2021 state of influencer rates report


The guessing game is over: You’ve come to the right place if you want to know how much influencers charge for sponsored Instagram content.

Influencers rates are unstandardized, unregulated, and shrouded in mystery. And it makes sense why they would be––every partnership with an influencer is unique, and a variety of factors lead to a final rate.

But it’s 2021, and we now have enough data to show you high, low, and average influencer rates by:

  • Vertical
  • Audience size
  • Content-type

About the Data

For this report, we’ve spoken with influencers from every industry to understand not only their rates but what drives them to set the rates they do. 

Here’s how we pulled our Instagram pricing data for this report:

Rates are from the last 18 months 

Influencer rates have changed a lot since 2014, so we only pulled the most recent data to reflect 2021 pricing. 

Rates are segmented by industry, audience size, and content type

While there are a lot of reasons why one influencer may charge more or less than another, we segmented our data by the most common factors: business category, size of following, and type of post.

Rates reflect long-tail influencers

Our prices cover influencers with follower amounts ranging from 5-250K. Over the coming months will add more follower ranges to this report.

2021 influencer pricing: By industry

2021 influencer pricing: By audience size

2021 influencer pricing: By content type (photos)

2021 influencer pricing: By content type (stories)

2021 influencer pricing: By content type (carousels)

2021 influencer pricing: By content type (videos)

9 factors that affect influencer pricing

Influencer rates fluctuate because they’re more like partnerships than transactions. 

When you’re developing a partnership or testing a campaign, you’ll pay more or less depending on various reasons. Based on what we’ve heard from hundreds of influencers over the past seven years, here are the main reasons why brands would pay more or less for sponsored content on Instagram. 

1. Authentic brand love

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect influencer partnership for your brand, start with people who already know and love your product. 

While this may seem like a no-brainer for the authenticity of your campaign, a influencer's love for your brand can influence the final price you pay in two ways:

Why brands would pay more

You love their brand content so much that you skip the negotiation phase to lock them into a partnership. 

Why brands would pay less

The influencer loves you so much that they reduce their rate to work with you. Influencers are more likely to negotiate with brands whose products they rave about anyway.

2. Product type

How does someone use your product, and for how long?

If your product is a high-value item that customers buy once every few years, such as a mattress or a car, it won’t make sense for a influencer to promote your product then switch to a competitor’s. 

So even without an exclusivity deal, influencers who promote rare purchases are locked in. If, for example, they were to promote a Helix mattress for one month then switch to Casper, their audience wouldn’t trust either campaign’s authenticity. 

On the other hand, most people use several beauty products from different brands all the time. Without an exclusivity deal (more on that below), the influencer can promote multiple products without sacrificing authenticity. 

Why brands would pay more

Your product is such a high-value item that it wouldn’t make sense for the influencer to promote other products like it. 

Why brands would pay less

Your product is something the influencer can promote alongside other products like it––after some time has passed, of course.

3. Creation effort and skill

An influencer's skills are often specialized, and they’ve sometimes spent years perfecting their craft.

Great influencers put time and effort into their sponsored posts. Even for a basic photo, influencers obsess over staging, lighting, and composition so they can showcase your product in a way that will resonate with their audience. 

Why brands would pay more

If your campaign requires drone footage, special photo/video effects, or extensive Photoshop editing, the final rate will reflect the hours and expertise behind these special skills. 

Why brands would pay less

The influencer may be new to a skill and want the chance to “learn on the job” with your brand. 

4. Influencer entourage

Some influencers don’t work alone. As they’ve progressed in their careers, they’ve outsourced a part of the content creation process to handle the volume. 

While macro-influencers (100k+ followers) are more likely to come with an entourage, some mid-level influencers do, too. If you’re working with an influencer who comes with a team, you’re likely getting more value––but you’re also paying for some extra resources.  

Why brands would pay more

The influencer has an entourage of people to help them create content: a videographer, photographer, social media manager, etc. 

Why brands would pay less

The influencer can handle their campaign volume such that they’re a one-person show and have the skills you need to get the job done. 

5. Exclusivity

Some influencers love exclusivity deals with brands because it means they can develop a meaningful partnership with a brand they may already love. But be prepared to pay more, in part, to compensate for the work the influencer won’t get from your competitors.  

Why brands would pay more

Your campaign will appear across multiple channels, including social, billboards, television, etc., for an extended period. Even after the deal has expired, competitors will likely have seen the influencer in campaigns and shy away from future partnerships. 

Why brands would pay less

Your campaign is limited to social media with a smaller number of posts throughout a shorter period. 

6. Likeness

We hear about this a lot from influencers: their likeness is their product. 

There’s a difference between an Instagram post that features a product and one that features a influencer using a product. And similar to exclusivity, influencers are often thinking about which partnerships lock them out of other partnerships. Whether their likeness appears within the content can sometimes influence future long-term contracts with other brands.  

Why brands would pay more

Your campaign creative requires that the influencer appear in the shot using your product. Some influencers may involve their children if they’re known for their family, which can also come at a premium. 

Why brands would pay less

You want a simple product shot or video, maybe with some voiceover but without a visual of the influencer. 

7. Partnership length

Items sold in a bundle often cost less––the same applies to influencer content. 

If you’ve tested a few campaigns with a influencer and you’re getting results, you may want to consider a long-term partnership with them. If the fit makes sense for their audience, influencers often love these kinds of partnerships––it means less hustling and negotiation in exchange for steady income. 

Why brands would pay more

You’re offering a three to six-month partnership with a limited number of posts per month, and you’d like the influencer to be in charge of much of the ideation. 

Why brands would pay less

You’re committing to a year or more with a influencer, with an extensive package of posts that come with a clear set of creation guidelines. 

8. Multi-channel content

Many influencers have a presence on multiple channels. For example, if you’re working with a TikTok celebrity who also has a robust Instagram presence, that influencer will see some opportunities to adapt some content across both channels. If that’s the case, your cost per Instagram post may go down. 

On the flip side, what works on Instagram is a lot different than what works on YouTube. Suppose you see the potential to leverage both channels through one influencer. In that case, you may need to structure your partnership so that you’re paying for two content licenses: one for Instagram and one for YouTube––even when the messaging remains the same. 

Why brands would pay more

The influencer needs to shoot content from scratch for each channel within a campaign. 

Why brands would pay less

The influencer is making content for channels that are somewhat similar to each other in format, such as TikTok and Instagram Reels. 

9. Scarcity

Influencers operate within an ecosystem of other influencers like them. While every influencer is unique, some influencer personas are more common than others. 

For example, within the Parenting & Family category, you’re more likely to find influencers who are mothers than fathers. However, traditional gender roles have shifted in such a way that fathers are taking more of an active role in caring for their homes and children the way mothers have in the past. 

As a result, fathers have begun to set themselves up to promote the products they use to take care of their kids––but they’re still less common than mothers.

Why brands would pay more

The influencer persona is emerging within your category: audiences see them as “novel,” so their engagement rates may be higher. 

Why brands would pay less

The influencer persona is common within your category: they compete with more influencers like them, so they may see lower engagement rates. 

Pricing volatility: verticals with high price fluctuation

As a whole, influencer compensation isn’t standardized. But depending on your business category, you’ll notice that prices across multiple influencers are either somewhat stable or volatile. 

The previous section of this article described some qualitative factors that affect influencer pricing, but here are some quantitative factors to add:

  • Number of followers
  • Engagement rate
  • Industry saturation
  • Campaign length
  • Production costs
  • Conversions 

When quantitative and qualitative factors vary wildly within any given industry, influencer marketing teams within that industry will encounter more pricing volatility. 

Based on our data, influencer pricing sees the most volatility in the following categories: fashion, auto, and health and fitness. If you promote products within these categories, here’s why you may be seeing prices that are all over the map.


Volatility factors: low scarcity, low exclusivity potential

Fashion categories see many influencers because their products have always been a perfect fit for Instagram content, whether organic or paid.

Some of the first influencers on social media were fashion bloggers who built their Instagram following in the early days of the platform, so they’re able to charge more for access to their audience. At the same time, it may be easier to become a fashion influencer because so many have paved the way for influencers who want to transform a hobby into a revenue stream.

When you’re swimming in a large pool of well-established influencers and emerging influencers who are constantly reinventing the fashion influencer formula, you’re going to see high volatility in pricing.  

Exclusivity is also rare within fashion categories. Audiences expect to see a wide variety of clothing brands on a influencer's feed, meaning influencers are more resistant to locking themselves into an exclusivity deal with any one fashion brand. 


Volatility factors: creation effort, entourage 

While the automotive category may not see as many influencers as, say, beauty and makeup, pricing volatility is determined by the quality of the content itself.

Think about the last car ad you saw: the car likely looked sleek, shiny, and high definition. Then again, think about the last time you turned to YouTube for a solution to your car troubles: the guts of the car may not have looked polished, but the video helped you solve your problem in a snap.

This disparity in content production value represents influencer pricing volatility with the auto category. Some influencers have amassed large followings by filming low-resolution videos that are great at solving problems. Others hire teams to help them produce sleek, sexy car content. 

Health & fitness

Volatility factors: low scarcity, high exclusivity potential

Similar to fashion, health and fitness content has exploded on Instagram. As a result, brands will see a lot of influencers to choose from but a few who have managed to outshine the rest. 

But unlike fashion and beauty, exclusivity deals are more common within health and fitness. Many influencers in this category have followed the pro-athlete model by developing exclusive sponsorship deals with brands as their main revenue source. 

Fitness influencer Stephanie Buttermore, for example, has been sponsored by supplement brand PEScience for several years. 

Breakout stars: Influencer characteristics to watch for growing brands

Influencers are segmented into three audience size categories:

  • Micro-influencers: <25,000 followers
  • Mid-influencers: 25,000–100,000 followers
  • Macro influencers: 100,000+ followers

When you’re allocating budget to influencer marketing, you’re sometimes caught choosing between two scenarios: 

  1. A larger audience size + lower engagement rate
  2. A smaller audience size + a higher engagement rate

According to our data, small- to mid-sized brands are more likely to stick with micro- to mid-sized influencers who have less than 50,000 followers but can see engagement rates of 7% or more. 

Enterprise brands are more likely to partner with influencers who have 300,000 followers or more because they can afford influencers with a massive entourage to help them produce high-quality content across several channels. 

But if your brand is growing and you feel like stepping up your game, what should you watch for in a growing influencer? Here’s a non-scientific formula we developed based on successful influencer trends:

Offline presence + relatable communication + expert product curation = a successful influencer

While there are many reasons why some influencers garner more attention than others, we’ve seen these three elements repeat themselves in people who break away from the pack and reach mainstream celebrity status. To expand:

Offline presence: A influencer is successful outside of social media, usually on TV or in print media. They’re either a thought leader in their field, a mainstream celebrity, or a reality TV star.  

Relatable communication: Their audience likes them and understands them. Their personality is relatable, and people feel like they could be friends with this person. 

Expert product curation: They only choose the best products to promote. This requires near-perfect taste and an intuitive sense of the market, but it pays off in sales because their audience trusts them. 

While influencer personas are all different, here are three we’ve seen who best represent these characteristics: 

The reality TV star

The reality-TV-star-turned-influencer is contentious because reality TV is often where emerging influencers turn when they want to boost their following. If you’re an influencer who’s seen some success and you want your following to skyrocket overnight, reality TV is the way to get there.

But if a influencer has a winning personality and joined a reality TV cast for reasons other than fame and fortune, they may be able to capture attention for their authenticity––and foster trust for the brands they represent later. 

  • For example, Canadian Bachelorette star Jillian Harris was an interior designer before she captured mainstream attention on the show, which she joined “on a whim.” 

Harris is known for her expert curation of home and lifestyle products and has been known to say no to partnerships that don’t align with her brand. As a result, her audience trusts that she has their best interest in mind. 

The niche-to-mainstream expert

Brands live for their niche audiences. Marketers and communicators alike know it’s better to find a niche and own it rather than try to be everything to everyone. 

Then there are people who are such relatable communicators that they reach a mainstream audience with niche expertise. Most of the people who love Neil deGrasse Tyson aren’t astrophysicists––they’re just curious people who want to feel a sense of awe.

If you’re a brand with a niche product, watch for thought leaders in your space who dispense with the jargon in favour of human language.  

The entrepreneur

Some influencers become so successful that they launch their own products. For example, Emily Weiss was a beauty influencer before she launched Glossier, one of the most successful makeup brands of our time.

When you’re partnering with an influencer who has their own DTC brand, the rules shift. influencers who develop their own brands will often own sub-brands to keep external brand promotions separate from their own like Emily Weiss does with Into the Gloss. In that case, you’ll likely be connecting with the influencer’s staff and paying more for placement. However, the advantage is a high trust factor: if a influencer can claim partial market share, that means they probably know their stuff. 

2021 Influencer pricing guide: key takeaways

  • Influencer rates fluctuate because they’re partnerships, not transactions
  • Brands will pay more or less for influencer content depending on authentic brand love, product type, creation effort, influencer skill, team resources, exclusivity deals, and scarcity 
  • Fashion, auto, and health and fitness categories see the most volatility with influencer pricing
  • Influencers with larger audience sizes may see lower engagement rates
  • Influencers with smaller audience sizes may see higher engagement rates
  • Influencers that stand out from the rest have an offline presence, a relatable communication style, and stellar product curation skills
  • Influencer personas to watch for large-scale campaigns are reality TV stars, niche-to-mainstream thought leaders, and entrepreneur