NZ’s top ten followed Instagram accounts and the marketability of ‘social influencers’

  • July 9, 2015
  • Holly Bagge
NZ’s top ten followed Instagram accounts and the marketability of ‘social influencers’

Lorde once said that all the internet is “ … is doing your own PR”. And in modern times this rings truer than ever. We curate the material we put on our social media accounts, crafting the image of ourselves that we want to present to others. You could say we are our own brand and social media is how we market ourselves, and while most of us get paid in ‘likes’ or ‘followers’, some social “influencers” are teaming up with brands and getting paid in cold hard cash. And on that note, here are the top ten followed Instagram accounts in the country and how a few of these media personalities are racking up the dollars from doing what they do best.

New Zealand’s most followed accounts by fellow New Zealanders, courtesy of the Instagram communications team in NZ, are (not surprisingly) Lorde’s aka Ella Yelich-O’Connor’s followed by makeup and fashion vlogger Shannon Harris, former Shortland Street star Frankie Adams,  All Black Dan Carter, Shortland Street’s KJ Apa and YouTube darling Jamie Curry, which make up the top five.

looking myself dead in the eye. this drawing done by the excellent @lordeworldru on twitter

A photo posted by Lorde (@lordemusic) on

dumbest pose ever but whatever. filming a Q&A today. ask your questions below

A photo posted by Jamie Curry (@jaamiecurry) on

While we weren’t privy to information on the exact number of Kiwi followers for each (merely the top 10 list in order), we have included their total number of followers (Kiwi and international):

1. lordemusic - Lorde (2.6 million)

2. shaanxo - Shannon Harris (819k)

3. frankieadams - Frankie Adams (100k)

4. dancarter_ - Dan Carter (276k)

5. jaamiecurry - Jamie Curry (494k)

6. kjapa - KJ Apa (73.4k)

7. shaun_johnson90 - Shaun Johnson (135k)

8. jaimeridge - Jaime Ridge (41.9k)

9. karen_walker - Karen Walker (149k)

10. pua_magasiva - Pua Magasiva (50.6k)

Pua Magasiva - 50,600 followers
Karen Walker - 149,000 followers
Jaime Ridge - 41,900 followers
Shaun Johnson - 135,000 followers
KJ Apa - 73,400 followers
Jamie Curry - 494,000 followers
Frankie Adams - 100,000 followers
Shannon Harris - 819,000 followers
Lorde - 2.6 million followers

Jamie Curry, has a legion of dedicated fans. She hit ten million Facebook fans last year and has 1.5 million followers on YouTube. She has also caught the eye of a few big brands who have seen the marketing potential she offers through her channels, namely Coca-Cola and Netflix. Now she’s signed up with Kiwibank to create The KB Series, a six-part series that will follow Curry on her journey from Napier to Auckland as she moves out of home and pursues her career in acting and producing entertaining content for her colossal fanbase. 

Who is Jamie Curry? This clever 18 year old from Napier has over ten million fans on Facebook and is rated one of the most influential Kiwis online, alongside Lorde and Dan Carter. We’re going to be following her hilarious journey from moving out of her mum’s house to getting her own place in the big smoke. Stay tuned for more very soon…

Posted by Kiwibank on Sunday, 5 July 2015

Another example is Shannon Harris, mentioned above who makes a fulltime living as a YouTube partner and last year was whisked away by Contiki to participate in its YouTube vlogger roadtrip which substantially grew her subscriber base. Harris explores topics such as makeup, fashion, hairstyles, even her boob-job and is sent products and clothing to test and try on through her channel, gaining them more exposure.

Spark also teamed up with Foureyes, which consists of four Kiwi guys who create content for a street style fashion blog, for its ‘new swag’ campaign. Spark got the members to lay out items they thought best encapsulated the phrase ‘new swag’ to promote the release of the Samsung S6.

Hands up who's excited about the new #SamsungS6? We've teamed up with Foureyes to bring you something special so make...

Posted by Spark on Sunday, 29 March 2015

Remix Magazine also saw the value of using social influencers, and flew its team all the way to LA to feature Kylie Jenner in one of its issues. “We actually went over to LA and shot her ourselves and got her into New Zealand clothing. She wore Kate Sylvester and Helen Cherry. It was a big investment, but it really paid off. That issue literally sold off from the streets. It was a good 10,000 copies gone,” Remix Magazine founder Tim Phin said.

Kylie Jenner for Remix Magazine

Watch Kylie Jenner's personal message to Remix readers below!Share this video on your own wall to go in the draw to win a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to REMIX MAGAZINE. Tag your friends as well!Buy the Beauty & Luxe edition now at remixmagazine.com

Posted by REMIX MAGAZINE on Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Phin said the usual circulation of the mag was 10,000 issues and that it was doubled for the issue featuring Jenner.

Remix Magazine also profiled Jaime Ridge on Instagram which quickly spread to her 40,000 followers.

And while we’re back on the subject of Instagram, the platform hasn’t started advertising here yet. Unlike Snapchat which has slowly nudged itself into the advertising world throughout the past year, which ASB has successfully taken advantage of, saying it was a great way to engage with the tertiary-aged demographic.

Facebook-owned Instagram was purchased by Facebook for around $1 billion in cash and stock in April 2012, according to Investopedia. "By December 2014, Citigroup analysts said the platform was worth $35 billion. Like Facebook, it makes its money from advertising. Facebook doesn’t break out Instagram’s financials, but Facebook overall derived about 93 percent of its fourth-quarter revenue from ads. Ad revenue for the quarter was $3.59 billion, a 53 percent increase from the same quarter the year before."

Investopedia reported that a portion of that revenue almost certainly came from Instagram, which introduced paid advertising on its service in 2013. Since then, its advertisers have included Nike Inc., General Electric and Walt Disney Co.

“When it bought Instagram, analysts criticized Facebook for having little presence on mobile phones. Recently, mobile has been a growing segment of Facebook’s advertising, accounting for 69 percent of ad revenues in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from 53% from the year ago quarter."

While it’s only earlier days in terms of advertising through Instagram, it could prove lucrative for Kiwi advertisers to team up with the platform when it starts advertising here, considering it’s a great way to tap into the younger “millennial” audience. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise also predicted last year that Instagram would be the fastest growing network:

“Instagram will continue to be the fastest growing network with over 150 million monthly active users, currently increasing in popularity faster than Twitter and Pinterest combined. Instagram will build off the 3 percent drop of active Facebook users, and improve on the 23 percent jump in active Instagram users we saw in 2013.”

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