Influencer marketing expands your brand’s reach and speaks to a generation tired of overproduced and inauthentic advertising. Consumers trust influencers’ recommendations (61%) compared to a brand’s social media account’s recommendations (38%).
Even if you’re familiar with influencer marketing and branded content, when it comes to influencer pricing, everyone seems to have an opinion. There isn’t a standard way to measure performance in influencer marketing, so determining the right influencer for your brand, what platforms you want them to broadcast on, and how much you should pay them can be complicated.
Factors to consider before partnering with influencers
Before reaching out to influencers, consider your strategy and goals.
What are your goals?
To gauge the success of your partnership, write out your goals and specify key performance indicators (KPI) in a spreadsheet or planning document. The following KPIs are a good starting point:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase sales (you can also track affiliate sales in as a KPI in Shopify Collabs)
- Increase followers
Affiliate marketing is a sales model where a brand pays a third-party to recommend products or services to their audience. In return the third-party receives a referral commission. Most brands have an affiliate program because it’s low-risk and a commission is only paid after products are purchased.
When you set up an affiliate marketing program make sure you set it up and track it properly. The Shopify Collabs app is built to help merchants create, manage, and track affiliate sales.
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While production arrangements are likely something you won’t need to worry about, it’s still a good idea to be well versed on what that means. Depending on your business and partnership you may need to consider:
- If your influencers are expected to travel and what arrangements may need to be made?
- Do they need to rent a studio?
- What kind of equipment do they need for content creation?
Timeline for content production
Factor in how long it will take for the influencer to produce the content you need. Asking for multiple posts in a short time frame might make your offer hard to accept, especially with in-demand influencers who have other contracts to fulfill. To take that into account, bank in a few extra weeks for negotiations and final arrangements.
Instagram influencer pricing
The 2021 average cost for an Instagram post was $1170 and $906 for an Instagram story. While these estimates are averages influencers, it’s helpful to predict your budget.
Influencer rates should be based on follower count and engagement rate. However, there are other factors that can impact a rate, such as talent and access to a niche audience.
Typically influencers have rate sheets they have for the content they are willing to produce. Use those rates as defaults when modeling and predicting outcomes. Since the influencers understand their audience and reach, a partnership might not even require negotiation. According to InfluencerMarketingHub, the standard Instagram influencer rate sheet based on reach is as follows:
- Nano influencers (1000 - 10,000 followers): $10 - $100 per post
- Micro influencers (10,000 - 50,000 followers): $100 - $500 per post
- Mid-tier influencers (50,000 - 500,000 followers): $500 - $5,000 per post
- Macro influencers (500,000 - 1,000,000 followers): $5000 - $10,000 per post
- Mega influencers (1,000,000+ followers): $10,000+ per post
As a baseline, the industry standard is $100 per 10,000 followers. You can use the following formulas as generic guides:
$100 per 10,000 followers + number of posts + additional factors (i.e. expenses for shoot, usage, exclusivity) = total rate.
Alternatively, estimate an influencer’s base rate by calculating 4% of their following and adding the number of posts + additional factors to get your final rate.
TikTok influencer pricing
The average cost for a sponsored TikTok is $3,514. That’s the second highest after YouTube which averages $4,491 per video. While the cost for a TikTok is three times that of an Instagram post, producing video content is more time consuming than creating a photo.
If you want to speak to a younger audience and have a budget, using a TikTok influencer is your best bet. TikTok is forecasted to reach 41.4 million Gen Z users this year, surpassing Instagram’s 37.3 million. Plus, TikTok’s algorithm allows for a superior level of engagement, making your chances of going viral much higher than on other platforms.
Since TikTok is a much newer app than Instagram the rates are even more varied. According to IZEA, the average cost per TikTok based on influencer tier is as follows:
- Nano influencers (1000 - 10,000 followers): $800 per post
- Micro influencers (10,000 - 50,000 followers): $1,500 per post
- Mid-tier influencers (50,000 - 500,000 followers): $3,000 per post
- Macro influencers (500,000 - 1,000,000 followers): $5,000 per post
- Mega influencers (1,000,000+ followers): $7,000+ per post
David Gaylord, whose company Bushbalm sells products to razor burn, dark spots, and other commonly ignored skin irritations the natural way, uses this formula to assess influencer value:
Cost per thousand (CPM) of an influencer = Average # of views, likes, and comments, from their last 5 pieces of content/cost of content.
Factors that affect influencer pricing
There are several factors that affect influencer pricing beyond audience size and engagement rate.
If you want to have the rights to the content your influencer produces for advertisements or to later repurpose, chances are this will affect the influencer’s rate.
An exclusivity-clause, preventing your influencer from working with your competitors, will likely cost you. Since this might block them from accepting lucrative deals, factor this in when you negotiate and budget.
Many influencers are represented by agencies or managers, who typically charge additional fees.
Campaign length will directly affect influencer pricing. A one time activation such as running a contest or promotion will cost less than a long-term endorsement contract. Building a risk-model, specifically for long-term partnerships, that outlines the best-case scenario can be helpful when determining your budget.
If you’re interested in using more than one platform, you can ask your influencer to create content for two or more channels. The post combo will cost extra but maximizes the reach of the campaign by engaging multiple audiences.
It’s not uncommon for influencers to have existing contracts in place. Depending on how much time is given to an influencer for their deliverable, a rush fee may be applied.
Link in bio
Since you can’t put a link in a TikTok or Instagram caption, adding a link in bio is a good idea if your goal is to drive traffic. This addition will likely cost extra.
Key metrics when pricing influencers
We’ve discussed what to consider before partnering with influencers and factors that affect influencer pricing. However, it’s also important to consider these metrics when determining financial outcomes. Here is a list of key metrics to include in your financial model:
Sponsored post %
It’s not unusual for sponsored posts to receive lower engagement, especially if influencers are posting a lot of them. Since this could drastically affect your projections, be sure to do your research when projecting impact.
Demographics can also play a role in establishing your campaign metrics. For example: If your influencer has 30 thousand followers, a 5% engagement rate, and 50% of their audience is based in the US (and your store is only shipping to the US) your effective model could project approximately eight qualified buyers assuming a 1% purchase rate on engagement.
Follower Growth %
If your influencer's reach is growing rapidly, you could get a lot more views for your advertisement. Oftentimes, influencers don’t know how fast their audience is growing compared to others and it’s a helpful resource when planning.
Always check fake engagement and followers when planning to work with a perspective influencer. Look out for these three telltale signs of bot traffic:
- Sporadic follower growth
- Inconsistent engagement rates
- Low quality engagement (such as repetitive and vague comments)
Influencer marketing ROI
Measuring your influencer marketing return on investment (ROI) is one of the best ways to determine if you’re paying the right amount for an influencer. To calculate ROI use the following formula:
(Total gain on investment - cost of investment) ÷ cost of investment
For example, if you invest $2,000 in your influencer marketing campaign and get back $9,000, your ROI is 350%.
Influencer rate sheets and results
While being able to calculate your ROI is a good indicator of whether an influencer partnership is worth continuing, you’ll need to hire an influencer before you know what your ROI will be.
Ask your prospective influencer for their rate sheet. This will have their rate information and likely include performance results as well.
Types of influencer partnerships
Typically, influencers will have a press kit that includes rates and types of partnerships available. Read on to learn about different types of influencer partnerships and how to choose the best fit for what you’re looking to achieve.
As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing is a sales model where a brand pays an influencer to promote their products or services in exchange for a commission based on sales resulting from their referral. Affiliate marketing is popular with brands because there are no upfront costs. Depending on the influencer, commission rates can be anywhere from 5% to 50%.
A brand ambassador is an influencer who will consistently share content about your brand and products. This is a long-term partnership and because your brand ambassador will be closely associated with your brand, it’s important you choose them wisely.
A standard sponsored post will include either a photo or video and a caption. Typically, the influencer will create the content and in some cases the product or service is featured in it as well.
Some brands will send products to influencers in hopes of a positive feature on their platform. While you might be able to arrange gifting in exchange for a shoutout with nano and micro influencers, this tactic is less effective with larger creators.
Giveaways and contests are a great way to grow followers and brand awareness. These short-term partnerships can involve multiple influencers.
Your giveaway budget should outline the associated costs, the prize costs, and the predicted return. Giveaways generally produce a positive ROI, so you should aim to run a profit on your campaign. If you’re selling a product, that means your influencer budget and prize costs should be less than your expected sales return. If you’re running an awareness campaign your prize and influencer budgets should be less than the returned media value.
One way to predict media value is to determine how many impressions, followers, engagements, or other factors you are measuring and find an industry comparable to benchmark against.
A caption mention is similar to a sponsored post but usually without a visual. They can be used for any call to action and are a cheaper option because they require the least production costs and time.
A platform takeover is when an influencer creates content for a brand’s account for a specific duration of time. Takeovers are most popular on Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. It’s best for increasing followers and expanding your brand’s reach. As a result, you might want to use a formula adding up different types of posts involved in the takeover, the influencer’s hourly rate for planning, and the potential number of new followers from the partnership.
Create long-lasting partnerships with brand-aligned influencers who fit within your budget. Nothing is more effective than social proof and word-of-mouth recommendations which is what makes influencer marketing so powerful. Not sure how to connect with influencers? Shopify Collabs allows merchants to send influencers gifts and affiliate links to promote their products to the creator’s audience.
Influencer pricing FAQ
What do you need before you contact a prospective influencer?
Understand your business model and what success looks like before discussing a project and price with a prospective influencer.
How should you treat the influencer partnership process?
Treat the partnership process like a sales opportunity.
How do you determine your influencer campaign budget?
Determine if you are comfortable paying on an affiliate basis, fixed payment, gifting, hourly rate, licensing deal, or a combination of the above.
How do you know what type of influencer you should approach for your business?
Look for an influencer with experience in that type of campaign and ask to see their rate sheet.
What additional benefits will you net with a successful influencer partnership?
You’ll build strong relationships with the creators you partner with. Building trust will lead to more organic relationships and trust among friends in the influencer community. Keep your relationships top-of-mind and your influencers will sing your praises to other creators.
How do you plan for and measure for a successful influencer campaign?
Associate all of your planning with a quantitative model. Even if you are making assumptions, it’s better to have something to benchmark against.