How Much to Pay an Influencer? Here's a Practical Guide.

A Practical Guide on How to Reward Influencers

As far as new age media goes, influencers are the hottest “commodity” on the market. But how much to pay an influencer?

There are many questions about their compensation.  Perhaps because there’s still informal practice going on in the mix.  Much like going to your local market and negotiating with a seller for a piece of craft.  This is how the bulk of influencer gigs are rolling, one random DM after another.

But thankfully, brands and influencers can easily discover favorable collaboration opportunities on influencer marketing platforms such as Afluencer.

Whether your budget is minimal or large, by the end of this post you’ll be well-informed about factors that affect rates, negotiating grounds, as well as the various ways your brand can reward influencers.

So let’s get those rate cards and offers ready.

Factors That Affect Influencer Rates

Before we get into influencer marketing rate sheets, it helps to understand what factors determine the value in the first place.



This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when paying an influencer.  Follower numbers.

This can be wrapped up in one word:  attention.  How much attention is at stake?

A nano influencer with 8k followers is not in the same league as a mega influencer like Kylie Jenner (the highest-paid influencer at $1.2m+ per Instagram post) with 177m followers.

The more followers, the more attention, and the more value each piece of shared content holds.

Further Reading: Instagram Influencer Marketing: The Complete Guide

Engagement Rate

Negotiations start here.  An influencer’s engagement rate will create somewhat of a practical estimation of the potential number of people that will actually engage with a post.  Because not all followers will be reached and not all followers will engage with their content.

Here’s a simple scenario to help you understand this better.  You have two influencers, both with 10k followers each.

Influencer A has an average engagement rate of 10%.

Influencer B has an average engagement rate of 2%.

What does this mean?

Influencer A:  10% engagement rate of 10,000 followers = 1,000 engaged people

Influencer B:  2% engagement rate of 10,000 followers = 200 engaged people

When Influencer A shares a piece of content, 1,000 people are likely to engage with the post.  Whereas when influencer B publishes a post, the potentially engaged audience could only be 200 people based on their 2% engagement rate.

Now, let’s make it a little more interesting with another scenario.

Influencer C has 100,000 followers with an average engagement rate of 10%

Influencer D has 150,000 followers with an average engagement rate of 5%

Who do you think is more valuable?

The engagement rate here is the deal-breaker.

Influencer C can potentially attain 10,000 engaged people on a post, while influencer D’s engaged audience is estimated at 7,500 despite having 50k more followers than their counterpart.

See what a difference in value an engagement rate can make?

Further Reading: How to Calculate Engagement Rate in Social Media: The Definitive Guide

Talent Requirements

Talent Requirements

The more talented the influencer, the more you’ll be expected to pay them.

But what does this talent mean?

In the influencer marketing world, talent can be perceived as content creation capabilities.

For example, an influencer with 10k followers that publishes a picture is not the same as an influencer with 10k followers that publishes a video.  Writing a blog post is also another talent.

And producing a 1-minute Instagram video is not the same value as a 20-minute YouTube video.

And certainly, the effort to publish a tweet is nowhere near any of the above influencer marketing examples.

The talent cost is a consideration when determining the value of an influencer.


Here’s where your own pickiness will cost you.

Would you be ok if your influencer promotes another brand in a similar category?  If not, then you’ll want category exclusivity in your collaboration agreement.  Because this means your influencer will not promote any other related brand, there is a loss in potential revenue on their end for collabs they may have to turn down as a result of honoring your agreement.  A loss that you’d need to compensate for.

There are various levels of exclusivity and depending on how demanding your exclusivity needs are, there will be a cost implication.

Duration of The Campaign

Duration of The Campaign

Once-off promotions are pretty straightforward and standard rates are usually applied in these scenarios.

However, it’s really not ideal to work with an influencer for a single-post promotion.

It is recommended to run an influencer campaign over a period – for many reasons.  Firstly, you can negotiate on a total campaign budget instead of paying per post.  Secondly, there is room to perfect the execution of the campaign for the duration based on data insights at every stage.

Further Reading: 10 Steps to Creating a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

The Lifespan of Published Content

Not all influencer posts are published permanently.  The collab agreement will specify the period that sponsored posts should be up on the influencer’s account.  Whether it’s a few days or weeks, or months – this “airtime” will come at various rates.

Types of Influencers

The previous points may have slightly touched on this point, but I feel it needs its own mention.  The price tag of an influencer may depend on the type of influencer you’re dealing with.  A newbie influencer, for example, may probably be the easiest and the cheapest to please.  They’re starting out and keen to build their portfolio so they’ll agree to even the basic of rewards, such a commission on sales.

A celebrity influencer, on the other hand, is in-demand and not always available.  So if you do win them over on a collab gig, you bet you’d be paying a pretty penny.

Further Reading: The 15 Types of Influencers You Need to Know for Effective Influencer Marketing

Ways to Reward Influencers

And now for the ripe part of this post.

Let’s take a look at all the possible ways you can compensate influencers.  Yes cash is one of them, but guess what?  We’ll be covering a number of ways you can reward influencers.

Cash Payouts

Cash Payouts

Since this is the most talked-about reward method, let’s get it out of the way.

Cash payouts are extremely attractive to influencers.  If your brand can afford it, you’ll certainly have a large number of interested candidates willing to collaborate with you.

But the biggest question is, what rate should you pay influencers?  For your convenience here’s a quick summary of basic influencer rate benchmarks:

TikTok: $25 per post / 1,000 followers

Instagram:  $10 per post / 1,000 followers, $250-$750 per 1,000 engagements

Facebook:  $25 per post / 1,000 followers

YouTube:  $20 per video / 1,000 subscribers, $50-$100 per 1,000 video views

Snapchat:  $10 per post / 1,000 followers

Twitter:  $2 per post / 1,000 followers

Blog:  $60 per post / 1,000 unique visitors

Use these rates as a base but remember the factors discussed earlier.  Factors such as exclusivity, engagement rates, the lifespan of posts, the duration of campaigns, and the types of influencers you’re dealing with will impact the rate.

One of the major concerns about this compensation method is the uncertainty around the return on investment – especially for brands looking to drive sales.  Brands want to be assured that they’re getting value for money.

As a result, influencers must be able to show for a satisfying profile and collab portfolio in order to convince a prospective brand.  Influencers without a portfolio are classified as “high risk” so this then gives the negotiating power to the brand.

Further Reading: How Much Do Instagram Influencers Actually Make? It’s Complicated. Let Me Explain.


Commission rewards can be a fair win-win for all.  It seems fair and it also seems like a simplified way to compensate influencers.  However, there’s more to a percentage of sales in order to make this method successful.

  1. Is your product or service interesting enough?  The thing about offering commissions is that influencers must first commit themselves to promotion activities upfront.  Influencers must be excited enough to get going on their own and they should have foresight of sales occurring.  If they don’t they won’t put in the effort.  And if they don’t think they’ll sell anything, they won’t be keen on this offer.
  2. Offer attractive commissions.  Your commission structure should make sense.  A 3% commission isn’t going to motivate anyone unless they’re selling a $100,000+ product, which most aren’t.  Standard commissions are in the range of 10-20% and anything upwards of 40% can be very attractive to influencers.  Your commission offer should be worth their while.  If not, they’ll give you a pass.
  3. Offer easy commission tracking.  Sales need to be tracked efficiently in order for this method to work.  This can usually be accomplished by giving your influencers their own unique coupon code to share with their followers.  Tracking sales made through coupon codes is easy enough especially if you don’t have advanced referral tracking systems.

While this method may be an ideal option especially for brands without an influencer budget, the major concern about offering commissions only, is that it does lack commitment from the brand’s side.  Hence why experienced influencers may not be interested here.

However, a commission-only reward method can work with new or micro-influencers as they’re still growing and are open to opportunities to build their profile.

Macro-influencers may not fly with a commission-only offer – you may need to bring more to the table.

Free Products

Free Products

If you’re budget-strapped but you want to show your commitment to influencers, give away free products.

Keep in mind the other additional benefits to this.  Over and above providing an appealing incentive, you’ll also create an opportunity for influencers to produce product pictures and videos – building your media in a cost-effective way.  Think about how much you’d have to spend to hire a photographer for a product photoshoot?  An influencer collab may be an affordable alternative.

Free merch plus a nice commission would make a sweet reward combo here.

Further Reading: 7 Benefits of Giving Free Products to Influencers

Influencer Branded Product Line

This is probably one of the most creative ways to engage influencers.  Not only is this super attractive, but it can work for both large and small businesses.

So, how does it work?

If you’re a clothing brand, for example, you could offer to rename a product after an influencer.  Feeling generous?  Dedicate an entire collection to them.  This is the simple version.

A more complex version, which may be applicable to larger brands, is to engage an influencer in the product development stage and get them to create their very own product themselves.

Either way, influencers will be excited to promote products with their own name on it.  It’s a pretty epic brag-worthy accomplishment.

Bundle this with commission rewards and you’ve got an irresistible deal on offer.

Events & Experiences

Events & Experiences

Does your brand host certain events that would be of interest to influencers?  Perhaps product launches or even exclusive product workshops?  Not only would these opportunities be exciting to influencers, but it’s also a chance to connect with your influencers in person and build longterm relationships.  The bonus perk here for influencers is the chance to network within the industry.

Influencer Exclusive Discounts

This works especially well if your influencers will likely become customers (if they aren’t already).  Offer them VIP discounts as part of the collab deal.  Remember the goal is to offer something that’s attractive.  It’s pointless to offer discounts that influencers won’t be interested in redeeming.

Exposure & Work Experience

If newbie and micro-influencers are on your list, offering extra exposure on your social channels may be of interest to them as they’re always looking for ways to grow their influence.  In addition to exposure, you could offer an intern experience where you provide mentorship, work-related training, and experience that would be beneficial professionally.

This method may have a particular appeal to college student influencers.

Gifts & Bonus Prizes

Did you know that one of the top reasons a person leaves their job is because they feel unappreciated?  In the influencer world, the same holds true.

Treat your influencers to unexpected rewards.  Send them a gift on their birthday or special occasion.

Have they exceeded performance expectations?  Reward them with a bonus prize.

Influencers that help your business grow are influencers you’d want to keep close.  Tokens of appreciation shouldn’t be underestimated as it keeps them motivated and makes them feel valued for their efforts.

Pay for Value & Reward Results

As you’ve now discovered, there’s more to rewarding influencers than just paying for the number of followers.

Understanding all the factors that impact the value of an influencer can give your brand negotiating power.  It will also equip you to develop a well-crafted influencer marketing program in order to recruit influencers for your brand.

Whether you have a sizeable influencer budget or not, I hope you’re inspired to explore other creative methods to reward influencers for a mutually beneficial relationship.

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Natalie Weber
Natalie Weber

Natalie Weber is an expert on Influencer Marketing. Natalie is chief 411 for Afluencer, a top social media influencer platform. Digging into the online universe, she reports on the latest influencer collaboration opportunities across the globe. If she's not creating fun content features for brands, you'll catch her producing social media videos for them too. She loves creating and she loves inspiring good vibes. Good energy and good coffee is how she rolls on the daily.

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  1. Hey Neal! Just found this article and it was helpful thank you. I have a clothing brand and I want to partner with a influencers to basically do what nike does and sponsor them, create their merch, sell it to their audience and house it on our website. Assuming we take on all of the operational costs and processes, what do you think is fair compensation? I was thinking a 70/30 split of the profits. 30 going to the influencer. I’d love to know your thoughts.

    • Hey Jordan, thanks for your comment and congrats on being innovative! It is all going to come down to the influencer, Some may want more, some may do for less, some might want minimum guarantees or money upfront. Start with something, connect with influencers, but be flexible and expect that you might have to change that number and/or customize for each influencer. Hope the advice makes sense – feel free to follow up with any additional questions you might have!

  2. Hi Neal! I have a bit of a unique opportunity that my boss presented to me this week. I work as a retail associate at a small mom and pop women’s boutique. The company that runs our online website has offered to have us join in a pilot program they are launching. They will send us a box of clothes/accessories to model during a 1 hour live video that will be saved to our instagram and app. The items will be for sale on our website from Monday at Noon (when we launch the capsule collection) thru Thursday at Midnight. Here’s the best part – it’s a drop ship program where we don’t own any of the inventory and all items are shipped directly from the warehouse. The margin on the items will be approx 55-60%. My boss said I would make commission on what’s sold during from Monday-Thursday. There will always be 2 models per live show. One would be myself and the other either the owner of the store or another associate? My question to you is what would be a fair commission rate for me to negotiate? Does the 10-20% commission still hold true here? My brain is spinning.

    • Hi Ashley! Interesting! I think it all comes down to time spent and rewards gained. Assuming that you are getting paid salary to do the modeling – and they are posting the content on your behalf on their channels – getting a 10% or 20% commission I think is a pretty good deal. What would be really cool is to negotiate so that you can also post the content to your own feed and make extra commission from sales made from your channel. Not sure if you have a following or they would be able to track it, but since they are creating content for you, it might be a great way to also expand your influence – and other companies might find you and offer you similar gigs. Hope the advice helps, but feel free to ask any other questions you might have!

  3. Hi Neal – Your content is helpful – thank you! Question: my account was receiving reels bonuses, but IG flagged a story I posted almost a year ago (several months before eligibility to get the reels bonuses) as promoting self harm. It was a funny meme and definitely not meant to be harmful. Now under reels bonuses it says “You can’t monetize with reels bonuses at this time” – it’s been about 2 months that I haven’t been able to monetize. I’ve tried to find a way to appeal this and get reels bonuses again but I can’t find a way to reach anyone at IG. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Katy, thanks for your comment and I am so so sorry to hear about that! I often get asked if I know anyone at Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and I tell everyone that I am just a blogger, content creator, and business owner like everyone else. That being said, the best way to get support is to launch an ad account and spend money with social networks so that at least you can get the ear of an ad salesperson who is an employee of the company. Hope the advice helps!

  4. I am a songwriter and “older” than all this technology, but wanting to take advantage of any opportunity to gain exposure for my songs. So, am wondering if I can use an “Influencer” to promote a music video of mine? Thanks.
    Laura-May Azpiazu

    • Hey Laura-May, absolutely! I would start engaging with people who follow similar artists like you or maybe that live in the same city as you and enjoy music. There are a lot of people who love to support musicians if they like your music, so you won’t necessarily have to pay money to influencers if you find the right ones who dig your music. Hope the advice helps!

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