How Much Money Do Instagram Influencers Make in 2021?

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How much money can you actually make from being an influencer?

Whenever you watch a youtube video and the creator says thanks to acme for sponsoring this video, or you're scrolling your Instagram feed, and you see that little tiny thing that says paid partnership with x brand, those people are getting paid. Still, you want to know how much right?

You're in luck because hype auditor recently did a super-comprehensive survey of more than 1800 influencers and got a ton of interesting info. So let's dive in first, let's talk about

  • some highlights
  • some key stats and
  • some trends

Over 48% of influencers earn money from their accounts which is freaking awesome! It really shows that you have a high chance of seeing some kind of cash rolling in if you take content creation seriously and what's even better about this is that you don't need to be a massive influencer to see results. Influencers with even just 1 000 followers see as much as 1400 a month. What's even better about that is that most influencers spend less than 30 hours a week putting in work on their accounts and averaging 31 dollars an hour; of course, there's a threshold here for how many hours a week you need to put in to see that money, but we'll get to that later.

Of course, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Another part of the study covers fraud 47% of influencers were impacted by fraud, and unfortunately, nearly 50% percent saw a rise in fraudulent activity.

Influencer Size Tiers and How They Earn

So let's dig into influencers and money throughout the study. Instagram influencers are divided by how many followers they have. Let's call these tears, so the tiers are

  • Tier 1- one thousand to ten thousand
  • Tier 2- fifty thousand fifty to five hundred thousand
  • Tier 3- five hundred thousand to a million
  • Tier 4- over one million

This is super important because there's an overall average of revenue earned for the entire group. Instagram influencers may make significantly less or more than that average based on their number of followers. You're probably thinking, we know that already but you might be surprised to see how those numbers play out when it's all said and done. As we mentioned, 48% of Instagram influencers make money from their accounts, but that's the average percentage of all the money makers, and those numbers vary within each tier. So for those in the smallest here 1,000 to 10,000 followers, only 22% are bringing in the dough, but once you crack 10 000 followers and get into those higher tiers, your chances of making money can double. What's most interesting is that when you look at the two highest tiers, it's the 500,000 to a million range that boasts the highest percentage of earners at 68% over the 63% of earners who have over a million followers.

So a few things to take from this you don't need a massive following to start seeing money come in, and once you pass that 10,000 threshold, you'll start seeing a significant increase in your chances of making some cash, and also, more followers doesn't always mean more money. 500k to a million really is a sweet spot where most brands can afford your rates, but beyond that, there's a much smaller pool that can.

The Most Profitable Niches

So now that we have an idea of how followers can affect your cash flow, we have to look at how content affects earnings but, which content do you think earns the highest on Instagram?

Is it fitness lifestyle, maybe a little foodie content, animals, and yes, we're talking about actual animals with their own Instagram accounts? Some have as many as 10 million followers. That's a lot of followers; it's just like a few more than me, yeah not that I'm mad about it or anything. What matters here is realizing that the big content verticals that you think are the most lucrative, like food and travel, actually earn the least. They still make a solid amount at around two thousand dollars a month. However, they are still the bottom earners now; as a side note, most travel influencers I know were absolutely crushed by the pandemic, and their opportunities totally dried up, so that may be skewing the data here.

How Does Account Size Affect Earning Potential

So let's talk about how much Instagram influencers earn by account size, remember how it said you have your highest chances of making money in that 500k to a million tier, but how much can you actually earn in each tier? Instagram influencers with more than 1 million followers earn nearly 3 times more than all other ranges, 15k a month. Why the huge jump? Well, as one expert Gordon Glenister put it, these influencers are becoming brands in their own right and are attracting not just brand promotions but licensing deals, joint ventures personal appearances. You might be asking yourself how many are actually making a full-time living as a creator. Of the influencers surveyed, only five percent said they currently live off their income with average monthly earnings of fifty-nine hundred dollars.

So on creator wizard, we have a heavy focus on brand deals. There's a reason for that for Instagram influencers, 40% of their earnings come from brand promotions, with another 21% coming from personal brand development. To put it simply, more than half of an Instagram influencers earnings will be from some type of branding, which is enormous. Let's actually talk about brand deals when it comes to sponsorships and collaborations. There are three main things to consider the conditions of a brand deal, how many brands an influencer works with, and how much they earn. So when it comes to the conditions, 77% use a barter setup when working with brands, only 23% work on a pay-for-promo condition. For that 77%, they either do a pure barter, basically trading a promo for free products and gifted services, or a hybrid of trade. Pay as far as the number of brands Instagram influencers work with 68% work with between 1 and three brands at a time which seems about right. It can be hard to juggle a lot of brands at once. So keeping it in that one to three sweet spot is probably best for your sanity.

How Much Can You Earn Per Post?

Okay, let's get to the money right and how much influencers can earn per sponsored post. What this really says to me is that Instagram influencers suck at pricing themselves. It's all over the place; there's no standardization and consistency with their pricing strategy. There is absolutely no reason that an influencer with over 1 million followers should be taking a brand deal for 500 to a thousand dollars. I don't care what content vertical you're in. There's no reason at all.

Now let's talk about working hours. We mentioned at the top that, on average, influencers spend less than 30 hours a week pumping out content and maintaining their accounts. You might be wondering about the time commitment between those that make money and those that don't.  Well, it makes sense that all the influencers who earn money invest more time 1k to 10k followers spend 9 more hours per week on average, but that gap narrows from 500k to a million. Those making money only spend three extra hours per week than those not making any money. Now those influencers may be earning money from other social platforms, and they don't need money off Instagram, or maybe they haven't been watching creator wizard, and they don't know how to properly monetize. Just saying another thing you'll notice is the trend of influencers with over a million followers having a significant bump in the time spent charts. It makes sense, right? They earn a considerable amount more. They also put in a lot more hours than everyone else well; for both earning and non-earning influencers, they spend most of their time on posts creating stories and interacting with their followers. However, a significant difference is that money earners spend a massive amount of more time on marketing and partners, non-earners barely hit 50%.

Pandemic Impact on Earnings

Okay, now we need to talk about the elephant in the room. How about the impact of coronavirus on influencers. Surprise, it's actually not all doom and gloom as you might have been expecting. Believe it or not, a whopping 47% of Instagram influencers reported earning more during the pandemic, so much so that 63% of that group increased their marketing budgets in 2021. Well, how about influencers who made less? That number turned out to be 23%, mostly comprised of travel influencers as we talked about who, of course, couldn't create content due to travel restrictions.

Okay, no study about influencer marketing is complete unless we talk about influencers and fraud, whether it's fraud with bots, fake followers, or inauthentic comments or engagement. 47% of Instagram influencers experienced it when the pandemic took hold. Fraud unfortunately increased by 49%. Industry expert Jason Falls states that this increase underlines the need for brands to continue building better detection algorithms and finding ways to weed out those who cheat. After all, if you're putting in the hard work to build a legitimate following, it's a reasonable expectation to hopefully earn some money from it at some point. It's frankly not fair for some fraudulent account to take those opportunities away from you falls also points out that the goal isn't necessarily to eradicate fraud. Let's face it, there are always going to be some people who are trying to cheat, but the goal should be to get to a place where fraud is not the dominant problem in the industry.

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Justin Moore | Creator Wizard