With an industry made up of hundreds of thousands of different influencers -- each with his or her individual following, interests and platforms -- one of the trickiest areas of the industry entrepreneurs have to navigate is pricing the influencer collaborations they arrange for their brands.
Currently, the industry has no uniform pricing standards, so those prices can vary widely for a long list of reasons, beginning with:
- Quality of content and photography: Was the post shot with an iPhone, or a DSLR camera; does it look professional or amateur?
- Total social reach across all platforms: How many followers does the influencer have?
- Total engagement across all platforms: How many interactions (likes, comments, etc.) does the influencer receive?
- One post or ten: Does the content overlap across platforms?
- Timing: How long is the influencer being given to create the content?
- Exclusivity with brands: Does this influencer have permission to work with your competitors at the same time?
- Usage rights: Can the brand repurpose the content for its own use on ad campaigns, social media, etc.?
Generally, the more that brands ask of influencers -- whether that ask involves their time, number of posts or usage rights -- the higher the cost can get. In terms of negotiations between brands and influencers, here are the main two types of pricing used for influencer marketing campaigns, so you can decide which is better suited for your brand.
À la carte pricing
À la carte means pricing by post, and is typically more expensive per post than bundled content pricing. This pricing model is more like a project-based partnership than a full comprehensive campaign. With à la carte pricing, an influencer may do just one piece of content across one or more social platforms, and the client-brand will pay per post rather than for the full package.
The most common platform for influencer marketing is Instagram. Although not an industry standard, pricing for a single Instagram post is often calculated by the formula of $100 for every 10,000 followers. Although this can be equated with à la carte pricing, in a sense it's the more expensive option: According to our research, 84 percent of micro-influencers, or those with fewer than 50,000 followers, charge less than $250 for one branded Instagram post.
However, most collaborations between influencers and brands span multiple platforms. Using at least two to three different platforms (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, etc.) creates a well-rounded and effective campaign. Influencers are already creating content (images, video, copy, etc.) for at least one platform, so it makes sense to translate that content to additional platforms for a bigger reach.
À la carte pricing could, and should, be used for two main purposes:
The first one occurs where a brand has a limited budget and doesn’t want to invest in a full campaign or is testing out the performance of different platforms or influencers.
The second use is for a brand with a target demographic that fits with a specific platform and has already had proven success with its efforts on that platform.
Bundle pricing is the second type of pricing. Bundle pricing involves paying for a grouping of posts, typically across different social platforms, in one package. This tends to be the more cost-effective option, as bundles typically have a price range attached rather than the one-off pricing structure of à la carte models.
Bundle pricing is particularly dependent on the tier of influencers involved. To share a better idea of what these costs might look like for a campaign, I've included below a few examples of bundle pricing across different tiers of micro-influencers, with and without exclusivity. The below pricing is for a package of one blog post and two social posts:
Micro-influencers (5,000- to 50,000-follower reach):
- $200 to $1,500, with standard usage rights and no exclusivity
- $400 to $4,000, with extended usage rights and exclusivity
- Mid-tier influencers (50,000- to 100,000-follower reach)
- $1,500 to $4,000, with standard usage rights and no exclusivity
- $2,500 to $7,500, with extended usage rights and exclusivity
- Top-tier influencers (non-celebrities with 100,000-plus follower reach)
- $4,000 to $20,000, with standard usage rights and no exclusivity
- $15,000 to $50,000-plus, with extended usage rights and exclusivity
Bundle pricing can be extremely effective in a few different circumstances. The first instance is if you’re already paying a considerable amount for the influencer to create content. More often than not, an influencer won’t charge significantly more to publish the same content on additional platforms. Second, bundle pricing will work well for brands that have had prior success across various platforms, and want to maximize the impact of a campaign.
Finally, this pricing model is perfect for brands and marketers looking for a more holistic approach to influencer marketing, and a campaign that will stand the test of time and reach a variety of different audiences.
The unexpected costs
While you may think your budget for an influencer marketing campaign is spot on, there are a few additional costs to think about when negotiating with an one. It’s important to remember that pricing for collaborations is still a relatively new concept, and not an exact science. In any case, negotiations are almost always present at the start of any brand and influencer collaboration.
In addition, you need to understand the full scope of what you’re paying for. At the very least, the cost of most campaigns includes the production of content (photography, editing, storylines), the distribution of content and the tailoring of content across multiple platforms. For some campaigns, the influencer may also need to hire a professional photographer, rent out studio space, hire hair and makeup assistants and more.
These factors can all impact the total cost. The number of hours going into a collaboration is another consideration for influencers. For example, if the post requires time away from their daily lives, and travel, the cost may rise. When negotiating with an influencer, remember that these outside factors must be taken into consideration.
Also, when you think about costs, consider that your most important question is where the money comes from, if you don’t have a specific budget dedicated to influencer marketing.
The great thing is that influencer marketing budgets can be versatile. You can pull from PR budgets for branding and messaging, from ad budgets for promoting new products through influencers or even from your sales budget, if you’re working to increase sign-ups or sales on a product or service. Although influencer marketing can be pricey, the results can be extremely valuable, and 41 percent of marketers, in one survey, have said they have seen more success with an influencer marketing campaign than a traditional ad effort.