The ultimate influencer pay guide for 2022

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways for brands to ignite community engagement and drive sales. When launching and promoting a product or a brand, marketers often ask, "How should I reward an influencer for participation in our campaign?" Mostly, they get fuzzy data because paying for influencer advertising is not heavily regulated. Ultimately, influencer pay is influenced by a multitude of factors. Many influencers will accept different forms of compensation. But which are the most common, and how should you go about paying influencers for their work? First, you need to look at the factors that often contribute to an influencer’s pay rate.

What affects the influencer’s rate

In order to properly calculate the price you can offer an influencer you’ve decided to work with, it is important to understand what can affect the rates and what are the ways of rewarding Internet stars.

Number of followers and their engagement level

Influencers are usually categorized by the number of subscribers or followers:

  • Mega Influencers and Celebrity Influencers (more than 1 million followers)

  • Macro Influencers (100,000 to 1 million followers)

  • Micro-Influencers (1,000 to 100,000 followers).

An influencer marketing CRM platform can significantly reduce the time and effort required to find and manage the right influencers for your brand. With Pixlee’s CRM platform [Pixlee TurnTo is now Emplifi], you can discover the most engaging influencers of various sizes and industries without having to do it manually. After discovering the right influencers, you can easily manage and measure campaigns to determine the value of all influencer activities and access all influencer content in one location.

At first glance, the number of followers seems to be the most important point when choosing an influencer for cooperation. After all, the more people are following a blogger - the more users will see an integration with your brand. This is true and untrue at the same time.

Of course, the cost of a sponsored publication on a blog with millions of followers will be higher than on an account with ten thousand followers. But the cost of ad integration can also vary between Influencers with the same number of followers. This is because other metrics like engagement rate must be factored into your rate. Take a look at some of the top influencer marketing KPIs that you should be aware of.

Social media managers used to chase the number of followers. Today, everyone is interested in the quality of the audience and engagement. These are key indicators that directly affect the ranking of posts in the smart feed. Engagement is also determined by the speed of getting likes, social networks track this.

Simply put, a million passive and disloyal followers are valued much less than a million loyal users who are waiting for new posts, actively commenting, liking, etc. Therefore, in order to properly assess the cost of services, it is necessary to ask the Influencer to provide analytics of his profile.

Micro-influencers often have more engaged audiences because they've become an influencer in niche areas, leading their followers to trust the brands and products they recommend. Pixlee’s influencer marketing platform allows you to see engagement rate, followers, and other metrics so you can compare influencers within the platform.

Followers trust the average bloggers or micro-influencers, as they believe that they are not yet “spoiled” with advertising offers and are more careful in selecting them. This is another reason why the number of subscribers is not the most important aspect when choosing a person to represent your brand or service online. In fact, 82% of consumers stated that they would be highly likely to follow recommendations made by a micro-influencer.

Creativity and talent

The more creative your integration is, the more it will cost. To make an imaginative one-minute video for Instagram or TikTok, creators need to spend a few hours to come up with an idea, maybe buy the necessary attributes, film it, edit, etc. Let alone full-length video projects for YouTube, the creation of which can take weeks or even months.

The price will often vary between different creators. Each creator approaches content in their own unique way based on what they enjoy and what their subscribers want to see. Moreover, different creators have different needs - some may need video equipment and editing experience, while others may only need a phone with an internet connection.  

Makeup brand influencers from brands like Morphe are an example of influencers taking their own creative approaches to promote products. The influencer is the one who decides what look they’re going to do, how they’re going to make and edit their content, and ultimately how that content is presented to their audience.

morphe influencer creative approach

Of course, in this aspect, it's difficult to calculate even approximate amounts because it all depends on the complexity of the project, the effort and time spent by an influencer for its creation, and the specifics of the selected social network.

Long-term integration

The pricing is also affected by the long-term nature of the marketing campaign. Are you planning on reusing the content in different channels and for a one-time activation? Or will the influencer campaign extend beyond the initial  In the end, a long-term partnership will be more profitable than a single post? It's like buying wholesale and retail but in the realities of the social media sphere.

Pixlee allows you to maintain influencer campaigns within the platform so you can reference them at any time and manage relationships with past influencers you might want to work with again.

Moreover, the "life" of your integration on the influencer's account also has a direct impact on the final cost of the services (the longer the post will "live" on the blog - the more the customer will pay).

But that's not all, there is another aspect: if brand owners do not want the Influencer to create integrations with direct competitors of the brand in the next 2-3 months after publication, they will also pay extra for this service.

How to reward influencers

There are 4 basic types of reward and incentive programs:

  • In cash

  • Paying commission (affiliate marketing)

  • Presenting a product/service

  • Cash + presenting a product/service.

The most attractive option for Influencers, of course, is payments in cash equivalent. Therefore, we will take a closer look at this one first.

Rewarding in cash

When it comes to paying influencers for posting your product or brand, different social media platforms have different rates of compensation, with Instagram’s being the highest. Influencers’ rates are usually dependent on follower counts or engagement rates.

Determining a base price typically starts with these standard formulas and can increase from there based on supplemental factors.

  • Engagement rate per post + extras for type of post (x # of posts) + extra factors = total rate.    

  • $100 per 10,000 followers + extras for type of post (x # of posts) + additional factors = total rate.

Based on these formulas, the compensation for influencer content on Instagram could align with this scale:

  • 0 to 100,000 followers: $2,000 or less

  • 100,000 to 1,000,000 followers: $5,000 to $10,000

While it’s useful to know how much you should be paying your influencers for their posts during a campaign based on follower count, it shouldn’t be the only factor. You should also pay influencers for the quality of their content, which can later be used for other channels and continue to provide value to your brand beyond the length of the campaign.

It is important to note that these numbers are approximate based on standard formulas. Compensation for individual posts can vary widely between influencers of all sizes.

When calculating, you can rely on these figures, but do not forget about other aspects affecting the price described above. If your integration is imaginative and requires a lot of time for creation - take it into account, as well as the "life" of the post/video on the influencer's account.

Commission (affiliate marketing)

Affiliate marketing is on the rise. With more brands looking for cost-effective strategies to reach their target audience, we continue to see an increase in the use of affiliate marketing to promote products. The U.S. affiliate marketing industry’s annual spending is projected to reach $8.2 billion by 2022, a nearly 3 billion dollar increase since 2017.   It may be acceptable for micro-bloggers, but macro-influencers will most likely not agree to cooperate on such terms. Why not? Let's take a closer look.

First, it all depends on the sales of a brand. Brand owners should be confident that their product will be sold well enough to make a reasonable amount of money for the influencer.

Additionally, commission with influencers typically comes from a unique discount code your brand gives to an influencer, who then makes a commission on the sales they directly bring in using that code.

Morphe is one of many brands that gives its influencers a discount code to offer to their followers to receive a percentage off of their purchase.

Morphe discount code

This method may also have some technical inconveniences to overcome without the right affiliate tracking tools in place.

Barter collaboration

Another way to reward an Influencer is to provide a brand product or a service for free.

It goes like this: a brand provides some of its best products to the influencer absolutely for free, and the influencer tests products and shares his/her opinion about it on the blog. In this case, the brand owners get advertising on a barter basis. By bartering, a blogger can get anything: from a service (a visit to a beauty salon, entertainment event, etc.) to a product (cosmetics, appliances, household items, etc.).

It should be noted that micro-bloggers work on a barter basis more often. For macro-bloggers, brands probably have to offer something more. This could include free product samples, access to exclusive products before the official launch, invitations to VIP events, or perhaps even letting them do a giveaway with exclusive products for their followers.

Product and cash

Unlike the previous method of rewarding the influencer, this option will work for both micro and macro-bloggers.

In this case, in addition to a product for review, the opinion leader also gets paid in cash. This and the previous method are great because an influencer has the opportunity to test the product well before expressing an opinion about it. Such reviews are much more valuable for followers because they are more objective and honest.

Also, the Influencer has the right to refuse advertising after receiving the product. This happens when the product turns out to be of poor quality or even dangerous, and the blogger values the trust of his followers and is worried about his/her reputation.

There are many ways to approach influencer compensation. While many may prefer a direct cash payment for their work, passionate fans and micro-influencers may be open to creating content in exchange for exclusivity.

Dmytro Sokhach is an entrepreneur and the 6-Figure Flipper Club member. Founded Admix Global (web agency) that builds websites, makes them profitable and sells them as a business.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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