Creators with lighter skin tones earn 44.63% more: Key findings from SevenSix Agency’s 2024 Pricing Report

Posted by Dina Zubi in News

2 weeks ago

SevenSix Agency released its annual Influencer Pricing Report for 2024, its most comprehensive edition yet. The research uncovered significant creator pay disparities and issues around race, age, skin tone and disabilities.

“It is essential that we bridge the gap between creators and brands, ensuring fair compensation for all influencers regardless of their background,” SevenSix Agency founder and CEO Charlotte Stavrou wrote in the introduction to the report, which also includes pricing suggestions for TikTok and Instagram.

The study found that white creators earn the most, averaging £1,637.62 for a sponsored Instagram Reel. Black influencers were paid £1,080.41 on average, South Asian influencers £1,135, Southeast Asian creators £700.63, and East Asian influencers £1,009.55. This equates to a pay gap of 57.22% for Southeast Asian creators, 38.4% East Asian influencers, 34.04% for Black creators and 30.7% for South Asian influencers, compared to white creators.

Skin tone and hair type were also contributing factors to the pay gap. Influencers with a complexion described as “deep tan” earned the least, and creators with “light” skin tones made the most on average, which equated to a 44.63% pay gap. When it came to hair, creators with hair type 2A (wavy) earned on average £1,713 for an Instagram Reel, while those with hair type 4B (coily) made £800 on average. These figures suggest a serious bias favouring lighter skin tones and straighter hair types.

The report noted that while Black creators noticed an uptick in both followers and brand interest during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, this has since declined – something creators have told CORQ as well.

Age discrimination is another issue the influencer industry faces. 59.09% of creators who were 40-years-old or more feel they are treated differently, and they earn 144.34% less than 18-39-year-old TikTokers. This is different on Instagram, where creators in the 40-59 age bracket earn the most, according to the report.

Additionally, 30.76% of influencers with a disability reported being treated differently. SevenSix Agency said it will be looking into this issue further in a dedicated report later this year. CORQ spoke to three disability advocates earlier this year, who shared how brands can better support the disabled community.

Pricing varies widely in the influencer industry, to the detriment of minority groups, as shown in this report. For this reason, SevenSix Agency outlined pricing suggestions for Instagram and TikTok. For the former, nano influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 followers should be paid £300 to £400 for a Reel, while creators with more than 300,000 followers should expect to receive £4,500 to £15,000, the report suggested.

For TikTok, the report looked at total likes instead of followers, as the algorithm works in a different way. Here, SevenSix Agency suggested creators with 1,000 to 5,000 likes should be paid from £100 to £200, while those with 50 to 100 million likes should be compensated from £6,000 to £12,000. Of course, other elements must also be taken into consideration with fees, including exclusivity, content quality, engagement, usage rights and contractual obligations.

Brands that embrace diversity in all aspects of business will see benefits. CORQ’s 2023 data review showed that while 58% of the most engaging influencer ads of 2023 were made by people of colour (POC), only 22% of the creators who posted the most ads were POC.

Brands seen as homogenous and unrepresentative also risk being called out. One example is the revamp of ASOS Insiders, which faced backlash from creators who found the influencer programme lacking in size inclusivity. In 2023, Mango was called out for lack of racial diversity on its press trip and in the same year, lifestyle creator Shannon Alexandra criticised Primark, Next, Victoria’s Secret and Boux Avenue for not offering more shades of skin-tone bras.

Spark Foundry’s Q2 2023 report found that 57% of UK adults stopped engaging with media channels with inadequate diversity. This percentage is even higher for ethnic minorities (79%), neurodivergent people (76%) and members of the LGBTQ+ community (62%). In other words, diversity and inclusivity should be top of mind for all brands.

By Dina Zubi, news and features writer for CORQ.