by Ashley Ow
Being an influencer is fast becoming a career goal for many teens these days. Not surprising, seeing the sheer number of influencers out there just “living their best life”. So how do they earn a living and just how much money can an influencer actually make?
As you open up Instagram and see yet another #sponsored post on your feed, you may wonder: Why are there so many more influencers than ever? Do they really earn five to six figures posting online, partnering with brands? The answer is, probably.
Categories of influencers
Depending on the size of their following, their income may vary accordingly. We can categorise influencers based on their audiences on any one platform into Mega, Macro, Micro, and Nano-influencers.
The 4 types of influencers, according to the number of followers:
- Mega-influencers: more than 1 million
- Macro-influencers: 40,000 to 1 million followers
- Micro-influencers: 1,000 to 40,000 followers
- Nano-influencers: up to 1,000 followers
How do you make money as an influencer? These figures typically have various streams of income beyond posting #ads on Instagram.
One of their biggest sources of income usually include sponsored posts as they endorse and partner with brands.
On Instagram, nano-influencers could earn anywhere between $10 to $100 per sponsored post. Micro and macro-influencers can charge $100 to $500, even $10,000 for their audience size. Companies can be expected to fork out at least $10,000 and above per post to reach the audience of a mega influencer. The large the audience, the more money an influencer makes.
To sponsor a video on YouTube which requires more time and effort from the influencers, companies would generally be expected to fork out twice the amount of money compared to a sponsored Instagram post.
Companies may pay nano-influencers between $20 to $200 per video. Micro-influencers could earn up to $1,000. Macro-influencers usually earn $1,000 to $20,000 per video, and mega-influencers would expect a pay of $20,000 and above.
Some influencers on YouTube, however, charge based on the amount of views, with a range between $50 to $100 per thousand views. This might be a factor that influencers take into consideration when negotiating brand deals.
Since its launch in 2016 as Douyin, TikTok quickly rose to become one of the top few platforms for online influencing. However, there are only estimated amounts that influencers could earn per sponsored video.
Each sponsored TikTok video is estimated to cost between $5 to $25 for nano-influencers. Micro-influencers could charge between $25 to $125, and macro-influencers could earn between $125 to $2,500. Mega-influencers could earn a starting pay of $2,500 and above. Some of these non-celebrity, mega-influencers with millions of followers could even earn $10,000 per video.
Influencing on Twitter isn’t new. But on Twitter, it could cost much less for each post. Nano-influencers could charge between $2 to $20 per tweet, and micro-influencers could be sponsored up to $100 per post. Macro-influencers could earn up to $2,000, and mega-influencers could be expected to earn at least $2,000 per post.
Another common source of income for influencers include affiliate marketing. This includes the affiliate links or codes posted on their social posts and profiles that earns them a commission for each purchase. Commissions could range between $50 to $25,000 per month, with the commission ranging between 10% to 25% of the purchase. The amount of money an influencer earns mostly depends on the levels of engagement rather than the size of their following since it’s affected with each purchase.
Many influencers start out by creating content and getting paid for it by platforms, commonly on TikTok and YouTube. With the rise of more platforms introducing creators’ funds, it’s no surprise that more creators would be paid for content. Creators are typically paid according to the number of views they receive on their content on each platform.
TikTok is estimated to pay 2 to 4 cents per thousand views, and a creator with a million views could make between $20 to $40. To join as a creator, you must fulfill these requirements:
- Based in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain or Italy
- Gain at least 10,000 followers
- Gain at least 100,000 video views in the last 30 days
The biggest source of income for YouTubers are ad revenues with Adsense, with $18 on average per 1,000 ad views. It’s reported that the average amount of money for a YouTube influencer with over a million subscribers is about $60,000 per year.
According to YouTube, to join the Partner Program, you must:
- Live in a country/region eligible for the YouTube Partner Program
- Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel
- Gain more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months
- Gain more than 1,000 subscribers
- A linked AdSense account to your channel
Instagram, Twitter, etc
Instagram and Twitter currently don’t pay their creators directly. Influencers of Instagram earn commonly through affiliate links and sponsored posts, while Twitter creators earn from subscriptions, tips, and donation models.
Twitter’s monetisation options currently include the Super Follower subscription and Tip Jar. Twitter’s Super Follower subscription plans are priced at $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99, with 97% of the revenue going to the creators. Twitter raises its commission and leaves creators earning 80% of the revenue once they reach $50,000 in lifetime subscription.
Other streams of income from various platforms may vary with amount. Some of these include paid subscription and tips on platforms like Patreon and Ko-fi, launching product lines, and selling digital products like Ebooks and tutorials. Sometimes, influencers can earn from event appearances as well.
Influencer’s average pay per annum
So how much do people pay influencers? The average annual pay of influencers in the US is $59,484, and stands at $58,413 in Singapore.
In 2021, if we exclude celebrities, the top 3 earners of each platform per annum are:
- Charli D’Amelio, $17.5 million
- Dixie D’Amelio, $10 million
- Addison Rae, $8.5 million
- MrBeast, $54 million
- Jake Paul, $45 million
- Markiplier, $38 million
- Jianhao Tan, $717,000 (S$1 million)
- Peggie Neo, $21,000 (S$30,000)
- Rayner Two, $15,000 (S$22,000)
From Instagram as of 2022, by per sponsored post:
- Lele Pons, $180,000
- Charli D’Amelio, $173,000
- Addisonn Rae, $156,000
The top 3 Singaporean Instagram influencers cost per sponsored post, according to Hopper HQ:
- Brad Lau, US$1,700 (~S$2,300)
- Andrea Chong, US$1,300 (~S$1,758)
- Mongchin Yeoh, US$1,200 (S$1,623)
Twitter’s paid model for both Super Followers and Tip Jar are still new since its launch in February and May 2021, so sufficient data has yet to be collected.
Being an influencer
Being an influencer is not as easy as it seems. Depending on the size of their following and audience that they actually influence and engage with, their earnings may vary drastically.
Influencers with huge followings could also have lower engagement rates, and hence lower levels of influence and income. The key to being a successful influencer is to build a loyal community and ensure high levels of engagement that brands could tap into.
(all earnings are quoted in USD, unless otherwise specified)