One of the most common questions we receive from brand representatives when performing a platform demo or onboarding session is “How much do you think I should pay influencers in my campaign?” Until this year, there was very little influencer compensation data available.
As the largest warm contact influencer platform, Intellifluence conducted an extensive survey to answer the aforementioned question posed by many brands. No longer do companies have to resort to guesstimates such as “a penny per follower” when trying to determine how much compensation to offer creators within an influencer marketing campaign. We are confident this 2021 Influencer Compensation Report will help you determine the right amount to pay the influencers you choose to collaborate with.
Methodology and Social Channel Focus
The following report contains the results of a compensation questionnaire we sent out to our Influencers based in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom in May of 2021. 1249 Influencers completed the questionnaire and the graphs show the mean compensation expectations, grouped by follower counts.
It should go without saying that a Tweet is different than a YouTube review. As such, we broke out compensation questions based on social channel type to get the most accurate figures. Additionally, we have grouped influencers by audience size to create simple ranges you can consider when pitching influencers.
Key point: 41% of Influencers say Brands are not offering adequate Compensation in their Pitches
Choosing the right channel is essential. Not all social channels are created equal and not all will be effective for all types of businesses. Review the article titled Which Social Channel Will Bring Sales for Your Business? to determine which channel is best for your business. Next, consider the pricing laid out by Influencers in the following sections when determining your budget and campaign compensation.
“Brands have to understand that creators put a lot of work into a single post. Influencers are the advertising agency, the model, the photographer, the makeup artist, the wardrobe stylist, the editor and copywriter all-in-one…”
While the concept of influencing via word-of-mouth has been around for millennia, influencer marketing has gained immense popularity over the last decade. We asked our Influencers how long they have been in the game:
24.2% have been influencers for less than a year
39.7% have been influencers for 1-3 years
18.7% have been influencers for 4-6 years
17.4% have been influencers for 7+ years
How do you prefer to be compensated?
Cash is king, right? While it’s always a good idea to offer cash compensation when pitching an Influencer, the majority of Influencers are happy with receiving a combination of product and cash. Pro tip: Don’t overvalue your product MSRP, as Influencers value transparency!
5.7% of influencers prefer product-only compensation
24.8% of influencers prefer cash-only compensation
69.5% of influencers prefer a combination of product and cash compensation
Do you believe you are being fairly compensated?
While over 30% of our Influencers feel they are currently being adequately compensated for their work, a quarter aren’t sure. Note that this is separate from the aforementioned statistic regarding sentiments on pitch amount. This demonstrates education regarding compensation is necessary for both Brands and Influencers, but also suggests some of the disparity might be mitigated by negotiation on price.
When putting together an influencer marketing plan, Instagram is often the perfect place to start. The visual-centric nature of the social channel makes for aesthetically pleasing content and stories with swipe up capabilities offer great opportunities to convert. Industry surveys routinely place Instagram at the top when it comes to strategically important social channels.
As with all social channels, it is important to consider their following when pitching Instagram Influencers. As you can see in the graph on the following page, there is a noticeable jump in expected compensation at the 50,000 follower mark.
“Posts and Videos take a really long time and effort to create for us. We have to think about where to shoot, how to shoot, retake as many times as possible and we spend 3-4 hours on just content for one brand. There needs to be a understanding that this is a job, and we deserve to be paid for the content we create.”
Don’t fixate on follower count though, as you don’t want to neglect the power of the peer influencer. Peer Influencers might have smaller followings, but their audience is often very loyal. Small businesses in particular can benefit greatly by simply focusing on Peer Influencers to promote their products and services, especially to younger consumers.
Here is what Intellifluence Influencers expect in compensation when posting on Instagram, organized by their following:
1 – 9,999 followers: $193.74
10,000 – 19,999 followers: $273.82
20,000- 29,999 followers: $311.31
30,000 – 39,999 followers: $377.56
40,000 – 49,999 followers: $517.91
50,000 – 59,999 followers: $744.56
60,000 – 69,999 followers: $750.00
70,000 – 79,999 followers: $809.00
80,000 – 89,999 followers: $1001.00
90,000+ followers: $1221.00
While Instagram is a great place to begin your influencer marketing efforts, you should not ignore the largest social network in the word: Facebook. With over 2.79 billion active users (Statista), Facebook offers brands the ability to promote products and services via posts with clickable links.
Key Point: $209.88 is the average expected compensation for Facebook influencers per post
Additionally, Facebook is the second most preferred platform behind Instagram, according to a study by Bloglovin, so finding the right Influencers isn’t difficult.
“Creating content isn’t just about analytics, but also understanding the brand’s vision and reflecting that on the materials presented. Brands should prioritize Influencers with a unique point of view and those who have the capacity to create high quality content”
Intellifluence is home to over 50,000 trusted Facebook Influencers waiting to collaborate with brands.
Is Facebook Right for you?
In the article titled Which Social Channel Will Bring Sales for Your Business?, the Social Channel Usefulness Matrix is introduced, which examines popular social networks based on their usefulness to brands, using Boolean logic.
“Time is money. And the proper compensation will make influencers create valuable content.”
Facebook was determined to be a very versatile choice, enabling brands to feature casual or professional content with detail and high quality imagery.
While it might not be the first network that comes to mind when brainstorming a prospective influencer marketing campaign, be sure not to overlook Twitter. One doesn’t have to look far on the Internet to see examples of how Twitter has been used to influence public policy – and the same approach can be used to influence consumers. While not necessarily image-centric, Twitter enables marketers to get a message out quickly and effectively.
“Influencers are mini ambassadors of your brand, and when they’re paid well, they’ll broadcast your brand and products more than originally agreed-upon.”
Additionally, the Retweet capability is a fantastic option for brands looking to quickly amplify existing content. Since the Tweet/Retweet actions are far less time-consuming than longform writing or video creation, you can adjust your pricing accordingly. You’ll notice the pricing for Tweets displayed on the following page is dramatically lower than other networks.
Just because this is a short-form network, don’t skimp on imagery. Buffer reports Tweets with images get 150% more Retweets! Consider Twitter your friend when running contests, looking to get a hash tag trending, or simply promoting your product or service in a pithy, minimalist manner. Hootsuite estimates there are 187 million monetizable daily active Twitter users and 70% of users are male, making this a unique network.
How much cash do you expect for a typical Tweet?
1 – 4,999 followers: $56.30
5,000 – 9,999 followers: $64.80
10,000- 14,999 followers: $81.52
15,000 – 19,999 followers: $88.20
20,000 – 24,999 followers: $101.00
25,000+ followers: $125.78
A common question we ask Influencers during Intellifluence Influencer Spotlight interviews is “where do you see influencer marketing in the next five years or so?” Without missing a beat, the interviewee almost always predicts an increasing emphasis on video content – both short-form (think TikTok) and long-form (yep, YouTube).
“A lot of brands may not understand how much pre work is done to create a quality video; but it’s a lot. Then you have shooting, along with post editing. It’s a lot more time than what some brands may recognize.”
Running a YouTube campaign almost always requires a larger budget because there is simply more work required to produce a quality YouTube review, tutorial, vlog or general video. Throw in editing time, the time it takes to upload/optimize and it’s no wonder the payout required can easily double that of a standard Instagram or Facebook post. In fact, when using the rudimentary “penny per follower” rule some outlets recommend as a starting point, the payout turns to “two pennies per subscriber.”
As with the other social channels, we asked our valued YouTube Influencers to provide accurate pricing details so you can save yourself time and effort when looking for quality YouTube content.
“It takes a lot of time to make original quality content so that should be considered when pitching, especially when requesting more time-consuming content like a video. We are also providing an audience that trusts our recommendations, so our content will be more effective than advertising to a cold audience.”
We organized the charts to display compensation preferences for peer/authoritative influencers (those many of us believe to be our equals all the way up to topical experts) and also aspirational influencers (often referred to as macro or celebrity influencers). We define Influencer types in the What is Influencer Marketing? post.
1 – 4,999 followers: $207.32
5,000 – 9,999 followers: $331.40
10,000 – 14,999 followers: $567.00
15,000 – 19,999 followers: $731.44
850,000 – 899,999 followers: $1000.00
900,000 – 899,999 followers: $1250.00
950,000 – 999,999 followers: $2000.00
1,000,000+ followers: $3666.67
Since adding TikTok support into the mix in 2019, Intellifluence has surpassed 12,000 TikTok Influencers. This highly engaging social network has over 100 million active users on a monthly basis in the U.S. alone, with 73.9% of its users under the age of 40 (Business of Apps).
“The amount of work that goes into photos, videos, reels, editing, social shareables, story templates, content creation is a lot!”
With an emphasis on humor and music, TikTok enables brands to flaunt their casual side and effectively market to a younger audience. Just remember that TikTok videos might seem like they are made on the fly, but there is a lot of thought and production that goes into them, as our Influencers routinely pointed out in our survey!
As you’ll see in the following chart, there is a large jump in expected compensation once a TikTok Influencer surpasses 15,000 followers, so price accordingly!
“Brands should consider a higher engagement rate versus total following.”
As with YouTube, we provided data from our Aspirational Influencers to show pricing trends among TikTokers with large audiences.
1 – 4,999 followers: $207.32
5,000 – 9,999 followers: $331.40
10,000 – 14,999 followers: $567.00
15,000 – 19,999 followers: $731.44
20,000 – 24,999 followers: $731.44
25,000+ followers: $731.44
1,000,000 – 1,999,999 followers: $2,658.33
2,000,000 – 2,999,999 followers: $2,750.00
3,000,000 – 3,999,999 followers: $3,093.06
4,000,000 – 4,999,999 followers: $3,436.11
5,000,000+ followers: $4,372.22
Many brands understand the value of quality written content in addition to social media posts by influencers. Blogs are essential for search engine optimization (SEO) and are also a natural choice for amplifying existing influencer content or longform product reviews.
“It takes time and effort to not only write an article, but find and edit appropriate images. Ensure the article is SEO friendly before publishing and then social promotion afterwards. It takes more time than brands consider.”
We included the compensation data from bloggers alongside influencers to help paint a complete picture as we consider blogs to be a crucial component of an effective influencer marketing strategy.
“I have been running a website for over ten years. I put a high value on my audience, some of whom have followed me since I first started blogging, and my site itself. Low-ball offers are a waste of my time.”
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Trust Flow (TF) is a flow metric developed by Majestic which represents the quality of links (which can indicate trustworthiness) that point to URLs and websites.
How much cash do you expect for a typical blog post of 500-800 words? Organized by Domain Authority (DA)
DA 1-10: $204.18
DA 11-24: $262.84
DA 25-49: $303.43
DA 50+: $549.15
How much cash do you expect for a typical blog post of 500-800 words? Organized by Trust Flow (TF)
TF 1-9: $215.00
TF 10-19: $276.84
TF 20+: $330.07
Our goal for this compensation study was to provide data straight from our Influencers across the major social channels, but also lay the groundwork for intuitive pricing guidance. Admittedly, there are many variables that come into play when using influencer marketing. Product MSRP, influencer followings, engagement rates, ROI goals and more can complicate campaigns. This is likely why so few credible influencer compensation studies have been created up to this point.
For Brands, offering adequate compensation will save much time and effort, as well as encourage a much higher quality result. For Influencers, adequate compensation will encourage repeat engagements.
Andrew is the Head of Client Services for Intellifluence and has a background in communications. He is committed to helping brands get the most out of their campaigns and is the co-host of the Influencer Spotlight series.