, and declares no competing interests.

In Case You Missed It
Partner Spotlight

Do you want to understand data science better as a marketer? Would you like to learn whether it’s the right choice for your career? Do you need to know how to manage data science employees and vendors? Take the Data Science 101 workshop from Trust Insights.

In this 90-minute on-demand workshop, learn what data science is, why it matters to marketers, and how to embark on your marketing data science journey. You’ll learn:

  • How to build a KPI map
  • How to analyze and explore Google Analytics data
  • How to construct a valid hypothesis
  • Basics of centrality, distribution, regression, and clustering
  • Essential soft skills
  • How to hire data science professionals or agencies

The course comes with the video, audio recording, PDF of the slides, automated transcript, example KPI map, and sample workbook with data.

Get your copy by clicking here or visiting »

Interested in sponsoring In The Headlights? Contact us for sponsorship options to reach over 16,000 analytically-minded marketers and business professionals every week.

Shiny Objects

Shiny Objects is a roundup of the best content you and others have written and shared in the last week.

Data Science and AI

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Social Media Marketing

Content Marketing

Join the Club

Are you a member of our free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers? Join 800+ like-minded marketers who care about data and measuring their success. Membership is free – join today. We also post hundreds of job openings sourced from around the Internet every Wednesday, so if you’re looking for work, join the Slack group!

Our Featured Partners are companies we work with and promote because we love their stuff. If you’ve ever wondered how we do what we do behind the scenes, chances are we use the tools and skills of one of our partners to do it.

Read our disclosures statement for more details.

Get Back To Work

We’ve changed things up in Get Back To Work, and we’re looking at the top 310 metro areas in the United States by population. This will give you a much better sense of what the overall market looks like, and will cover companies hiring in multiple locations. Get all the data in our Slack group!

Upcoming Events

Where can you find us in person?

  • Agorapulse Summit, February 2021, virtual
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, March 2021, virtual

Going to a conference we should know about? Reach out!

Want some private training at your company? Ask us!

Stay In Touch

Where do you spend your time online? Chances are, we’re there too, and would enjoy sharing with you. Here’s where we are – see you there?

FTC Disclosure

Some events and partners have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, Trust Insights receives financial compensation for promoting them. Read our full disclosures statement on our website.


Thanks for subscribing and supporting us. Let us know if you want to see something different or have any feedback for us!

Need help with your marketing data and analytics?

You might also enjoy:

Get unique data, analysis, and perspectives on analytics, insights, machine learning, marketing, and AI in the weekly Trust Insights newsletter, INBOX INSIGHTS. Subscribe now for free; new issues every Wednesday!

Click here to subscribe now »

Want to learn more about data, analytics, and insights? Subscribe to In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast, with new 10-minute or less episodes every week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This