Instagram influencer rates are one of social media’s best-kept secrets.
Sure, there are whispers and rumours, like Kendall Jenner’s reported $250,000 haul for her Fyre Festival endorsement on Instagram. But what exactly are the calculations that go into making influencer marketing a $6.5 billion industry?
For most Instagram influencers, a sponsored post involves a lot more work than posting an orange square. (For those not in the know, Fyre Festival promoters created buzz by paying macro-influencers to post an orange jpeg.)
Creating branded content involves time, labour, skill, and production costs. And those things aren’t paid for with products and freebies.
And paying the right price pays off. But what is the right price?
Read on to find the best formula for calculating rates, the benefits of different sponsorship plans, and other factors that might affect influencer pricing.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.
The basic formula for calculating fair Instagram influencer rates
There are many factors that determine the rate an influencer charges for their work. Most pricing starts with this baseline formula and goes up from there.
$100 x 10,000 followers + extras = total rate
Typically, influencers will have a press kit describing their rates and the types of partnerships available. Depending on the campaign, bundled content or special rates can also be worked out to reduce labor and costs.
What type of influencer is right for your goals?
From personal finance to plant-based influencers, there are micro, macro, and power middle influencers in every category. Depending on your Instagram marketing goals, certain influencers may be a better match for your brand.
If your goal is brand awareness
For brands looking to create widespread buzz, macro-influencers with large follower accounts may be the best bet. Macro-influencers typically have more than 200,000 followers, which gives them the ability to reach a wider audience.
If your goal is conversions
An influencer’s engagement rate is one of the most reliable ways to predict conversions on Instagram.
Engagement rates can be calculated by adding up all engagements on a post (likes, comments, clicks, shares), dividing by follower count, and multiplying by 100.
The average engagement rate on Instagram is 2.1 percent.
If your goal is conversions, an influencer’s engagement rate may matter more than follower count. Here’s where power-middle influencers (25,000-200,000 followers) often come in.
For instance, a power-middle influencer with 179K followers and a high engagement rate will likely be a better partner than a macro influencer with a lower engagement rate.
Some influencers may charge more than $100 per 10,000 followers if they have a higher than average engagement rate.
If your goal is to reach a niche audience
Micro influencers have 25,000 followers or less, and are very often popular in location or topic-specific communities. They specialize in a range of industries of categories, including anything from sports and gaming, to travel and food.
Audience sizes of niche influencers can range from micro to macro. For instance, beauty influencer Hudda Kattan has a whopping 33 million followers.
If your brand falls into a niche category, it’s worthwhile to map out the micro influencers in your industry’s social community. A good brand fit is important to influencers, and will lead to a more authentic and successful campaign.
Niche influencers may charge more than the basic rate for the expertise they bring to their specific audience.
Types of Instagram posts and partnerships
There are a number of ways to collaborate with influencers on Instagram. Here we break down the main items and formats Instagram influencers charge for. We also highlight each of their unique benefits.
A standard sponsored Instagram post typically includes a photo and caption.
In some cases the product is featured in the image. In other cases, like when a service is being promoted, the caption is more crucial.
Benefits of an Instagram photo:
- It’s easy to predict and track post performance.
- Partnership disclaimers can be added clearly.
- Product and brand tagging can be added. Tagging can be reinforced in the caption as well.
- Super short links can be added to the caption.
- Allows for authentic storytelling.
- Can be further promoted in an Instagram story.
The key difference between an Instagram post and slideshow is that a slideshow allows an influencer to build more of a narrative, or showcase the sponsorship in multiple ways.
However, added content will involve added costs–especially if multiple shoots are required.
Benefits of an Instagram slideshow:
- Offers multiple ways for an audience to engage with content.
- Features different products or use-cases for your brand.
- Creates more room for an influencer to add their authentic take.
- Allows for more complex or nuanced storytelling.
Video’s star continues to rise on social, and Instagram is no different, tracking an 80 percent year-over-year increase.
Most content creators appreciate that a video involves greater production costs than a photo, but the added investment can often translate into more than just added engagement.
Benefits of Instagram video
- Gives the influencer a voice, literally. This often shows the influencer’s audience a new side person they follow.
- Allows for compelling storytelling.
- Builds bundling potential. Consider working teasers or behind-the-scenes posts or Instagram Stories into a video shoot.
Instagram influencer @parisinfourmonths shared teasers while creating this post, building excitement for its debut:
View this post on Instagram
Getting in that holiday spirit together with @Chopard and their beautiful #ChopardHappyHearts collection ✨ I can’t believe that Christmas is just around the corner and that last year’s holiday shoot that we did together in Geneva was already a whole year ago ???? Time flies! Thank you for having me again this year @Chopardbycaroline ???? #ad (Video by: myself & @journeyintolavillelumiere)
Instagram giveaway or contest
Instagram contests are a great way to grow followers and brand awareness. Typically a contest involves asking a user to do something for a chance to win a prize, whether it’s tagging a friend, liking your account, or sharing a post.
Benefits of an Instagram contest:
- Reaches a wider audience at a low cost-per-engagement.
- Earns audience information, especially if your contest involves a prompt like “comment with your dream destination and tag a friend.”
- Puts your product or service front and center.
View this post on Instagram
GIVEAWAY! ???? I've teamed up with @niveacanada to spread some joy over the holidays. Tag two of your favourite people in the comments section below, and all three of you will have a chance to win a #TessasFavourites Gift Pack! . #TessaxNIVEA . *No purchase necessary. Ends December 19th, 2018 at 11:59 pm (ET). Open to Residents of Canada, 18+. Prizes: 10x Tessa's Favourites Gift Pack, including 2x NIVEA Care Nourishing Cream and 1x NIVEA MicellAIR Cleansing Water (total value of $17). Conditions apply. 1 entry/person. Correct answer to math skill-testing question required. Contest is not sponsored by Instagram® / Facebook®. . Winner will be announced via Instagram on Thursday, December 20th, 2018 at 9:00 AM (ET). Winners will be contacted no later than Thursday, December 20th at 12:00 PM (ET), to claim prizes.
An Instagram story is a photo or video that vanishes after 24 hours. Production quality can range from off-the-cuff smartphone footage to polished uploaded content, and costs will vary accordingly.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.Get the free checklist right now!
Benefits of an Instagram Story
- Often looks more casual and authentic.
- Allows the influencer to add personality through GIFs, markups, and sticks.
- Prominent tagging can be added more easily. Influencers can be precious about their feed’s aesthetic, but tend to be more flexible with Story content.
One drawback about Instagram Stories is that they’re harder to track. Instagram’s API offers limited retrievable data. That and they disappear unless highlighted (you can pay extra to have your content included in an influencers Story Highlights).
Instagram Story with swipe up
The swipe up feature on Instagram is a seamless way to earn in-app conversions. And since links are hard to come by in Instagram’s ecosystem, story swipe ups have added value.
Depending on the influencer, swipe ups may cost more.
Benefits of an Instagram Story with swipe up:
- Provides a cost-effective way to earn conversions and quality leads.
- Allows your brand to add context with a specific or custom landing page.
- Offers a reliable means to gauge audience interest in your brand.
- Brings customers a step closer to making a purchase.
If you’re working with a micro-influencer that has fewer than 10,000 followers or is not verified, they may not have access to this feature.
Instagram Story with poll
Adding a poll to an Instagram Story is a low-cost way to learn more about an influencer’s followers (and your prospective customers).
Benefits of an Instagram Story with a poll:
- Captures immediate feedback from the influencer’s audience in a fun way.
- Posting poll results is another low-cost way to increase exposure by another 24 hours.
A brand takeover usually involves hosting the influencer’s content on your brand’s feed for an agreed upon length of time. A takeover agreement may involve asks for the influencer to promote it a certain number of times from their account–in posts and/or Stories.
Benefits of a brand takeover:
- Brings the influencer’s followers to your account.
- Helps to increase brand awareness.
- Promotes influencer’s content and perspective, which often comes across as more authentic.
- Opens the door for bundle or special rate agreements. Influencers should always be paid, but if your brand can offer special tours or access, that can be factored in as well.
View this post on Instagram
One of my favourite shots ever!! Thanks @tapairportugal for allowing me to do a takeover this week. It’s been a blast! Repost from @tapairportugal The path is set and it’s time to get going. I hope you enjoyed seeing my photos in here! ???? Until next time. ???? // É com pena que me despeço, mas está na altura de seguir o meu caminho. Espero que tenham gostado das fotos que partilhei! ???? Até à próxima. ???? (Laird Kay, @lairdkay, Photographer/Fotógrafo) #tapairportugal #staralliance
View this post on Instagram
Incredibly honoured to be doing an Instagram takeover of @tapairportugal this week to celebrate their 73rd birthday!!! Check it out for lots of birthday themed photos! Repost from @tapairportugal Laird Kay signing in! ???? In honor of TAP’s birthday month, I was one of the clients invited to share some photos with all of you. ???? Hop in and tag along, there's plenty of space for all! ???? // Olá, daqui Laird Kay! ???? Em honra do 73º aniversário da TAP, fui um dos clientes convidados para partilhar algumas fotos por aqui. ???? Venham daí, há espaço para todos! ???? (Laird Kay, @lairdkay, Photographer/Fotógrafo) #tapairportugal #staralliance
Having an influencer highlight branded stories extends the expiry date of that content. This will also put your brand in prime real estate on their account’s profile.
However, high visibility like this will come at a higher cost.
Benefits of Story Highlights
- Maximum exposure. On an Instagram profile, highlights are positioned above the feed, meaning brand placement here is a step above photos or videos.
- Stories won’t be highlighted forever, but they live longer than 24 hours and increase the odds that they’ll reach more viewers.
- Increases conversions. If the highlighted story includes a swipe-up, it’s likely you’ll earn more visits and leads, for a longer time.
Link in Bio
The only place where links are active on Instagram is in a person’s account bio. If you’re planning to sponsor an influencer post, it may be worthwhile to invest more by asking them to promote a link from their bio.
Benefits of Link in Bio:
- Prime visibility. Someone may miss a post or story, but if they visit an influencer’s profile they’ll see your link. Consider asking the influencer to include a call-to-action in their bio as well.
- Increases traffic. If your brand is angling to drive visitors to a certain webpage, this is one of the best ways to do it on Instagram.
IGTV is the longer form video vertical on Instagram. It has pride of place on the platform, appearing at the top of the feed, in the explore tab, and next to highlights on a user’s feed.
Because IGTV typically involves higher production and has high visibility, it will involve higher costs.
Benefits of IGTV:
- Boosts visibility of content in the app.
- If the influencer is verified and has enough followers, they can post vertical videos up to 60 minutes in length, allowing for long-form storytelling.
- IGTV videos can include clickable links.
Other factors that affect Instagram influencer pricing
Brands in search of quality partnerships should budget for these cost factors when marketing with influencers.
If you want to maintain ownership of the content you create with an influencer, so that you can use it on other platforms or down the line, this will likely impact the influencer’s rate.
Various production related costs such as how long it takes to produce the content (labor), props, clothing, hair and makeup, photography, editing, and travel, should be factored into influencer rates.
Many influencers are represented by managers or agencies such as Crowdtap, Niche, Tapinfluencer, or Maker Studios. These companies will typically charge handling fees.
The length of the campaign will have a direct affect on influencer pricing based on the added labour, content, and exclusivity requirements attached to it.
Depending on how much time a brand gives an influencer to create content, a rush fee may be applied.
Most contracts include an exclusivity clause, in which the influencer agrees not to work with competitors for a determined length of time. Since this could cost influencers prospective deals, it will affect the cost.
If an influencer feels that a company lacks a level of affinity with their personal brand, they may charge for what the partnership may cost them in credibility.
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