Which Love Islander Would Make the Best Influencer (on Paper)?

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As the final of Love Island hits our screens on Monday evening, the contestants are poised to take back control of their Instagram feeds from the friends, family and agents who have been dutifully running them on their behalf for the past eight weeks. It feels like this year, more than previous years, the accounts are being professionally run to make these contestants influencers-in-waiting, rather than a more casual “vote for my girl” kind of way.

We know that becoming an Insta-influencer is not the only way they’ll make money, with the show being a springboard for “bigger” and “better” things, but we thought that’s probably a good place to start. After all, economists have found that long term, Love Island is more lucrative than an Oxbridge degree.

For a minute, let’s park the sensible, systematic take down of influencer marketing by Mark Ritson as we apply our own discerning lens over their Instagram profiles and figure out who we think would make the best influencers when they’re unleashed into the outside world. Beyond the follower count, how many of them are actually real? How many of them are engaged and responding to their content? What type of post performs well for them? Have they already done brand partnerships before they went in the villa? Which brands would suit them best? How likely is it that engagement turns into action?

We’ve had a look at their estimated earnings per post using this tool, which has some interesting results, but it seems to base them on follower count alone.  For this, we also want to take engagement into account: so we’ve looked at Applause Rate* and Conversation Rate** too.

*Applause Rate is likes divided by follower count, so the percentage of people who follow and like the post. This is a lukewarm, passive engagement, but an engagement nonetheless.

**Conversation Rate is comments divided by total followers. Comments are a stronger indication of engagement, and the average is much lower across the board, as it’s so much easier to like something - whereas writing a comment is much more of a conscious, deliberate action.

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Paul Knops, the dark horse sneaks into the lead with the highest Applause Rate and Conversation Rate. His follower count may be smaller than most, but a higher percentage of them are more vocal and responsive than those of other accounts. How does this translate to influencer success? Well, it’s an indicator that his followers are paying attention to the content in his posts and taking a conscious action, and that’s stronger than follower count alone. But let’s take a look at all the remaining contestants’ profiles and best performing posts (at the time of writing).

Dani Dyer:
Followers: 1.8m
Estimated future earnings per post: £7.9k
Best performing post: Applause rate 14.35% Conversation rate: 0.05%

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There was high expectation of Dani as she came into the villa, and even her dad, Danny, had said that she hasn’t put a foot wrong since the beginning of the show. Dani has by far the most followers on Instagram, and considering that, she still has a very high engagement rate. Her posts have shown all sides of her personality and everyone now wants a friend who backs them like she has other girls on the show. With so many positive comments about how she looks, what she wears (“you are literally my role model in everything”, writes one and she’s already being asked “where are those glasses from?”), she’ll be able to command a high price for brand partnerships on the outside. She’s the clear choice of candidate for many brand partnerships… but will she be able to convince us over and over again that she really loves the new ‘thing’ she’s promoting each time?

Jack Fincham
Followers: 1.3m
Estimated future earnings per post: £5,800
Best performing post: Applause rate 12.46% Conversation rate 0.05%

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Jack has utterly thrown himself into the Love Island experience, and pen salesmanship has never been held in higher regard. Having nailed his relationship pretty early, he’s been supportive of everyone else’s, helping stage girlfriend proposals and pranks galore. We all love a good couple name, and #jani is all this caption needs to say to be his best performing post. People have been rooting for these guys since the start. His feed before Love Island just looks like one big lads’ night out, but we may see a more refined and groomed version of that on the other side.

Wes Nelson
Followers: 815k
Estimated future earnings per post: £3,600
Best performing post: Applause rate 9.88% Conversation rate 0.06%

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Wes started off his experience solidly with Laura, but then took a controversial decision to switch tack and couple up with Megan, which has split the crowd and arguably gave this series the shady shake up it needed. Wes’ best performing post is one of the only images which isn’t from inside the villa since he went in, which in itself could be quite telling. His followers are already loving this lifestyle-model-type of image. This bodes well, as this is probably the kind of post he’ll be churning out when he leaves. Presumably Calvin Klein didn’t pay him to wear these, but there may be a queue forming to put clothes on him next.

Megan Barton-Hanson
Followers: 848k
Estimated future earnings per post: £3,700
Best performing post: Applause rate 5.54% Conversation rate 0.04%

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Megan’s feed has done a complete 180 degree turn since she entered the villa, from content to colour palette. It’s really interesting that this post has performed the best considering this is her without the make-up and hair styling we’re used to seeing her with. When it comes to engagement, Megan’s account is trailing behind a lot of the others. Bizarrely, some of her posts don’t have any comments at all. Reading some of the comments sections, however, there’s a lot of negativity towards her and in-fighting between accounts. Will they stop for long enough to notice and buy the products she’ll be promoting? For some, maybe those not found on Instagram, she’s given the show the jumpstart it needed and made things far more interesting this series.

Laura Anderson
Followers: 803k
Estimated future earnings per post: £3,500
Best performing post: Applause rate 9.78% Conversation rate 0.23%

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Laura’s time in the villa has also had its ups and downs, including taking quite a bit of flack for being “old” (wft?), but she’s finally settled in what feels like a well-matched coupling with Paul. She’s weathered it all pretty well, and seems to have garnered a lot of support on the way. Laura’s following, if her comments are anything to go by, think she’s an amazingly relatable girl-next-door type, hoping she “one day gets her prince”. It’s hard to know whether this kind of good-will will turn into influence when she’s on the outside. Posts before she went on Love Island included shots from far-flung locations that work took her, and the occasional celebrity spot... but even then, people were still asking where her clothes were from.

Paul Knops
Followers: 73.2k
Estimated future earnings per post: £321.24
Best performing post: Applause rate 17.89% Conversation rate 0.38%

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Paul burst onto our screens on a date with Georgia, where he had to explain that a carpenter doesn’t lay carpets, and did a semi-decent job of convincing her that people make that mistake all the time. His mature, calm demeanor, plus everyone in the villa thinking he’s beautiful af, has led to his coupling up with Laura. As Dani would say, he looks like a real man who folds his washing and everything. Like Wes, Paul’s best performing post is a non-Love Island image, so we already know this type of post gets a good response from his audience. It even out-performed a screenshot from that video where he kissed Britney. His feed has always mixed Love Island, a comparison between himself and Jesus, and model shots, which we expect will continue when he comes out. He has the highest engagement rate out of all of the contestants’ accounts, but if brands are choosing people based on followers alone, it would be easy for them to overlook Paul.

Alex George
Followers: 915k
Estimated future earnings per post: £4,000
Best performing post: Applause rate 7.66% Conversation rate 0.09%

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He began the show as the loveable, awkward, unlucky-in-love guy with glorious quotes like “doggy fashion” and broadening his “sick” vocabulary. Loved by everyone in the villa - just not in that way - we were all placing huge expectations on any new girl who came in the house to be The One. But after coupling up with Alexandra, not once but twice and binning her off both times, it just wasn’t meant to be. Alex’s feed before going on Love Island shows quite a full, varied life with travelling, friends, work and the obligatory car. He seems the least likely of all to be prepping his feed for Insta-fame, so the tool estimating his earnings per post at £4,000 seems pretty optimistic. We wonder what kind of brands will be approaching him, and whether the tide of popular opinion suddenly turning after Ferrari-gate will make any brands think twice about wanting his endorsement (apart from Ferrari, of course)?

Alexandra Cane
Followers: 390k
Estimated future earnings per post: £1,700
Best performing post: Applause rate 9.43% Conversation rate 0.12%

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Alex was the answer to our prayers, falling for the doctor (even getting his sense of humour), before being told by Alex it’s all moving too quickly for him. Alexandra’s feed before going onto Love Island is her looking great and posing in lots of exotic-looking locations in dazzling swimwear (the perfect warm up for Love Island you might say). It’s all staged, groomed and bang on-brand for a make-up artist. Since going in the villa, her posts are much more animated and personable, and this best performing posts typifies that. Her comments seem positive; both supportive of her actions in the villa, and they want to know what she’s wearing.

Josh Denzel
Followers: 575k
Estimated future earnings per post: £2,500
Best performing post: Applause rate 9.46% Conversation rate 0.04%

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Josh has had his ups and downs in the villa this year. After an intense coupling with Loyal Georgia, he found a new flame in Kaz, and has pretty much kept his head down ever since. His Insta shows his sense of humour and smoulder in equal measure, as well as a healthy dose of non-Love Island posts mixed in for good measure showing his love of football, including a shot with Dele Ali. This is his best-performing shot with Dua Lipa, a repost from earlier in his feed, pulling in the big guns and celebrity endorsements already, which isn’t much of a surprise considering he is a presenter on LADBible.

Kaz Crossley
Followers: 402k
Estimated future earnings per post: £1,800
Best performing post: Applause rate 11.29% Conversation rate 0.05%

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It feels like we don’t really know a lot about Kaz, apart from the fact that Josh really, really likes her, and her accessories are always on point. Before the villa, there were lots of jealousy-inducing shots from Thailand, Bali and Ibiza filled her feed. During Love Island, the focus is on her many looks “which one is your fave?” captions one. Considering the dramatic circumstances with which she entered the villa, she did well to stay poised, even when Georgia kept getting her name wrong. Her and Josh have come out the other side a strong, some say smug, couple. Her beauty and her work as a makeup artist, plus having one of the highest engagement rates out of all the Islanders means she is sure to be courted by brands on the outside.

And finally...

It’s clear that #jani have by far the biggest potential reach, so they’ll be approached by countless brands when they leave.  Would their feeds turn into one big conveyor belt for sponsored content, and would your £5k sponsored post get any cut through? It will be interesting to see how their Instagram feeds do change when they’re out and finally back in control. Which brands will snap them up, and will it be worth the investment?

If it was us picking, we’d be looking beyond the amount of people following, look at their feed for authenticity, their content, how they curate and caption it, as well as the responses they get from people. Also, we’d be mindful about how many other deals they may be signing with other brands, so considerations around a long-term project, exclusivity and maybe even being an ambassador would be wise. A few brand sponsorships will be just the start, as we’ll be keeping an eye on what other adventures they have beyond the villa.  

N.B. all data accurate as of 26/07/2018