Influencer marketing is netting social media movers and shakers some big bucks, and nearly half of brands expect to ramp up their influencer marketing budget. If you’re one of those brands, how do you make sure you’re spending it wisely?
Beyond the general rule of thumb that tweets are the cheapest and videos are the most expensive type of influencer content, how much to pay influencers depends on a variety of factors:
- Reach: Influencers with larger audiences can charge more money.
- Niche: Some niches are more competitive, so even if the influencer doesn’t have as large of an audience, if they’re one of only a few available influencers within a niche, they can charge more.
- Scope: The scope of the ask affects the rate. A video or detailed product review is a much larger investment of the influencer’s time than a Instagram photo.
- Platform: An influencer can have larger or smaller followings on different platforms, and some platforms come with limitations (such as the inability to add links on Instagram) which can affect the rate.
Keep these four things in mind as you review the typical influencer rates below.
How much influencers charge, by platform
Captiv8 provides a great overview of typical rates for macro-influencers and celebrities.
But, if you’re like most brands, you’re likely working with a wide range of influencers, and many (if not all) of them will have fewer than 250,000 followers. How much do you pay those folks?
Well, we rounded up the currently available research on influencer rates. Based on what we’ve found, here’s what you can expect to pay influencers on different platforms.
Blogging influencers typically charge based on their site traffic.
According to Dummies.com, bloggers can earn the following per post, based on the amount of monthly impressions their blog receives:
- 10,000 to 50,000 monthly impressions: $175 to $250 per post
- 50,000 to 100,000 monthly impressions: $250 to $500 per post
- 100,000 to 500,000 monthly impressions: $500 to $1,000 per post
- Over 500,000 monthly impressions: $1,000 to $5,000+ per post
Instagram influencers typically charge based on their number of followers.
According to Influencer.co’s analysis of 2,885 profiles, here’s what you can expect to pay Instagram influencers per post:
- Under 10,000 followers: $93 to $137 per post
- 10,000 to 50,000 followers: $133 to $185 per post
- 50,000 to 100,000 followers: $208 to $250 per post
- 100,000 to 250,000 followers: around $400 per post
- 250,000 to 1 million followers: around $690 per post
- Over 1 million followers: $1,400+ per post
Snapchatters typically charge based on the number of views their post generates during the 24-hour time period before it disappears.
According to a small sample of 35 Snapchat influencers, here’s what you can expect to pay for a 24-hour Snapchat campaign:
- 1,000 to 5,000 views: $500 per campaign
- 5,000 to 10,000 views: $1,000 to $3,000 per campaign
- 10,000 to 20,000 views: $3,000 to $5,000 per campaign
- 30,000 to 50,000 views: $5,000 to $10,000 per campaign
- 50,000 to 100,000 views: $10,000 to $30,000+ per campaign
According to research by Captiv8, YouTube influencers earn the most. It makes sense: their content takes the most time to create and requires the most technical knowhow. Plus, in many respects their posts have the biggest potential for reach, since they remain permanently searchable on YouTube as well as Google. Vloggers typically charge by their number of subscribers.
According to Dummies.com, here’s what you can expect to pay per YouTube video:
- 50,000 to 100,000 subscribers: $500 to $1,000 per video
- 100,000 to 500,000 subscribers: $1,000 to $3,000 per video
- Over 500,000 subscribers: $3,000 to $5,000+ per video
Beyond that, Digiday estimates that YouTubers earn about $2,000 per additional 100,000 followers.
Of course, the numbers above are averages across all industries, based solely on reach and platform, without consideration for niche or scope.
There’s additional variation within industries, which may depend on the level of competition (when there’s fewer influencers within a vertical, they can charge more) or simply the going rates for the industry. For example, at $200 per post, influencers with a focus on travel, entertainment, and lifestyle net the most on average, while B2B influencers earn the least at $134 on average.
Depending on your service, it may not be essential to work with American-based influencers. In which case, you may be able to pay less. At $214 per post, American influencers are one of the most expensive influencers to work with, second only to those in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, French influencers only charge $145 on average, while those in Australia charge $142.
However, before you choose to work with an influencer in another country, you should confirm that they speak the language of your target audience, and that there is significant overlap in the physical locations of their followers with your typical customer base.
How to pay influencers
Now you have a guide for what influencers generally charge. Of course, what you end up paying your influencers will depend on the individual influencers, your goals, and your budget, among other things. Here are some tips to help you figure it out.
1. Consider your goals.
Before you even approach influencers, you should think first about what your goals are.
If you want to drive a lot of engagement and discussion, you should go with a micro-influencer who has fewer than 10K followers. These accounts boast engagement rates between 5 to 10 percent. They’re also much cheaper.
However, if this is a brand awareness initiative and you’re looking for reach above anything else, macro-influencers are where you need to go, even though they’re engagement numbers hover below 3 percent. You’ll definitely pay more, but the pure size of their fan base will make up for those lower engagement numbers.
2. Test the waters first.
Before you dive into a paid relationship, it can be better to start off with small stakes. Send multiple influencers a free sample in exchange for a review. If you like the results and you enjoyed working together, you can ask about rates for long-term partnerships moving forward.
Of course, one-off sponsored posts are often not the most efficient option in the long run. They require a lot of coordination on both parts. It might feel like you’re saving money because you’re only paying for a single post, but because the influencer has to invest a lot of creative thinking into that initial post, they might charge you a higher rate per post than they would if you committed to a multi-post campaign upfront.
3. Develop a relationship.
The other problem with one-off posts is that they prevent you from developing a relationship with your influencer. And influencer partnerships based on relationships are the most successful.
The influencer gets to know your brand, so they’re able to proactively suggest opportunities to you, saving you time and mental energy. The stronger your relationship, they’re also likelier to truly endorse you and casually mention you to friends, family, and fans in other blogs and content because they know your brand and think positively of you. Finally, a long-term relationship keeps your brand in front of the influencer’s audience at various points over the course of time, so they’re less likely to forget about you or miss a post, and more likely to become a customer.
4. Talk pricing upfront.
Ask the influencer their rates in your first conversation. If they ask you to suggest a rate, have some numbers ready in mind and see what they say. Being cagey about price will rightly scare influencers off – it’s an early sign that your brand is going to be difficult to work with.
If you’re completely lost at sea over what to pay, try Influencer Marketing Hub’s Instagram Money Calculator or YouTube Money Calculator. Plug in an username, and the tool analyzes the total number of followers and engagement rates for their most recent posts to spit out an estimated cost.
5. Offer more than just cash.
There are other ways to provide value that can lower the influencer’s rate but still make it worthwhile for them to work with you:
- Send them free samples
- Give them your product or service for free
- Invite them to special events
- Introduce them to other brands and strategic partners
- Highlight them in your content and marketing materials
- Link to them from your website
Conversely, there are some things you may ask for that will drive up the influencer’s rate, such as exclusivity. Do you want to bar them from working with your competitors? Expect the rate to go up. Even if they’re not competitors, there may be brands you would rather your posts not be featured next to (such as a children’s toy next to a sex toy), and you’ll need to specify that.
6. Measure the ROI.
Depending on your goals, influencer marketing should account for 1 to 25 percent of your brand’s overall marketing budget. That’s not chunk change, so you want to make sure it’s paying off.
Regularly check in and assess how many sales, leads, or referrals the influencer is bringing in. Remember that this kind of marketing, especially on channels like Instagram, doesn’t always directly result in purchases. It’s part of your overall brand awareness strategy, so make sure to factor in engagement. Take note of the comment and like rates for your influencer’s sponsored post.s Then look at your own web traffic and social channels on the days following to see if they saw a nice uptick.
The ROI part of influencer marketing is a lot to keep up with. Fortunately, many platforms (ours included) help you with this part. If you’re not willing or able to invest in software, some sites have developed advanced formulas you can use to manually measure how well your influencers are doing.
Above all, don’t be cheap.
This one’s important, but simple. Influencers are not a free marketing channel.
You are paying for access to their audience, and for them to endorse your brand. Think about what you would pay for the same kind of content produced by an agency or an employee (who doesn’t put it on blast to a loyal fanbase), and compensate them accordingly.