How much does an influencer earn exactly? Well, it isn’t a one size fits all answer. Depending on their following size, engagement, location and consistency different influencers will bring in different amounts of revenue. Hell, even a singular influencer themself will experience highs and lows month by month in their own salary – it is a freelance business after all.
Within the role, the main way influencers get paid is through brand deals. This could be a collaboration Reel on Instagram showing how you style three pairs of the brand’s shoes or only 30 seconds of a 10 minute YouTube vlog spent gushing over Gail’s cinnamon buns or how easy it is to make a website using Squarespace.
To paint a picture of how much influencers can earn, TikToker Naomi Melanie Leanage, who boasts 500,000 followers, charges a minimum of $6,000 for a TikTok post alone.
Brand deals often start to come to influencers organically and via reach out agencies like Commerce Hub. Once an influencer is more established, they’ll be approached by an agency and will be pitched for brand partnerships from there. The agency will usually take 15-25% of the pay cut.
It isn’t just brands that pay influencers to promote products… Similarly management teams and record labels often pay them to promote songs and artists in an attempt to make a track go viral.
Another way influencers make revenue is through affiliate links. This is where an influencer would utilise platforms like LiketoKnow.it and Collective Voice (formerly ShopStyle) to generate affiliate links, or discount codes provided by brands, to earn a percentage of sales.
A classic way for creators to earn money is through subscription formats – almost a digital version of the original fan club format. In 2020, Instagram announced “Badges,” which allow fans to tip creators who livestream on the app. Two years later, Instagram added “Gifts” on Instagram reels, which let fans send influencers “gifts” via the Instagram app using its own internal currency called Stars.
Instagram has also rolled out a paid-content feature called Subscriptions. Subscriptions allow creators to share gated content, from exclusive stories to livestreams, in a fashion similar to that of Patreon or OnlyFans.
We couldn’t acknowledge influencer pay without mentioning the various Paid Partner Programs set up by social media platforms. The concept of these is a pay per click format. Realistically, this is no way to make money with mega influencers like KSI only making £3,000 after tax from YouTube views alone.
For creators with lower subscription rates, a study shared what TikTok pays influencers through its Creator Fund in a day. It ranged from $0.05 to $189. The company is currently testing a new fund, dubbed its Creativity Program, where it pays creators “higher average gross revenue” tied to views for making videos that are longer than one minute. Influencers can only participate in either the creator fund or the creativity program. However, the likelihood that creators can make decent bank from this is slim.
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