How Marketers are Calculating Influencer Compensation Based on Performance

How Marketers are Calculating Influencer Compensation Based on Performance

As a marketer have you ever been given a price for a piece of influencer created content that has made you nervous? Have you flinched at paying for a piece of content that hasn’t been created yet or have worried that your spend may not pan out like you hope? Determining a win-win influencer compensation structure is top of mind for any marketer engaging with influencers.

While pretty much all marketers and brands implement influencer marketing and value digital content creators, the piece of the puzzle that many marketers struggle with is partnering with the right content creators. A blogger may be a great writer and have an engaged audience but that doesn’t always mean that their audience will like your brand. Digital partnerships and earning that third party recommendation are a lot of trial and error.

If you decided to try a few new digital marketing techniques, would you be more comfortable paying content creators who bring your brand actual sales or conversions? Or do you prefer to pay an influencer before knowing how their audience reacts and engages with their mention of your brand? If you prefer or are at least interested in paying content creators per sales keep reading.

Performance Based Theory

Performance Based Theory

I strongly advocate that brands should absolutely pay influencers and content creations for their valuable content quality and brand endorsement. To simplify a complex issue at the end of the day there are 2 ways to pay.: up front for an agreed-upon

  1. Upfront for an agreed-upon post
  2. Based on how many people/sales the influencer brings to your brand

The second option is what I’m referring to as compensating based on performance and that’s what I’m going to dive into for this post.

Performance-based marketing is a simple enough concept. Marketers budget and pay their partners based on a specific action. More traditionally referred to as affiliate marketing, performance-based marketing strategies are designed around partnering with content creators who advocate for brands and these partners leverage their own network and image to get traffic and sales to said brands. The most common performance metrics are:

  • A click through and visit a landing page
  • Buying a product or products (sales)
  • Signing up for a newsletter or downloading a resource

Why Brands Like Calculating Influencer Compensation Based on Performance

Why Brands Like Calculating Influencer Compensation Based on Performance

Advancements in our digital environments have allowed marketers to track the dollars we spend. Marketing conundrums have surpassed a desperate desire to know what works and questions now tend to be about how to amplify tactics that we know work.

With that in mind, it makes sense why many brands love the performance-based marketing model and method of compensating their marketing partners. Paying for action and actual conversions is more comfortable and economic for brands.

How do Marketers Track Performance to Determine Influencer Compensation?

There are a couple of ways that marketers use to track performance. This method can be implemented on a small scale in-house. If a brand has the budget, it’s a super scalable strategy when brands partner with affiliate marketing managers.

Google’s URL Builder: Using this free tool, marketers can generate unique links to distribute to each influencer and then the influencer can share their link on social, blogs, newsletters, etc.

Codes: Some brands track based on a coupon or discount code distributed to each influencer.

Affiliate marketing management: When brands have the budget and want to scale this technique strategically I recommend using an affiliate marketing company. They are skilled in strategic partnerships and tracking and can run this type of marketing for your brand. They’ll provide reporting that would otherwise be time-consuming or require a lot of extra tools to do in-house.

How is Performance Rewarded?

How is Performance Rewarded?

Percent of sales: Whether your brand is using an agency or tracking in-house, percent of sales is the most common ways that brands reward their partners based on performance. It’s simple and to the point. Both and both sides know what to expect right away as a brand will offer a specific percentage. An affiliate agency will track this and send performers checks once a month or if you’re doing this in-house make sure that whoever manages this has experience with this tactic as it needs to be tracked thoroughly and on an ongoing basis. Some content partners produce content that converts for months or even years.

Payments for conversions: For brand awareness goals some companies will work with a partner and set up a compensation amount per conversion. So instead of tracking to sales, a brand may track how much traffic, newsletter signups, resource downloads, etc. that a marketing partner is responsible for and set up a monetary amount for each action.

Staying Mindful of FTC Guidelines

Most influencers are aware of how to follow FTC guidelines to maintain their reputation and obviously the reputation of your brand. However, at the end of the day, if these guidelines are not adhered to, the brand pays the price and is responsible.

I always recommend that brands remind bloggers as part of their bloggers outreach to disclose the fact that they have a partnership with your brand. For my clients, I’ll double-check that my earned posts disclose a partnership. If they don’t I send a friendly reminder to the blogger to go back and it. Just a sentence or two at the top or bottom of the post will keep you safe.

Do you agree with the performance based marketer type of influencer compensation? Tell us why or why not in the comments and cheers to an epic marketing discussion!

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Influencer Compensation FAQs

How much do brands pay influencers?

The amount of influencer compensation that brands pay is determined by several factors such as the influencer’s followers and engagement rate, campaign length, and type, the platform used, performance, the number of people/sales the influencer brought to the brand. If you want to know more about how much should you pay an influencer, you can check these 9 tested Instagram influencer calculators.

How much money do influencers make per post?

The range of influencers’ rates vary depending on their negotiation with the brand and different factors like their follower count and engagement rate. According to, a sponsored post can range from $50-$50,000, depending on what level of influencer they are. Mega influencers like Kylie Jenner charge between $800,000-$1,000,000 per post. In general, experts estimate that the average rate is $1,000 per 100,000 followers.

How much do influencers with 500k followers make?

Per Vox, influencers with 500K up to 1 million followers can charge $10,000 per sponsored post depending on which platform to post on. Influencers with 1 million followers above can charge $100,000 per post. Some can even take home $250,000 especially if the influencer will post the content on YouTube and his/her niche is in a profitable niche like gaming, fitness, health, technology, and beauty.

How much do influencers with 100k followers make?

On average, most experts estimate that an influencer with 100k followers can charge $1,000 per post. Most recently, brands are starting to notice micro-influencers, allowing them to charge a little higher. Based on Vox’s report, micro-influencers earn $40,000-$100,000 per year. However, that is not always the case as there are many factors that may affect an influencer’s rate, hence, it may still change depending on their negotiation with the brand.

Who is the highest paid influencer?

The highest paid influencer is non other than the most prominent football player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. He has a vast reach of 272 million followers on Instagram, making him a dream endorser/influencer for most brands, especially sports brands. His estimated price per sponsored post ranges from $466,100 to $776,833. Cristiano has done deals with big brands such as Nike, Tag Heuer, Clear, and Herbalife.

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Kristen Matthews
Kristen Matthews

Kristen Matthews is an expert in Content Marketing and loves to collaborate with brands on their content marketing strategies. If you just want to chat with her or if you want to explore freelance content marketing opportunities with her she can be reached at [email protected]

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  1. I agree completely. There are so many so called influencers with fake follower counts and not very engaged audiences that to pay them for a post is risky at best. I beleive that if they review the content or prodcut that your asking them to post about and believe that their real followers will like it then they shoudl be eager to work on commission.

  2. Would you recommend that an influencer agree to only be compensated for product reviews with upfront per post fee?
    only keeping reviewed merchandise & 8% commission on promo code generated sales?
    It feels a little 1 sided, especially when there’s a 4 pic, 1 video post expectation per product…. which is basically turning an influencer page to a sales page….
    Not sure where to find standards for pay for mid level influencers.

  3. Kristen, great post and i am 100% in agreement – i think influencer marketing should be much more performance based and less based on an agreed amount.

    I think that influencers should be probably be paid a fixed amount per month as i am not a big fan of the per post method since hopefully they will be doing other things for you like responding to tweets, mentioning your name at conferences etc erc which is totally intangible and not possible to track. But then they should also paid a success fee based on whatever you are trying to achieve (conversions, signups etc).

    In a lot of respects they are being compensated like sales people (base+ commission)! If an influencer is good at what they do and prepared to back themselves then this way should give the influencer a much greater income than just a fixed fee only arrangement. It means that both the brand and the influencer has ‘skin in the game’ and is far more appealing to a business owner !



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