Author: Julianna Vorhaus (page 1 of 3)

Instagram Influencer Rates

Influencer marketing isn’t just for the Kardashians. In case you haven’t heard, you don’t have to be uber famous to gain a steady following on Instagram and earn a paycheck.

But there is a wide range of cash being doled out to those in the sponsored post game. How much could you make?

We looked at the profiles of 2,885 influencers on influence.co to see how many followers they have, what their engagement rates look like, and how much they’re charging for sponsored posts. Check out the findings from our inaugural Influencer Rate and Engagement Report below for an idea on what brands are willing to pay you.

View Interactive Charts: Influencer Post Rates ($) | Influencer Engagement Rates

Follow the Leader

Instagram post rate average

 

 

You likely guessed an upward trend in sponsored post rates with the more followers you have. While that’s generally true, our report unearthed some unexpected price points. For example, those with 5,001 to 25,000 followers are, on average, charging a little less than influencers with 2,001 to 5,000 followers ($93 and $133 compared with $137).

The first big jump happens when you cross the 100,000 follower threshold – the thought leaders or trend setters with 100,001 to 250,000 followers command about 42 percent more than influencers with 75,001 to 100,000 followers. Make it to the 250,001-to-500,000 bucket and you could up your price by another 53 percent.

Of course, the 1 million mark is what all influencers strive for – and for good reason. If you go from 100,000 followers to 1 million, you’ll make 5.5 times more money for each sponsored post.

What’s Your Focus?

Sponsored instagram post average rate

 

Of the 10 verticals influencers are grouped into, the travel sector comes in at No. 1 with $220 per sponsored post – which is 49 percent more than the bottom-ranking business vertical that garners $134 per post. The entertainment and home & lifestyle niches rank highly as well, with both bringing in over $200 for each post.

Getting Those Likes and Comments

Influencer average engagement

 

When a brand is making their decision on which influencer(s) to hire, they look at engagement rates (the ratio of likes and comments to the number of followers). Interestingly, three of the verticals that were in the bottom half for average rates moved to the top here – photography, art & design, and business. Engagement rates and overall rates also reflect how many influencers self-categorize into each vertical. So less people in a given vertical means higher prices and higher engagement as the audience is more concentrated.

Coming in at No. 10, influencers in the home & lifestyle sector are in a good position as the average engagement rate is only 4.5% and the average cost per sponsored post ($204) ranks No. 3 overall.

Attractive Topics

average followers by follower count

 

It’s clear that many turn to Instagram to be amused, with the entertainment vertical tallying up the highest number of followers. However, with the third-lowest engagement rate, the 76,118 followers aren’t double-tapping or commenting as frequently as fans of the next two niches with high follower counts (health & fitness and travel).

Those in the photography game have their work cut out for them: This vertical stands in the second-to-last place for number of followers, but first place for engagement and sixth place for the cost per sponsored post. This means shutterbugs on Instagram need to really wow their followers in order to get likes and make their portfolios shine brighter than others so that brands take notice of them.

Upping Your Ratio

The very obvious trend in the chart above shows that the more followers you have, the lower your engagement rates will likely be. The exception is for influencers with 500,001 to 1 million followers – the only influencers with a higher engagement rate have 50,000 or fewer followers.

Looking at the top and bottom buckets, we found those with fewer than 2,000 followers have an engagement rate 151% higher than influencers boasting over a million followers. However, remember that the pure reach of those in the 1-million-follower club leads them to earn over 11 times more.

If you’re working on growing your following, maintain your competitive edge by ensuring your posts appeal to your target audience so that your engagement rate stays high.

Instagram influencer average engagement rates

 

 

Influencers Around the World

instagram sponsored post rates

 

 

Influencers in the United Arab Emirates charge about 25% more than those in the United States and Canada. While the U.S. makes up the largest percentage of Instagram accounts globally, the U.A.E. has experienced a surge in its internet-using residents using Instagram. Not only that, but those in the U.A.E. are also more open to sponsored content on social media than their global counterparts.  

While the cost of living and average salaries may come into play with how much influencers in different countries charge for sponsored posts, that’s not always the case. For example, Singapore remains the world’s most expensive city, but influencers there fall to the 13th spot with an average of $129 per post.

The Average Influencer

snapshot of Influence.co influencers

 

Overall, we found that influencers’ average engagement rate is 5.3%, and the average rate they charge for each sponsored post is $180. If you’re looking to beat that average, you’re most likely to find success in these verticals: travel ($220), entertainment ($209), home & lifestyle ($204), and health & fitness ($193). Your plan in topping that average should also include acquiring at least 25,000 followers.

Achieving Success as an Instagram Entrepreneur

There’s no doubt influencers are finding money and large followings on Instagram. You don’t have to be a celebrity to cash in, but you do need to invest time in managing your Instagram account, online presence, and the profile you present to brands.

Our Influencer Rate and Engagement Report provides a look at how much influencers are charging for sponsored posts, along with follower counts, verticals, and engagement rates – to give you a glimpse at the playing field. For more insight into how you stack up to influencers who are similar to you, be sure to check out our Influencer Engagement Rate Map which lets you explore real-time data from our influencer profiles.

map of engagement rates

 

 

Methodology

In April 2017, we analyzed the sponsored post rates and engagement rates of a sample of 2,885 influencers with profiles on influence.co. Rate data was collected from influencers who have voluntarily input their rates. Rates generally reflect the average payment per post an influencer receives for a posting on one social media platform. The influencers were segmented into industry verticals based on the category the influencers indicated is their primary focus, although many influencers span several categories.

Fair Use

We’re happy to share our findings with other audiences. We request you credit influence.co by including a link back to this page when using our graphics.

AMA with Rainier Jonn

Influencers drive the influencer marketing industry. They have interesting stories about how they came to be influencers and why they choose to live their lives via social media.

Their first-hand experience working with brands and expertise in other areas is extremely valuable to other influencers. Our influencer AMA series is where top influencers share their stories, successes and learnings with their peers and aspiring influencers.

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— I always like to start by asking, how did The Dressed Chest come about? And how have you grown your following?

I liked creating outfits by mixing and matching patterns and colors since before I started my Instagram. Originally I would put my pictures onto my personal feed so that I could keep track of the things that I have already worn. It was at the insistence of my sister that I decided to put all of my outfits into their own IG. How I have grown my following is largely a mystery (even to me), but I think it has largely to do with hashtags and the consistency of my images.

— What was your first brand collaboration? How is it similar to, or different from partnerships you participate in now?

I think it was with an Australian knit tie company called Geezer. The vast majority of my pictures are of my chest, so I attract lots of brands that sell shirts and ties. This holds true now. I get partnership requests from larger companies now than before, but I try my best to work with brands that I like, regardless of size.

— I love to hear that! And speaking of brands you’ve worked with, what is the coolest brand you’ve partnered with?

Indochino was really cool to work with. The giveaway we did together brought in incredible engagement. It was also great to work with The Hill-Side and Todd Snyder. I was a big fan of these brands before I got into Instagram, so to be able to partner up with them was an honor for me.

— I’m dying know, who takes the photos of you and how long does it take to put together the look and get the right shot of it for Instagram?

I take all photos myself, using the rear-facing camera on my Galaxy S7 Edge. In most cases putting together the right look doesn’t take too much time for me, and neither does taking the photo (I take most of my shots right at my front door, literally on my way to the car to go to work). What is the most time-consuming for me is post-processing and coming up with a good caption. There are only so many puns you can make out of the words “blue” and “knit tie”, after all.

— I do love your captions, the puns always make me laugh. And speaking of writing, tell us about the Book “Read This if You Want to be Instagram Famous” and how you got involved.

The editor for the book reached out to me via email and asked me if I wanted to be a part of an upcoming book. Honestly I can’t say how he found my Instagram out (my email address is readily available on my IG feed, though how they reach my IG feed I’m not sure), but when I found out the person making the book was Henry Carroll, author of “Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs”, I couldn’t say no.

— That’s really amazing and so cool to be a part of something like that. At a time when everyone is trying to be Insta-Famous, I’m curious to know what’s the biggest challenge you face as an influencer today?

As an Instagrammer it’s been tough getting a good feel for the new photos feed. Since the photos are no longer arranged by latest posted, I need to rethink what and when I post my shots. Also, finding a good balance between staying true to your style and the requirements from brands can be a challenge at times, depending on the brand. While I try my best to accommodate the needs of a brand, I’ve had to turn down many potential partnerships because their requirements didn’t align with what I do on my Instagram.

— Influencer Marketing seems to be changing everyday and the shifting algorithms from Instagram is just one example. Do you have any predictions for Influencer Marketing in 2017 and beyond?

I’m seeing lots of Influencers diversifying their social media reach to other platforms, such as YouTube and Snapchat. I’ve also seen Influencers becoming more engaged with their audience, interacting with them through live feeds. This helps make us more authentic, and less like a walking billboard. The more real and authentic we can make ourselves, the more our followers can trust us and the brands with which we partner.

— Thank you so much for taking the time to connect with us and be a part of our AMA series. It was so great to hear your thoughts and experiences!

AMA with Loki the Wolf Dog

Influencers drive the influencer marketing industry. They have interesting stories about how they came to be influencers and why they choose to live their lives via social media.

Their first-hand experience working with brands and expertise in other areas is extremely valuable to other influencers. Our influencer AMA series is where top influencers share their stories, successes and learnings with their peers and aspiring influencers.

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— Let’s start with something I think most influencers are curious about. How did you grow the following of Loki_the_wolfdog to over 1M?

The growth came from several outside articles across the web. In the fall of 2015, many different online sites like Buzzfeed, The Daily Mail, the Weather Channel, and others wrote articles about us, featuring our photos. That was totally out of our control, what was in our control was to keep things light and fun and to be free to think of silly fun photos like the hammock photos that we have taken. I try to focus on that and keep things internal rather than focusing on outward things like growth strategies.

— That is one of my favorite things about following you, the fun you have is apparent and it makes it fun to follow along. What was your first brand collaboration?

Hmm. I posted a shot for a T-shirt brand called Timber Threads in exchange for a T shirt years ago. I was stoked. It was fun. Maybe the first real partnership I had was with a small local dog food brand that we still represent today. The company is called IandLoveandYou. We just signed to be with them for another year.

— I love to hear about long term brand relationships, especially with brands that are such a natural fit. What are some of the biggest obstacles you face in creating sponsored content or in brand collaborations?

I would say trying to educate brands that see social media marketing through the same lens as traditional marketing. When people want something that looks like an ad with strong product imagery and copy in the caption. I’m not stoked to work with those folks and after a brief conversation I often move on.

— I couldn’t agree with you more and think that brands need to give more creative control to the influencers. Particularly when they are working with someone like you. Your photographs are stunning and one of the things that really sets you apart. How many hours per week do you spend on building photo content?

No idea. Including driving, hiking, editing, thinking of a copy, sometimes up to 90 hours a week.

— Wow, that’s a lot of hours and I think something many brands don’t realize when working with influencers. Getting the perfect shot takes time. Do you have any predictions for Influencer Marketing in 2017 and beyond?

I’m hopeful it will continue to grow as brands start to realize how blind the public has become to banner ads, billboards, commercials, print ads, etc. It’s fun to see folks who might not be active on social start to understand it. It’s up to the influencers to protect how commercial the collaborations get, I’m hopeful most will find the value in keeping it organic as possible.

— Thank you so much for taking the time to connect with us and share your insights! One last question, what is the most unique collaboration you’ve worked on?

I just finished up a weekend at the Long Beach Grand Prix. We partnered with a race sponsorship/scholarship program called Rising Star Racing. We brought light to the IndyCar team through social media. Loki was on the side of the the race car. Totally out of the norm for us, but I love getting outside the box. And thanks for the opportunity to chat!

Learn more about Kelly and Loki by visiting their influence.co profile.

AMA with Jessica of Cheat Day Eats

Influencers drive the influencer marketing industry. They have interesting stories about how they came to be influencers and why they choose to live their lives via social media.

Their first-hand experience working with brands and expertise in other areas is extremely valuable to other influencers. Our influencer AMA series is where top influencers share their stories, successes and learnings with their peers and aspiring influencers.

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— Let’s start at the beginning. How did Cheat Day Eats come about? And how have you grown your following?

Two and a half years ago I started CheatDayEats as a hobby that allowed me to express my passion over what I was going to eat on my cheat day. I always loved photography and taking pictures of my food, so when I saw that there was a food community on Instagram, I knew I had to be part of it. My account picked up a lot of traction and I was excited to see people were curious about where I was eating next! Today, my account has evolved to be an extension of my life and I love sharing it with my audience. I have grown my following by staying true to myself and posting experiences, brands, and food that I want to share with my followers because I think they would love them too.

— What was your first brand collaboration? How is it similar to, or different from partnerships you participate in now?

My first brand collaboration was with Bai. Some level of creative control is what I prioritize highly throughout all the partnerships I’ve been part of. That’s something very important to me because it helps keep the bond between myself and my audience tight and authentic, which in return is part of the reason I have such strong engagement with my account and what helps my brand stick out.

As my account has evolved from just food and beverage postings and I now include more lifestyle and travel content, that’s where I would say the biggest differences are from my earlier campaigns.

— Speaking of food and beverage posting, what is the best meal you have eaten in New York?

This is probably one of the hardest questions that I get asked often. My favorite meal recently was 4 Charles Prime Rib. The burger, carbonara, prime rib, and ice cream sundae were all amazing!

It was also a very intimate and classy restaurant which was what I was looking for that evening since I had just gotten engaged earlier in the day!

— Congratulations! Now you have a honeymoon (and wedding!) to plan, tell us your favorite place to travel – both for the food and other experiences?

Italy! I have visited a few times and every time I go I fall in love again. The food there is so simple, yet remarkably stunning and delicious Even the complimentary bread and olive oil in the beginning blows me away. As far as the desserts go, I could eat gelato and Nutella every day and be the happiest girl in the world. When not hunting down my next food experience, I love to just enjoy strolling through the cobblestone roads and being part of all the great history and décor that Italy has to offer.

— You have partnered with a number of impressive brands like American Express, Budweiser and Shake Shack. What is the coolest brand you’ve partnered with and why?

The coolest brand I have partnered with is Cosmopolitan. Ever since I was a little girl and had ripped out pages from their magazine and put them on the walls and ceiling of my bedroom, it was always my favorite magazine. So naturally, I was nostalgic over the opportunity to work with them. I did an account takeover of their instagram to showcase the most indulgent foods in NYC and am proud to say that I’ve formed an ongoing relationship with the brand and continue to do collaborations with them. One of which was this article that they published earlier this year and featured me in.

— That is such a cool story! And I love to see traditional media cross over to work with influencers in such a cool and authentic way. I’m curious, do you have another job or are you a full time influencer? If you are a full time influencer, how long did it take to get to that point?

I have been a high school math teacher for the last 5 years. It is with great excitement that I announce I am leaving to be an influencer full time!! If you can’t feel my joy, I am jumping up and down. It is the biggest career move I have ever made but I am confident in myself and the brand I have built. This is my childhood dream to travel the world and experience great food and there is no way I can pass that up. I think this is just the beginning of influencer marketing and I think it will continue to grow and I am excited to be a part of it.

I couldn’t agree with you more that this is just the beginning for influencer marketing and the next few years are going to be very exciting. What’s the biggest challenge you and other influencers face today?

There are fake accounts that are saturating the market and diluting the perception of value of genuine engagement and real accounts.

— That is a really insightful and honest observation. Do you have any predictions for Influencer Marketing in 2017 and beyond?

I think Influencer Marketing will continue to expand overseas and pick up more steam in other countries and will continue to grow rapidly in USA. Advertisers are going to continue to see the value in marketing online through influencers and gradually shift their budgets from more traditional media outlets such as television, radio, and print ads.

— Thanks for being a part of our AMA series and sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!

Learn more about Jessica by visiting her influence.co profile.

AMA with Lauren Bath

Influencers drive the influencer marketing industry. They have interesting stories about how they came to be influencers and why they choose to live their lives via social media.

Their first-hand experience working with brands and expertise in other areas is extremely valuable to other influencers. Our influencer AMA series is where top influencers share their stories, successes and learnings with their peers and aspiring influencers.

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— Tell us about your journey from chef to photographer.

I was a chef for 15 years, a career that I loved, when I started using Instagram as a hobby. Because I was working in a job that was relatively low pressure I finally had the time for a new interest and photography became that interest. I was instantly hooked on using the app and within a few months I had my first 5,000 followers.

From there I bought a camera and started to take my photography more seriously. I was still working as a chef throughout a period of massive growth on Instagram and was fortunate to grow from 5,000 followers to 200,000 followers during this time, within 18 months of first downloading the app. From here I made the decision to quit my job to dedicate more time to my photography and have the time to take the travel opportunities that were coming my way. The rest is history!

— That is an amazing and inspiring story and it’s truly impressive how quickly you experienced that growth! Tell us more about your photography philosophy and how you incorporate that when working with brands.

My entire photography philosophy comes down to the fact that I love to shoot my surroundings and I don’t like to limit myself to a niche, luckily that philosophy works incredibly well in the travel industry. I approach each job as an opportunity to capture a variety of subjects and to tell the story of my travels through a series of images, rather than a single image. Instagram is the perfect platform for me in that way.

— Your philosophy definitely pays off, your photographs are truly stunning. What are your favorite tools to use? Camera, accessories, editing software, etc.

Thank you! I’m using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera and a full range of professional lenses. I use Lee filters, a Gitzo tripod and an f-stop camera bag. All of my editing is done in Photoshop but I take roughly 3 minutes to edit a shot, all the hard work is done in camera.

— What was your first brand collaboration? In what way is that similar to what you’re doing now?

Like so many others my first opportunity was with Daniel Wellington watches. Haha. This was way, way back before anyone had heard of them. I must have been one of the first influencers to ever work with them, it was 2012. I was paid with a watch and I did a branded post.

My methods since then have changed a LOT! For a start I only work with tourism boards and a handful of travel related brands that are very closely aligned with my own brand. I also charge fair rates depending on the job; sponsored posts cost more than travel-based campaigns. I am very conscious of only posting content that is of value to my audience and creating the same work that I would create if this wasn’t my job.

— I love your commitment to quality content and staying authentic to your voice! What is the most unique campaign/ collaboration you’ve worked on?

I’ve worked on a lot of unique jobs but one of the most exciting was when I was the campaign manager for an Australian influencer campaign in Dubai. I hand picked 22 Australian Instagrammers to come on the trip plus facilitated a competition to select two winners to join us. With the gang of 24, plus me, we hit Dubai in a big way and to this day I think it’s still the biggest instagrammer campaign for a tourism board in the world.

— Wow, that sounds amazing! Tell us about some of the biggest obstacles you face in creating sponsored content or in brand collaborations?

Definitely educating the client on what works and what doesn’t work. There’s too many brands trying to use influencers as an advertising platform without taking into account the fact that they know their own audience better than anyone else. I flatly refuse work for a variety of reasons on a daily basis. A big piece of advice for anyone looking to work with influencers is to take the time to listen to them and respect their creative judgement.

— I really could not agree with you more and I am constantly advocating that marketers should bring influencers into the creative process and let them help to create the campaigns. Let’s switch gears a little bit. You started a conference! Tell us about how you decided on that undertaking and what it’s been like so far.

I’ve actually started TWO conferences! The initial idea came from Georgia Rickard; she came to me and said “We should start a conference where a travel writer, a travel instagrammer and a travel blogger get together to teach other people how to get paid to travel.” I thought it was a great idea and suggested Elizabeth Carlson as our blogger and the Travel Bootcamp was born! Each of us are so successful in our respective industries and so passionate about protecting these industries that we looked at it as an opportunity to help mold the next generation of travel influencers and writers.

From here the obvious next step was to branch out into industry and teach them the best practices on how to work with people like us; how to choose influencers, how to write new media itineraries, how to combine new and traditional media in the best ways possible and many more of the questions we are asked by clients regularly. The new event debuts in September and is called the “Modern Travel Media Summit” and we have secured TravMedia as our major sponsor.

On both sides of the table we want to help others, help strengthen the industry and give both aspiring influencers and brands a platform to learn and share.

— That is wonderful to hear, I think we are in a unique position to help shape how the industry will evolve and I love to see trailblazers like you getting involved! Now for one last question and I am really intrigued to hear your answer. Do you have any predictions for Influencer Marketing in 2017 and beyond?

As traditional marketing and advertising continue to change I predict seeing more interest in influencer marketing but I think this will reach a tipping point as brands start to realize the importance of choosing the right influencers and doing their due diligence in recruiting people that are truly influential.

In the coming years I also expect to see an increase in the amount of brands dedicating resources to detecting when a potential influencer has cheated. I predict that these people will be held accountable if they have grown their accounts using unfair methods, for example buying likes and followers and enlisting pod mentality to increase their engagement. These numbers contribute nothing to the campaigns they are hired to work on and I believe fraud cases will eventually ensue in court.

Influencer marketing will only remain a viable marketing option if influencers maintain professionalism and integrity in their endeavors.

— Very insightful! Thank you again so much for taking the time to share your story and thoughts with us!

Learn more about Lauren by visiting her influence.co profile.

How to Use the Instagram Paid Partnership Tag for Influencers

Instagram found itself in some hot water recently. A study by Mediakix found that 93% of Instagram’s top 50 celebrities have violated the FTC Guidelines in regard to sponsorship disclosures. This week, they released a new feature that attempts to make things right. The new sponsored post disclaimer tool allows influencers to easily tag posts as sponsored and to highlight the brands who have commissioned them. In a blog post, the company said  “A healthy community should be open and consistent about paid partnerships.”

This latest update is not widely available yet and is only available to some business accounts. In the coming weeks, the feature will be released more generally. “During this initial stage we want to educate and gather feedback from our community and launch partners,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email to WIRED. “After this feedback period we will unveil a policy that will include enforcement.”

The new branded content section is available from “Advanced Settings”, the same place where influencers can turn off comments for a post. Within the branded content section, influencers will be given an option to “Tag a Business Partner”.  That business partner’s name will appear where the location of a photo is usually displayed, with the same being true for sponsored Instagram stories.

As more influencers and businesses adapt to this new tool, users will see less and less of the #ad or #sponsored in Instagram captions. The feature is designed to make it easier for influencers to tag business partners and easier for their followers to understand if a post is sponsored.

While Instagram does not currently have a way to enforce that influencers and brands use this new tool, users who do will receive an added bonus – access to additional metrics on how the post is performing. The sponsoring brand will be able to see these post metrics through their Facebook insights.

As predicted, 2017 is the year of disclosures and FTC compliance and this is a move by Instagram that is welcomed by many influencers and brands. Instagrammers have no need to worry, the focus on disclosures is a mark that the industry is here to stay. Those of us who have been around Influencer Marketing for a while remember when the FTC started to crack down on bloggers in 2010/ 2011. And influencer marketing on blogs is still big business today. 

How to Understand Engagement Rates

Did you know that engagement rates on Instagram are becoming the second most important statistic next to follower count? An engagement rate is simply the total number of engagements (likes + comments) divided by current follower count. influence.co uses the last 45 days of posts on Instagram to calculate engagement.

Whether you are a professional influencer or a brand marketer, you should know how to interpret engagement rates. This general overview will help you better understand how the different engagement rates rank influencers. 

Less than 0.5%: Horrible engagement. Usually represents an account with fake or purchased followers or a very large audience who’s mostly lurking (e.g. NSFW content where people would be embarrassed to comment or like). Brands tend to avoid these accounts at all costs.

0.5% – 1%: Poor engagement. Usually represents really big audiences where most people are onlookers or an account with poor content that is heavily promotional (e.g. a nightclub’s Instagram where every post is about which DJ is playing that night) or highly diffuse in theme. Brands will only work with this engagement rate for very large accounts.

1%-1.5%: OK. Not good but not bad. If a brand has a choice of two accounts with other items being equal (follower count, rate, category) they will tend to avoid this range. Usually reflects poorly thought out grids, mediocre photography, or highly varied subject matter.

1.5%-3%: Fine. Brands will generally accept engagement rates in this range without question and focus on other items such as aesthetic fit, rates, and audience size in their decision process.

3% -5%: Great. Highly engaged followers due to excellent content, highly responsive owner of the account, excellent photography or aesthetics. Brands tend to overpay for posts on accounts with this engagement rate.

5% – 8%: Excellent. Everything about this account is working well from aesthetics to content focus to photography to the influencers engagement with their audience. Brands love to work with these accounts as their audience really listens to the recommendations they make.

8%+: Rare. These accounts, especially with bigger follower counts are rare and usually reflect superior photography or an account owner with a level of celebrity that engenders such engagement. Brands pay top dollar to be on these accounts but these account owners rarely do collaborations.

As you can see, engagement rates are a very important statistic to know as an influencer and to take into consideration as a brand marketer.

Understanding Content Ownership

One very important detail of brand collaboration is often overlooked: content ownership. You may be surprised to find out who has rights to and owns the content you create on a brand’s behalf.  Historically, the brand or marketer who was paying for the content, whether directly or indirectly would own the content in its digital form with the rights to reuse it digitally. Many brands re-share influencer’s content in their consumer newsletters, on their blogs, and on their social media channels.

But the re-purposing of content can be beneficial to brands and influencers alike. For brands, it extends the life of content and makes influencer marketing a very efficient source of content from a budget standpoint. For influencers, when the content is properly attributed to them, it increases exposure by placing them directly in front of the brand’s audience. It also demonstrates credibility for the influencer and augments their clout with other brands.

Over the last couple of years, brands have begun to extend the traditional definition of ownership. This is happening in large part because brands see the effectiveness of influencer marketing and influencer created content on their target audiences. Influencers started to see their images stripped of watermarks and appearing in ads. Brands demanded influencers send them every photo, even if they weren’t used in the campaign and requested raw video files that the brand could edit into other productions. These uses of content and requests for additional content are in many cases legally acceptable based on common contracts in the industry. Many times the brand does not even have to credit the influencer who created the content. This expansion of content use and sharing has made content ownership a hot topic and one we thought worth digging into more deeply for you.

We reviewed a number of contracts and spoke to influencers, agents and lawyers to help you better understand contract language and avoid unpleasant situations.  We came across contracts that explicitly address content ownership and those that are poorly written and harder to understand. At the end of the day, these are only guidelines and it is up to every influencer to protect themselves by carefully reading every contract they sign.

Most contracts refer to ownership of content in one way or another but we found that language can vary highly. The most common terms we found that refer to content ownership are: ownership, intellectual property, work for hire and social media content. Pay special attention when you see these terms and talk to a lawyer if you are confused about their meaning.

Legal language is broad and at times, very hard to understand. Here are a few examples of language that we saw in contracts.

Example 1 Ownership of Work Product. All work product or Content created by Influencer in connection with the Program shall solely belong to brand and agency and agency ownership rights shall not be affected in any manner by the termination of this Agreement for any reason whatsoever.”  

As you can see, this is fairly straightforward. Ownership clearly belongs to the brand and agency who are contracting the influencers.

Example 2 “Influencer agrees that all videos, content and other work product created and submitted to Agency or Client (“Work Product”) shall be considered a “work made for hire” for Client and may be used by Client in perpetuity for any lawful purpose, without restriction. To the extent such Work Product is deemed not to be a work made for hire, Influencer hereby sells, assigns and transfers all right, title, ownership and interest therein, presently known or hereafter ascertained, without any restrictions as to use, to Client, and its successors, assignees and/or licensees. Without in any way limiting this sale and assignment, Influencer hereby waives any and all moral rights he/she may have in the Work Product so that Client may use, modify and revise the Work Product without restriction or attribution to Influencer. Influencer understands and agrees that other than the fee set forth in the SOW, Influencer will not receive any monetary compensation for the use of the Work Product. Except in connection with the services, Influencer shall not use the Work Product for any purpose without Client’s prior written consent. All Work Product is subject to the approval of Client and Agency. Agency and Client shall have the right to use Influencer’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, performance and biography in connection with Agency and Client’s usage of the Work Product.

There are few things that stand out to me from this example. One, “in perpetuity”,  which means the brand can reuse the content the influencer is creating over and over, in any place they want, at any time. Two, “Client may use, modify and revise the Work Product without restriction or attribution to Influencer”,  this means the brand can legally remove watermarks and edit images and video, etc. and not have to attribute back to the creator. Three, “Except in connection with the services, Influencer shall not use the Work Product for any purpose without Client’s prior written consent”, in essence, the influencer couldn’t reuse their own work at a later time without written consent.

For many influencers, these red flags don’t appear until after you see your image in an ad with no mention that you created it. Beyond frustration and hurt feelings, understanding who owns your content and for how long has major implications for you as an influencer.

Some influencers will increase their rate by two to ten times if a brand wants to own their content in perpetuity. For example, if you normally charge $250 for a blog post that you license to a brand for 90 days, you could charge $500 – $2,500 for the same post if the brand wants to own your content in perpetuity. If a brand owns your content not only can they use it any way they like, but you can’t. You can’t use a stock image in a blog post or a clip of a song you don’t own in a video. According to a few people we spoke with, half the value of an agreement is based on usage, where the content will be used and for how long.  

As we researched this post, we found that influencers who work with an agent or other representative often times do not assign ownership to the client as in the examples above. In those cases, the influencer continues to own their content and the brand is granted a license to that content for a short period of time.

Even if you don’t work with an agent, you have the right to edit or refuse to sign a contract you are uncomfortable with.

As an influencer advocate, here are my suggestions of four things every influencer should do before agreeing to work with a brand:

  1. Read every contract very carefully. Each contract will have a section that outlines ownership. If you run into confusion or language you don’t understand (which is very common) it is a good investment to have a lawyer look them over. I suggest  Hashtag Legal as they provide legal services for social media professionals, creatives and influencers. If you do not see ownership specifically mentioned, edit the contract to make you the owner who assigns rights to the brand for 90-120 days.
  2. Know which ways you are comfortable with your content being re-used and over what length of time. If you come across contracts that fall outside those parameters suggest changes and make edits so you are fully comfortable with the legal language.
  3. Have a variety of rates that include brands owning raw video files and high-resolution images and other types of content you are creating on their behalf.
  4. Create your own or work with a lawyer to establish a standard contract that you use or that you can add to any brand contracts you receive.

The way content is re-used by brands has changed and expanded. Many influencers are not comfortable signing away all rights to their content only to see that same content appear in other forms for which they are not credited. The best way to prevent that from happening is to be educated and aware of what you are agreeing to up front.

Product Update: How to Use Lists

The ability to create lists is one of our newest and most useful features. Whether you’re searching for influencers to work with or brands you want to connect with, creating and updating lists within influence.co makes it easy to organize and track users. After releasing this feature last month, we recently expanded its functionality to better serve our users.

You can now build up to three lists with your free account (or unlimited lists if you are PRO) of profiles you want to reach out to. Get started by creating a shortlist of brands you want to work with or influencers you want to connect with.

You can compare vital stats on list members, take notes on those you’ve added and send contacts directly from your list.

Plus, users can now make lists public and share them with colleagues and teammates, even if they don’t have an influence.co account.

 

If another influence.co member shares a list with you, you can copy that list to your own account and your public lists can be copied by users you share them with. Check out this list I created with our SELECT tier influencers.

To get started creating and sharing lists, select “My Lists” from the main drop-down menu under your profile picture.

You can easily create a new list from directly from your lists page.

To add a profile to a list and track them simply click the “Save to List” button on any profile. You can click “My Lists” from the menu and go back and review at any time.

Log in to your account today to get started with Lists!

How to Set Your Rates for Sponsored Content

Setting rates for sponsored content can be tricky. There is no guide on exactly what to charge or even a basic formula to use. Many influencers aren’t transparent about their rates so it’s hard to know where to start and what is considered reasonable.

Our goal is to make the business of social influence easier for everyone involved. The first step is to make it easier for influencers to set rates and for marketers to understand how those rates are set and what they reflect.

There are a number of “behind the scenes” factors that brands don’t always take into consideration when offering compensation for sponsored content. They may think, it’s only a picture, only a tweet, a quick recipe – how long can that take? But in reality it is so much more than that. It is time invested by you in building a brand, a business, and an engaged following. It’s up to you the influencer to understand those costs and know what you’re worth. Here are the major components to consider when setting your rate:

Page Views and Traffic – Like traditional advertising, brands pay in large part for the audience they are reaching. While this is not the only element to consider, it is certainly one of the most important. A good starting point calculation for setting your minimum rate is $5 dollars per 1,000 followers.  So, if you have 10,000 followers, your minimum rate should be $50.

Topic – Are you creating content in a topic that is very niche yet highly sought after? If there are fewer influencers creating content on your topic, you can command a higher rate than someone who creates content in a more popular category. You should also get to know other influencers in your niche and get an idea for what they are charging. You can also look at CPC (cost per click) in your given category as a good benchmark for relative pricing.

Equipment – Shooting photos, video, and hosting a blog all have costs associated with them. Those costs should be somewhat amortized by the sponsored content you create. For example, if your new camera is $300, you should expect to amortize that cost over 100 sponsored posts at an additional $3 per opportunity. It’s also incredibly important to understand the elements of a collaboration upfront so you can adjust your rate if needed. One flat lay photo will likely require less time from you and thus cost less than a how-to video.  

Social promotion – We live in a world of ever-changing algorithms on social channels. More and more influencers are now placing a small spend behind social posts to ensure they are still seen by followers. If you spend $5 per post on average to promote it on Facebook, that should be incorporated into your rate.

Taxes – This is often overlooked by many influencers, but is incredibly important to consider. If you make more than $400 per year from sponsored content, that is income you have to report to the IRS. Be sure you cover yourself for those potential costs at the end of the year.

Cost Per Engagement – As influencer marketing matures, brands and influencers are gaining access to additional metrics. Engagement rates and cost per engagement have become increasingly important analytics to consider. You can calculate your CPE with this simple formula: Price paid for the post / Average engagements (e.g. likes + comments) per post.

For example, if a marketer pays you $100 for a post and you get 350 engagements your cost per engagement is $0.28. Most marketers are spending $0.05 to $0.75 per engagement, so this CPE would likely be acceptable. If your CPE exceeds $0.75 per post, you should plan to lower your rate to fit into that range.

As you grow as an influencer, your rate will likely grow with you. It may be beneficial to adjust your rate by $5 – $50 over the course of a few months to find the perfect sweet spot. If you have no problem getting offers at $100 per post, try raising your rate to $125 to see if demand drops.

As a resource for brands and influencers alike, influence.co recently published the first ever public influencer rate map. See how your rates compare based on category, location and follower count.

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