Budgeting For Influencers: What To Pay And Why You Pay It

Budgeting For Influencers: What To Pay And Why You Pay It

Advertising is everywhere — and consumers are increasingly cynical about what advertisers have to say. A lot of people find ads to be intrusive, unreliable, and — maybe worst of all — uninteresting.

So, where are they turning for information and recommendations about the things that they buy? They hop on social media and ask someone they trust for an opinion — which is how influencer marketing was born.

What is Influencer Marketing All About?

Influencers are often ordinary people with an extraordinary talent for attracting others on social media. They collect a following of people who relate to them and respect their opinions.

Social influencers have grabbed some of the conventional wisdom of the marketing world by its toes and flipped it upside down. Gone are the days when you could hire a celebrity to hawk your products and count on people to follow along. These days, only about 3% of consumers are influenced by celebrity endorsements — but 45% totally rely on influencers when they’re looking for product guidance. A non-celebrity influencer is actually about 10 times more likely to lead a consumer to a purchase than a celebrity!

Why do people trust influencers so much?

Because they’re real. They spend their time creating interesting, informative, and engaging content social content because they want to create it. While 70% of influencers admit they hope to make some money with their content, they also genuinely want to share their passions, entertain — and maybe just change the world a little while they’re at it.

They’re out there creating all this wonderful stuff and sharing their views with a few thousand friends — and they’re going to do that even if you aren’t paying them. That’s why their followers believe what they have to say.

If you haven’t already joined the influencer bandwagon…it’s time to hitch a ride.

So, What is Influencer Marketing Going To Cost You?

Naturally, influencer marketing costs money — but paying for an influencer often poses a challenge to traditional marketing mindsets. Despite the fact that influencer marketing is clearly critical, the majority of brands (71%) don’t have a dedicated budget for it.

Part of the problem is that brands have a hard time wrapping their heads around how to value an influencer’s services in the first place. It’s pretty hard to budget when you don’t have any idea what you should pay someone. You aren’t buying an ad, you’re building a relationship with an influencer and collaborating.

Average Payments to Influencers

There are also some (very) rough estimates based on the influencer’s platform that you can use to start your calculations:

  • YouTube: $0.05 – $0.10 per average video views the influencer gets
  • Instagram: $5 – $10 for every 1,000 followers the influencer has
  • Snapchat: $2 – $20 per 1,000 followers for micro-influencers and $11-$25 for larger influencers

Deciding on an Influencer

Once you have the basic range decided, here are the different things that you have to take into account as you narrow your range further:

  • Engagement Levels: You can expect to pay more for influencers with a higher level of engagement — because that likely translates into a better return on your investment.
  • Your Potential ROI: How valuable is a particular influencer’s audience to your brand? How closely do they match your target customers?
  • The Influencer’s History: What metrics can the influencer offer you to show what they’ve done for other brands? How successful are they at influencer marketing already?

Consider starting with a small campaign using a test budget and a defined set of metrics that you want to use to gauge the results of an influencer’s efforts. Then, you can determine if you’re getting a fair return on your investment or not and make adjustments accordingly before you invest in a larger campaign.

What If Your Marketing Budget Is Tight?

As you start to work influencer marketing in your budget, it’s important to keep a couple things in mind. First, you don’t have to have a big budget to get a big return on your investment. Can’t afford a top YouTube influencer like PewDiePie on your budget? No problem! There are plenty of medium-sized and micro-influencers out there that can give you a great ROI.

In fact, you may be better off aiming for micro-influencers in the first place. They often have a more niche-driven, dedicated following than larger influencers, and using a micro-influencer can boost your local search marketing efforts. The size of an influencer’s reach isn’t nearly as important as their engagement levels and the matchup between your target audience and the influencer’s following.

Don’t overlook the possibility of utilizing some micro-influencers that are right under your own nose, either! Brands are quickly catching onto the fact that their employees often make some of the best micro-influencers they can find. They’re a great low-cost (or even free) alternative when you’re struggling with your marketing budget — which is why 69% of brands are now using them.

Are Influencers Worth What You Have To Pay?

Given how precious those marketing dollars are — especially when you’re a fairly young brand — are influencers really worth the expense?

Absolutely. You might be able to find an influencer or two who will try and review your product for free, but that’s really just promotional efforts on your part. It won’t give you any right to set expectations on what you get in return. Good content requires time and effort on the part of the influencer — and they deserve to be paid for their services just like any other marketer or creative talent.

Final Thoughts

Influencer marketing still frightens a lot of brands. The collaborative nature of influencer marketing doesn’t offer the same kind of advertising control brands are used to having. However, that’s really why influencer marketing works. Consumers know that they aren’t being shown the carefully-cultivated image of a product that some brand wants them to see. They’re getting authenticity — and that’s what they trust. That trust — and the resulting interest it could bring to your brand — is well worth your money.

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