Instagram may be a darling for social campaigns these days, but for beauty influencers, YouTube wins when it comes to sponsored post engagement.

That’s according to CreatorIQ, an influencer platform that helps companies run brand ambassador campaigns with content creators. CreatorIQ’s data shows the average engagement rate for sponsored campaigns on YouTube is 6.60%, compared to an average of 2.61% on Instagram. And while YouTube’s engagement rate is for videos only, Instagram’s 2.61% is for all post types. Narrowing it down to video posts only, Insta’s engagement falls to 1.84%. Carousel posts boast a higher average than just image or just video, 3.17%, but that’s still a far cry from YouTube’s figure.  

So why the steep difference?

“While Instagram is an essential platform for beauty creators, YouTube’s content format lets creators dive deeper into products they are promoting,” Nate Harris, director of marketing at CreatorIQ, told me. “Instead of a single photo, beauty YouTubers can do full-on reviews, tests, comparisons, and tutorials…Audiences love the depth of content.”

For both YouTube and Instagram, influencer audience size is important to note when measuring campaign success. As we’ve mentioned previously, across social platforms, nano influencers (those with between 1K and 10K followers) often boast better engagement — but that’s not the case for YouTube. On the video behemoth, micro influencers (those with 10K to 100K followers) have the highest average engagement rate: 7.13%. Nano influencers are close behind with an average of 6.9%, and mid-tier (a step larger than micro, with between 100K and 1M followers) influencers at 6.59%. And although mega celebs (1M+ followers) have the smallest engagement (5.06%), their rate does not see as drastic a drop from YouTube to Instagram. 

Here are a few examples of sponsored content from each different type of influencer, along with the posts’ engagement rates as calculated by CreatorIQ.

With over one million subscribers, beauty and fashion vlogger Nazanin Kavari is a mega influencer. She partnered with Bobbi Brown for a video that received an engagement rate of 3.81%.   

Meanwhile, medium-sized makeup and hair influencer Arnellarmon (560K subscribers) received a 6.42% engagement rate on a video about Euphoria-inspired looks, sponsored by Clinique. That’s higher than her average YouTube engagement of 5.91%. 

Leah Janae, a micro influencer with 65K subscribers, tested the MŌDA EZ Glam Duo Brush Kit in a video that received an impressive 19.66% engagement rate. 

And nano influencer Kayla Durrett (9.8K subscribers) partnered with Sistar Cosmetics for a “one-brand makeup look” video, which received an engagement rate of 5.76%. 

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