How much do influencers really earn
When I’m talking to influencers, and to the brands who hire them for their marketing clout, two of the most common questions, are unsurprisingly, about money. And they’re basically the same question but from different perspectives.
What can I expect to earn? Vs What should I expect to pay?
I prefer to think about it in terms of the value you’re delivering/getting, and I’m not alone.
The SevenSix Agency has spent a lot of time over the last couple of years investigating the world of influencer pricing. In 2021 they focused on the influencer pay gap, highlighting the fact that minority voices are often underpaid or excluded, with ethnicity considered by the majority (57%) to be a factor in lower fees being charged or offered.
For 2022, they’ve again taken a deep dive into influencer pay, teaming up with MSL Group to see whether anything has changed.
This time, they’ve also broken their pricing analysis down by key platforms giving us a really clear idea of what the market looks like from that perspective.
You can read the full report here, but I’d like to share some of the highlights and lowlights with you.
Let’s look first at the base rates.
What performance should be expected?
Fees are largely based on engagement rates where 2% is a rational expectation, 3.5% should be the goal and 6% is seen as high-performing.
It’s not all about engagement rates, though. The reports suggests that many brands take a more holistic view, looking at follower numbers, whether or not the influencer has a celebrity persona, and the quality of their content.
All the fee tables used are based on fees for 1x post.
How is performance measured?
Things have changed dramatically with TikTok, which was, in the UK at least, still in its infancy when the previous survey was carried out. Since then, usage has boomed, with over 1 billion monthly active users. According to Statista, TikTok was the most-downloaded mobile app of 2022.
Influencer-wise, it’s quite different from Instagram. Rather than looking at engagement rates, brands prefer to see influencers’ total likes and video views. They look for consistency of engagement, which suggests that the audience is regularly following that influencer’s content, rather than a few big, viral hits. Brands also look at the quality of content, obviously, as well as the quality and relevance of comments.
How is YouTube performance measured?
YouTube is different again. The report highlights that it isn’t as popular with younger creators as TikTok. However, with the recent launch of YouTube shorts, it’s clearly going up against TikTok and Instagram Reels so it’s still a major contender.
Influencers on YouTube are usually asked for either an Integrated Video (which includes a small portion of sponsored video, eg 1-3 minutes) or a YouTube Short.
Like TikTok, brands place most value on views.
The SevenSix authors highlight the particular difficulty of effectively and consistently pricing for YouTube. It’s been around a while, so there is a lot of variance in historic rates, plus creating high quality YouTube content is a lot of work. So it’s difficult to get a clear picture, but I think they’ve done a good job here!
Once you’ve got a clear idea of the base rate, you need to consider the overall contractual obligations. SevenSix have covered this too.
● Deliverables. What are the specifics of the campaign? Which platform(s), what frequency, and how long should any video content be?
● Usage and PI rights. The detail is important here, as it can have a big impact. How long will a brand use an influencer’s content? Which country(ies), where else will it be reproduced (ie adverts, TV etc).
● Exclusivity. Is the brand asking the influencer not to work with any competitors for a fixed length of time? This is often where influencers are able to charge higher fees, as there is potential loss of earnings to be considered.
● Level of expertise. Creators who are also expert professionals (like medical professionals, aestheticians) can often charge 30-50%, as they bring the credibility of professional expertise to the brand’s campaign.
The influencer pay gap
In terms of highlighting pay gaps, there are some big statistics.
● 18.7% pay gap between white influencers and influencers who are people of colour
● 21.5% pay gap between white influencers and black influencers
● 153.6% pay gap between ages 18-30 and 30-34
● Influencers who described themselves as having a long-term physical or mental health condition earned 23% less per post
One of the things this report highlights is the challenge for smaller influencers when it comes to being paid for their content. The writers also make a point of talking about Gifting. Whilst there are plenty of times when Gifting is entirely appropriate, and it’s long been seen as a legitimate way to build a relationship (audiences also love it as it’s a chance for them to see a relationship between brand and creator develop), there remains the problem of brands who try to take advantage of creators by offering a gifting-only relationship.
As in any industry, it’s vital that the role of content creators is respected and recognised, and that both creators and brands make informed and realistic decisions about their relationships and their campaigns.
If you’d like to talk about how to build or develop your influencer marketing strategy or how to connect with the right influencer marketing agency for your brand, get in touch. I’d love to chat.
Gordon Glenister is also the author of the book, Influencer Marketing Strategy. Learn:
● how to build an influencer strategy
● what makes a great influencer
● about the rise of Clubhouse and Tik Tok
● about future digital trends for connecting with a digital customer
Find out more and order your copy at:
Influencer Marketing Strategy Book By Gordon Glenister