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The Science Behind Successful Influencer Partnerships

Key Takeaways

  • Authenticity and casual language drive engagement.
  • Utility-focused language increases engagement by 9.7%.
  • First-person language boosts engagement, while third-person language lowers it.
  • Proper formatting enhances post engagement by 6%.
  • Disclosure placement and terminology impact engagement rates.
  • Promotional content outperforms sponsored content in engagement.
  • The term “Link in bio” can serve specific marketing objectives despite lowering engagement rates.

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Navigating the world of influencer partnerships can be a daunting task. Balancing brand messaging with influencer aesthetic while striving for optimal performance is no small feat. DuMarketing presents a comprehensive study that uncovers the best practices for successful influencer partnerships.

Methodology: Setting the Benchmark

The study analyzed over 12,000 influencer and brand partner posts on Instagram across diverse sectors. The Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) dictionary was used in a machine learning model to determine the linguistic qualities that affect engagement rates. This extensive research offers invaluable insights for brand marketers to elevate their influencer partnerships.

Authentic Connections: The Bedrock of Engagement

The modern consumer craves authenticity. Casual language, abbreviations, and auxiliary verbs resonate more with followers, making the content feel like a conversation with a friend. Posts that feel too sales-heavy lose traction. The study revealed that utility-based language like “help,” “protect,” or “stop” increased engagement rates by 9.7%. This kind of language signals value to the audience.

Takeaway: Authenticity is key. Use casual language and focus on utility to drive engagement.

The Power of Pronouns: I, Me, My vs. He, She, They

First-person language led to a +3% increase in engagement rates. In contrast, using third-person pronouns decreased engagement. Overusing “you” and “your” in sponsored posts can come off as insincere and too forceful.

Takeaway: Encourage influencers to speak from personal experience using first-person language for better engagement.

Beyond Visuals: The Importance of Readability

While visuals capture attention, captions are increasingly vital. Properly formatted posts saw a +6% increase in engagement. Lists and colons guide the reader’s eye, making the post more digestible.

Takeaway: Pay attention to formatting and readability to keep your audience engaged.

Disclosure Practices: Compliance and Engagement

FTC compliance is mandatory, but how you disclose can affect engagement. Posts with hashtags like “ad” at the end saw slightly higher engagement compared to those that led with these hashtags.

Takeaway: Be clear but non-intrusive with disclosures for better engagement. Place hashtags at the end of the post.

Sponsored vs. Promotional Content: Knowing What Works

Promotional content, which includes direct CTAs, saw better engagement rates compared to sponsored content focused on awareness. However, the type of engagement for promotional content may be of lower quality but serves lower-funnel objectives like sales and subscriptions.

Takeaway: Choose between sponsored and promotional content based on your specific marketing objectives.

The “Link in Bio” Paradox

The term “Link in bio” was associated with lower engagement rates but may drive actions like website clicks that are not captured in traditional engagement metrics.

Takeaway: Don’t dismiss the “Link in bio” strategy if it aligns with your marketing objectives, despite its impact on engagement rates.

Brand Takeaways: Putting Research into Practice

  • Foster authentic and casual content.
  • Prioritize first-person language.
  • Focus on readability.
  • Keep disclosures clear and compliant.
  • Evaluate the need for sponsored vs. promotional content.
  • Consider the nuanced impact of “Link in bio.”


Influencer partnerships can offer tremendous ROI when executed strategically. This study provides a data-backed methodology to guide your influencer marketing campaigns. It’s not just about intuition; it’s about applying practical insights for measurable success.

Arm yourself with these findings to make your next influencer campaign not just another marketing activity, but a strategic, data-driven effort that delivers.

Ready for more insights? Continue your journey with our next article, exploring innovative strategies and trends in the marketing world.

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