- INSIDER tracked the Instagram following of contestants on “The Bachelor” to find out who was winning that competition.
- Why? Instagram has been surprisingly good at identifying frontrunners weeks ahead of time.
- Just making it onto the show gets contestants, on average, a bump of 4,400 followers, INSIDER found.
- Cassie, this season’s winner, gained 1.1 million followers throughout her time on the show, with at least 300,000 gained during the dramatic two-night finale.
The 23rd season of “The Bachelor” came to a mixed conclusion on Tuesday night, with Colton selecting Cassie as his winner despite a bombshell breakup the week before.
Cassie’s choice to come back and have another try at their relationship has already paid dividends. She’s the first contestant from this season – but probably not the last – to eclipse 1 million Instagram followers, providing an easy side-hustle as an influencer, should she so choose to pursue it.
For some, getting the rose is only part of the prize – the real goal is exposure, and Instagram followers. Using their platform as a contestant to gain an Instagram audience that can later be leveraged to launch a lucrative business in influencing is the best prize of all.
Winning the show isn’t the only way to increase a contestant’s #sponcon value; getting the fearsome “villain edit” can work as well.
In any series, someone’s got to get the unflattering treatment from production, their pettiness and gamesmanship laid bare for audiences to gape at and gossip about. Krystal, Corinne, Olivia, Vienna – they all played an important role in their season, allowing the lead to overcome adversity, see through the competition, and focus on what matters: finding love.
But here’s the secret: All those so-called villains are the real winners here. They won opportunities to go on future editions of the franchise, got more screen time than rivals eliminated the same week they were, and cemented their brand in fans’ minds.
Based on our research this season, we can even quantify the boost to contestants’ Instagram followings. Catherine A. got that villain edit this year, and though she left in Week Three, she still grew her Instagram presence by 170,000 followers. Meanwhile, the three other contestants eliminated that week gained an average of 24,000 follows.
Instagram is actually outstanding at sussing out winners. Of the final four contestants, three had the top three Instagram followings as of mid-January.
Maybe Bachelor Nation is exceedingly good at picking up on the final contestants getting a “good edit” from show producers. Maybe Instagram reads the spoilers. Or maybe it’s just that people who make the final group tend to have lots of one-on-one dates and screen time.
Contestants gained Instagram followers for several reasons. Hannah G. got the vaunted “first impression” rose and subsequently saw an increase of 54,000 followers as fans of the show saw in her the same things that Colton did.
On the other hand, Catherine A. fell into the villain slot early and, despite exiting the show in Week Three, made out like a bandit on Instagram.
The most impressive follower shift coincided with one of the more groundbreaking decisions this season, when Caelynn shared her story of sexual assault. The show offered her a platform to speak to Colton and viewers about how sexual assaults are too often not investigated. Caelynn’s advocacy turned lots of viewers into fans.
But even contestants who didn’t make it past the first night still came away with an average of 4,414 new followers for their troubles. Those who made it to Week Two got an average bump of 7,016.
Catherine A.’s huge Instagram bump significantly skewed the Week Three results, but by week four the eliminated women came out an average of 6,926 followers ahead.
It’s the women who make it to the final dozen who won the Instagram jackpot. Those who left in Week Five had an average gain of 72,274 followers, and the women who left the next week gained an average of 104,565 Instagram fans.
Those who were eliminated just ahead of hometown visits finished up with 135,140 new followers, on average.
— Astrid Loch (@astrid_loch) September 11, 2018
Even those who don’t make it far can still parlay their TV time into lucrative Instagram sponsorship deals. A 2017 AdWeek study found that influencers with more than 100,000 followers could get up to $US800 per sponsored post, with profits increasing exponentially as followers grow.
And it’s practically tradition for former contestants to use their newfound platforms to advertise. Former Bachelor Ben Higgins; the Season 22 winner, Lauren Luyendyk; the “Bachelorette” runner-up Peter Kraus; the “Bachelor in Paradise” contestants Bibiana Julian,Kendall Long, and Jordan Kimball, and numerous others have parlayed their time on the show into social-media-influencing revenue, creating sponsored posts for everything from lip balm to laundry detergent.
The takeaway: The longer you spend on the program, the more followers you get. And with #sponcon on Instagram fetching about $US1,000 per 100,000 followers, “time is money” has never been more accurate.
And hey, who says it’s the end of the show for any of the contestants? On Tuesday night’s “After the Final Rose” special,Hannah B. was announced as the next Bachelorette and saw an overnight follower increase of 338,000. Plus, there’s always “Paradise.”
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