Paying Influencers: What Brands Need to Know in 2019

by Influencers, Social Media Marketing

How much should I pay Instagram influencers? As a brand, it can be complicated to negotiate with Instagram influencers, especially since it is such a new industry. Most influencers don’t publicize their rates and it can be hard to find a definite answer on what to pay. To start negotiating with influencers, check out these commonly asked questions.

Should I Pay Instagram Influencers?

This is a question as old as the influencer marketing model. Although many brands rely on free products in exchange for honest reviews, the field of influencer marketing has become so competitive that many brands have started paying their influencers for the post.

When considering whether or not to pay Instagram influencers, it is important to consider all the costs of influencer marketing. Be sure to include the cost of the products sent, the time invested into the program, and the return on investment from each influencer when determining a price to pay for posts. 

66% of businesses say that they pay under $250 per post, according to Ignite Visibility.

Doing research on the influencer’s engagement rates, follower count, and other criteria could also help to determine how much they are paid for the campaign. In addition to cash payments, there are also alternative influencer payments to consider, such as: 

How should I pay Instagram influencers? Alternative Influencer Payments

How much should I pay an Instagram influencer? Well, the question is more nuanced than that. There are several types of payments, in addition to paying money.

In-Kind/Free Products

Almost every brand/influencer partnership involves some sort of free product exchange, but the question is — is that enough of a payment? If you are offering free products, be sure to look at the value of the products offered when calculating whether this product gift is a sufficient payment for the work involved for the influencer. 

Collectively reported in a recent report that “54% of influencers say they would be more likely to post in-kind, or in exchange for free product, if they’re a true fan of the product or brand.” This is great news for brands using their CRM to generate influencer leads, as these influencers are more likely to work in exchange for free product. Using an app like Carro can help brands identify influencers that are already connected to your brand. Influencers will be more excited to partner with a brand they know and love. 

Reposting

If an influencer already has a connection to your brand, reposting could be a wonderful added incentive for partnering with you. If you plan to repost an influencer’s content to your brand page, be sure mention this as part of compensation. Featuring influencers on your brand page can also be a public way to show the influencer how much you support their hard work and creativity. However, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper image usage rights before you post their content.

Affiliate Commissions

Another method of payment that has fallen out of favor among influencers in recent years is affiliate commissions, but it is still very popular among brands. Affiliate commissions are a great way to avoid paying for underperforming posts and instead only pays if the campaign and influencer is successful. 

Affiliate commissions are given to the influencer whenever someone makes a purchase on the brand’s website based on the influencer’s content or review. Whenever influencers are sending purchasers to your site, they would get a percentage of the sales as payment for their recommendation. Commissions can range anywhere from 1-50%. According to CoSpot Affiliate Marketer Blog, an average affiliate commission rate should be 5-30%. 

Commissions will vary by industry, product prices, and individual companies. If your brand is planning to pay with affiliate commissions, you’ll need to install affiliate marketing software to keep track of affiliate discount codes and referrals. Refersion, ShareASale, Commission Junction, ClickBank, AffiliateWP, and HasOffers are all popular solutions for affiliate marketing tracking.

How Much Do Influencers Cost? How much should I pay an Instagram influencer?

Based on their survey of 2,500 influencers, Klear states that influencer marketing posts (Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube) could cost a brand anywhere from $41-$2,400. Instagram Stories are the most affordable option, but they also have a clear expiration date and limited exposure. These types of posts are also one of the most popular placements for sponsored content, with 1 in 3 sponsored posts on Instagram appearing on Stories.

On the other side of the spectrum is YouTube. YouTube is the most expensive placement for an influencer campaign, since the requirements for video content are more significant than other platforms. 

Influencer rates also vary greatly between category. Travel influencers were among the priciest options for sponsored content, while beauty influencers (a more common category of influencer) pulled in significantly lower numbers.

Later reported in February 2018 that most brands paid less than $250 per influencer post. Later also reported that brands typically experienced an average 3.21% engagement with influencer marketing, compared to 1.5% across all other social efforts.

There is no hard-and-fast rule for pricing with influencers, but a general rule is to pay 1 cent per follower ($100 per 10K followers). This sets a good foundation for starting a negotiation with an influencer, but can quickly run up costs when working with influencers with 100K+ followers.

Microinfluencers may be the best way to get the most bang for your buck as well. Neoreach states that influencers with 50K to 250K followers delivered a 30% better ROI per dollar spent than other influencers with larger followings. Microinfluencers also typically have more affordable rates than their macro-influencer counterparts.

Klear surveyed their influencers and provided the following insights into influencer payments:

Paying Influencers Comparison Chart

Source: Klear

Entrepreneur.com recommends the following price breakdown for one blog post and two social posts: 

Micro-influencers (5,000-50,000 followers/reach) – 

  • $200-$1,500 with standard usage rights and no exclusivity
  • $400-$4,000 with extended usage rights and exclusivity

Mid-tier influencers (50,000-100,000 followers/reach) – 

  • $1,500-$4,000 with standard usage rights and no exclusivity
  • $2,500-$7,500 with extended usage rights and exclusivity

Top-tier influencers (non-celebrities with 100,000+ followers/reach) – 

  • $4,000-$20,000 with standard usage rights and no exclusivity
  • $15,000-$50,000+ with extended usage rights and exclusivity

Source: Influence.co Influencer Vertical

Ignite Visibility offers slightly different numbers for influencer posts: 

 

Followers on Instagram Price Per Post
2,000-10,000 $75-$250
10,000-50,000 $250-$500
50,000-100,000+ $500-$1,000

Ignite Visibility also recommends different prices per platform. On YouTube, they suggest that standard payment per subscriber is $20 per 1,000 subscribers, or $2,000 per 100,000 subscribers. Alternatively, they recommend $0.05-$0.10 per view on YouTube if you choose a per view pricing model. On Snapchat, they recommend $0.10-$0.35 per view.

Hootsuite offers a simplified Instagram pricing model of :

$100 x 10,000 followers + extras = total rate

These different pricing models should help you determine how much you should pay an Instagram influencer for your influencer marketing campaigns.

Don’t be intimidated by the numbers! For every budget, there is an influencer eager to work with your brand, so look for the influencer that can fit your budget and convey your message to their audience. 

To put these numbers in perspective, Selena Gomez is considered one of the highest paid influencers on Instagram with 151 million followers. She charges an estimated $550,000 per post on her Instagram page!

What Should I Require From Influencers Before Payment?

It is essential to set clear expectations before agreeing to pay an influencer in exchange for content. 

Some considerations: 

  • What is the influencer required to post or provide to the brand?
  • Do you have an agreement to use the content in other advertising for the brand? Does the influencer own full rights to the content they are creating?
  • How long is the influencer required to keep the post active on their platform?

Although not always necessary, it can be good to have a written and signed contract in place for influencer marketers. It is especially recommended when paying a higher rate or when the requirements are specific. This will ensure that the influencer and brand both complete the requirements for a great partnership. If your brand doesn’t have the capabilities for contracts, you can use a free template to outline your expectations. 

If you decide a contract isn’t necessary, then getting the agreement in writing is a must. Don’t settle for a phone call to outline what you expect from the collaboration. An email thread will help ensure that both the influencer and the brand hold up their side of the deal. 

Conclusion

In determining how much you should pay Instagram influencers, there seems to be no right answer. 41% of marketers said they have seen more success with influencer marketing campaigns than with traditional ads.

When your brand is ready to dive into influencer marketing, consider all the factors that can affect your pricing and then begin the negotiations. Many influencers will work with you to find the price that works for your brand and campaign goals. 

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