These Brands Are Winning When It Comes to Influencer Marketing

Brands are tapping into the power of social media influencers more than ever before — and for some, the strategy is paying off big time.

The top 20 performing brands generated nearly $3 billion in Instagram Earned Media Value last year, according to a new report by InfluencerDB. For 2018, the top 5 brands were Fashion Nova, Gucci,, Zara and Nike.

Earned Media Value is a metric that measures how much a brand earns through a mention or tag in an influencer’s post; it tracks how much a company would have to spend to get the same amount of eyes on a traditional Instagram ad.

Fashion Nova generated more than half a billion dollars in EMV in 2018 — three times higher than second place Gucci. The fast-fashion brand has an impressive roster of influencers that include Kardashian-Jenners and Cardi B, with whom it has worked on two collaborations.

Gucci earned $192,365,466 in EMV. The Italian label was not the only high-end name to make the top 20, with Dior and Saint Laurent snagging the No. 6 and No. 15 spots on InfluencerDB’s list, respectively.

While Nike was the only athletic wear giant to land in the top 5, Adidas Originals fell not far behind to nab place No. 10. Adidas Football also made the top 20 with spot No. 16. Both brands have big names on their rosters, with Nike counting top athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo (Instagram’s most-followed user) and LeBron James.

Meanwhile, Adidas taps into the Kardashian-Jenner power through partnerships with Kylie and Kendall Jenner (each with over 100 million followers), as well as rappers such as Childish Gambino and Yeezy creative director Kanye West.

Although Fashion Nova, Nike and Adidas benefit from relationships with mega influencers, it’s not just the big names that have value. Roughly 25% of the top three brands’ partnerships came with micro influencers — suggesting that companies ought to invest both in influencers both big and small.

With Instagram hitting a whopping 1 billion users in 2018, there’s no doubt that influencers can reach wide audiences. But are consumers still into influencers?

An August 2018 study by Bazaarvoice demonstrated that influencer marketing is falling out of favor with consumers — with 63% of online audiences saying that influencer content is “too materialistic” and “misrepresenting real life.” Consumers have also spoken out in favor of greater regulations in influencer marketing.

Despite some consumer backlash, companies seemed to ramp up their influencer marketing efforts in the second half of the year: InfluencerDB found that two-thirds of EMV for 2018 was generated in the third and fourth quarters.

See the EMV for the top 5 brands:

Fashion Nova: $587,994,714

Gucci: $192,365,466 $181,592,885

Zara: $175,965,856

Nike: $168,370,842

Below, watch Something Navy’s Arielle Charnas discuss her secret to Instagram success.

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