The biggest recurrent question about influencer marketing? How much do influencers cost – what do they charge and can this be categorised by audience size or industry. The short answer is no – there is no standardisation when it comes to influencer fees. Unlike display advertising, when you work with influencers you are not booking space but paying to insert your brand into their story. This is much trickier to price.
Research by CORQ’s journalists – who gathered a significant cross section of influencer rate cards in 2021 – confirms there is no unified rhyme or reason to influencer charges. While one influencer – a semi-committed YouTuber with 13 years work and 1.5million subscribers under her belt – shared she charges £27K minimum for a YouTube video, an Instagrammer with less than 5000 followers quoted £250 per sponsored post.
Although CORQ is not an influencer management or marketing agency, we do consult for our clients on a daily basis and these are six observations we have made when it comes to how much influencers cost, how brands can quote fairly and how they might reduce costs and negotiate when the influencers’ fees are out of their budget.
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1. Early adopting influencers – who are often YouTubers, or at least started their career here – cost more as their endorsement or content can create a ripple of mainstream media coverage. The same goes for broadcasters, even if the campaign is set to happen on social platforms. News and lifestyle websites will reference and report on the content – if the campaign is zeitgeisty enough – and this will lead to a much larger impact. To work with this talent, you are looking at a five figure sum minimum, but this can be transformative if the campaign makes a statement.
2. Do not lowball influencers if you are working for a prominent brand which demonstrably has significant funding. These days creators talk and are not afraid to flag this behaviour, immediately creating negativity towards your brand.
3. If you can’t quite afford the influencer’s fee, reconsider the number of assets requested and how long you would like to use them for. Will you really use Instagram content in your marketing materials for the next six months? This is unlikely due to the pace social platforms are currently developing at. If you’re determined to work with an influencer out of your budget and their fees won’t shift, shorten your licensing agreement, reconsider exclusivity clauses and cut the number of assets required.
4. YouTube content is more valuable and therefore more expensive than Instagram as it has a much longer tail. A YouTube video by a prominent or consistent creator will improve a brand’s performance on Google and deliver potential customers for years to come.
5. Gifting products instead of paying fees does not guarantee coverage. The only way to guarantee influencer content is to pay for it.
6. Post-pandemic, influencer fees are rising rapidly due to demand for influencer promotion combined with the contraction and transformation of the mainstream media. The monetisation of influencer platforms is now happening much earlier in the influencer’s journey and in some cases when they still have relatively small audiences. It stands to reason therefore that brands considering embarking on a programme of influencer marketing should act sooner rather than later.
By Sara McCorquodale, CEO and founder of CORQ, author of Influence: How Social Media Influencers Are Shaping Our Digital Future.