How Much Are Brands Paying Influencers?

YouTube influencers make the most, but video is lucrative on Instagram, too

Some influencers accept free products as payment for endorsements, others charge thousands of dollars for a single post. While the compensation scale varies by following and content type, some marketers are concerned that teaming up with social media influencers is getting expensive.

According to a January 2019 survey by influencer marketing service Mediakix, more than one-third of US marketers said the rising cost of influencers was a leading marketing challenge in this space.

Klear, another influencer platform, surveyed more than 2,500 influencers between January and March 2019 to find the average payment per post based on platform and follower count.

The going rate for YouTube videos is higher than any other platform, no matter the size of the influencer’s following, per Klear. Nano-influencers, which Klear defines as having between 500 and 5,000 followers, make an average of $315 per YouTube video, while “power” influencers (with followings between 30,000 and 500,000) make $782 per video, on average.

Brands are willing to pay a premium for video posts on Instagram, too. Nano-influencers make an average of $114 per video post on Instagram, compared with $100 for an image post and $43 for a story. Power users make an average of $775 for an Instagram video, $507 for an image post and $210 for a story.

But not all brands are shelling out the big bucks for influencer campaigns. Many marketers have shown significant interest in Instagram Stories and are focusing on working with microinfluencers, who have smaller but dedicated followings. According to an August 2018 Econsultancy survey, 56% of US and UK marketers work with microinfluencers because they are more cost-effective than working with top-tier talent.

Podcasts are another avenue marketers are exploring as another alternative.

"Brands are eyeing podcasts as the next frontier of influencer marketing," said Lauren Fisher, principal analyst at eMarketer. "They're seeing great performance and value from host-read ads, which allows brands to tap into the trust and influence that many of these podcast hosts have with their listeners."

Drop, an app designed to help consumers earn rewards from their shopping, is one company that has started to explore new audio channels outside of social platforms. Catalina Lee, director of marketing at Drop, said that the company had a lot of success leveraging influencers on Instagram and Facebook, but over time, "these channels have been getting more competitive and more expensive. The podcast space is growing, and people go to podcasts because they're really interested in a topic, and because they're into the storytelling and conversation that happens within this format. As a result, you're reaching a highly engaged audience who connects not only with the topic being discussed, but also with the podcaster in a meaningful way so there's a great deal of familiarity and trust that gets built there."

Read more about the ways marketers are using influencer marketing successfully in our recent report.