MILAN — It was inevitable for sponsored posts on Instagram to nosedive during the COVID-19 pandemic, but things started to look up in June, with a peak in July, thanks to Selena Gomez, Cristiano Ronaldo and a number of successful campaigns in the fashion and watches sectors.
According to DMR Group, which focuses on monitoring, tracking and analyzing data communication activities and public relations strategies for leading brands worldwide, in the February-to-August period, sponsored posts on Instagram were down an average 42 percent, while their relative engagement and reach decreased by 54 and 55 percent, respectively.
In its most recent study, “The Sponsored Post, Instagram at the Time of the Pandemic,” DMR underscored that the health emergency forced brands to rethink their communication strategies during the lockdown, cutting their paid sponsorships with digital creators, especially in the fashion sector.
In February, Instagram had 1,045 sponsored posts, but these were down 33 percent to 699 in August, despite a recovery in June.
There was a positive peak in July, thanks to Puma’s successful collaborations with Selena Gomez and Brazilian actress Bruna Marquezine, both in the top-five ranking of creators of sponsored content from March to August.
In this period, the Europe, Middle East and Africa region posted the highest decrease in sponsored posts on Instagram, down 51 percent. The Americas and the Asia Pacific region were down 27 and 34 percent, respectively, showing a more positive trend in quantity also in July and August.
Fashion, in average, reported the highest reduction in sponsored content, followed by jewelry, watches and cosmetics.
However, the jewelry and watches categories saw positive results in July and August, thanks to Indian actress Disha Patani (with Fossil); Hailey Bieber (with Daniel Wellington), and Chiara Ferragni and her sister Valentina (with Chopard).
June, on the other hand, was an excellent month for cosmetics with posts by Khloe Kardashian, Emily Ratajkowski (with Kérastase) and Janel Parrish Long.
In fashion, a single post by Gomez contributed to a peak in engagement and reach in July thanks. This was the best in the period, in a paid partnership with Puma, engaging almost 7 million followers and reaching more than 138 million people. At the end of 2018, Gomez was tapped by Puma to design a collection of shoes, apparel and accessories, following two sneaker designs by the American actress. Gomez to date counts 193 million followers.
Soccer ace Cristiano Ronaldo followed with a video in a paid partnership with Nike from May engaging more than 6.4 million followers and reaching more than 98 million people. He counts 238 million followers.
For this reason, DMR noted that, in the March-to-August period, celebrities — in particular actresses and athletes — proved they were much more effective in terms of the impact of sponsored content.
Ronaldo, Gomez and soccer champ Lionel Messi were the three top authors of sponsored posts in the period and dominated the ranking of the top five by reach. The only influencer part of the top five was Chiara Ferragni, although with a bigger number of sponsored posts, linked to her diversified collaborations.