Why is my Instagram campaign not performing well?

As marketers, many of you may have this question when the digital campaign you run did not get the result you expected. You hired a bunch of expensive influencers thinking that with more money spent, there will be a better result. However, the paid posts did not gather the likes and comments like how the influencers’ usual posts would. The sales of your products did not go up, neither did the number of followers on your official Instagram account. You start to panic and wonder what went wrong. Well, let me tell you the most common mistakes influencer marketers make while running an Instagram campaign.

Choice of Influencer

While many things can go wrong in an influencer campaign. The most common mistake is engaging the wrong influencer or assuming that you have engaged the right one. Many marketers tend to assume that if the influencer resides in a certain country, the majority of their followers will be from that country. However, that may not be the case at times and with that assumption, it could dilute the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. One example would be Canadian comedic influencer, @ElleMills who has a following of 570K on Instagram. Even though she is based in Canada, the majority of her followers (53.47%) are actually from the US. She could almost pass as an ideal influencer for local reach in the U.S.

Screenshot from Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform of Elle Mills followers’ geographical location.

Another influencer with such contrast is Korea based beauty influencer, @Ponysmakeup (Hye-Min Park) with 5.5M followers on Instagram. Majority of her followers are from the U.S (10.70%) instead of Korea (7.78%). Most of Ponysmakeup’s posts on Instagram are in Korean. However, that did not stop her from gaining a large pool of audience in the U.S.

Screenshot from Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform of Ponysmakeup followers’ geographical location.

Other than the geographic location of the followers, it is also important to consider the age demographic of the followers in order to specifically target your ideal audience. On the other hand, if you are able to find out the average engagement rate and % inactive followers of the influencers, you will be able to make more informed decisions when approaching influencers for an Instagram campaign. I understand that such information may be hard to gather on Instagram, so I propose to you this article on the different social listening tools that can help you in choosing a better influencer for your campaign.

Style of the paid post

You can be 90% sure that when a paid post is too commercialised, it will have a low engagement rate. What I mean by too commercialised is when you are too detailed with your instructions on how the paid post should look like. This limits the creativity influencers can inject into the paid posts. We have to think back on why influencers became famous in the first place. Their originality and authenticity are what got them their followings. Their followers know what is authentic and what isn’t. When a post appears to be inauthentic and the influencer is forced to post in a certain way that does not align with their own style, it will backfire.

Thus, even when you are suggesting to influencers on how you want the post to be, use older posts of the influencer’s as examples or just give them the freedom to express themselves. One example is the collaboration between influencer @LilyMarston (456K followers) and @TheraGun. The top-performing posts of Lily are mostly ones of her in a swimsuit.


Screenshot from Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform of Lily Marston’s top liked posts.

Thus, with the sponsored post with TheraGun, she wore a sports bra, taking a similar style to her top liked posts. The sponsored post gathered 43K likes and it is one of the most commented posts of Lily’s.

A post shared by Lily Marston (@lily_marston) on

Time of posting

Screenshot from Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.

Your campaign will be a lot more effective if the influencers post when their followers are the most active. It increases potential reach and gets your post more engagements. The current Instagram’s home feed is organised in a way that the ‘hottest’ post among your followings will appear at the top of the home feed. By posting when the followers are the most active, the paid post not only get more engagement but the chance to appear at the top of the home feed and also the explore page.

Golden 12 hour gap

It is important that you ask your influencers to not post anything 12 hours before and after posting the paid post. This to avoid competition between the paid posts and the influencers’ own contents. When influencers post their own content right after the paid post, their own content may outperform the paid post. Thus, the paid post may not appear on the live feed of the followers, leading to low performance.

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