The Economics of Influence: How Social Media Influencers Earn Millions of Dollars Every Year


Thursday, February 04, 2021 / 05:00PM / Plaqad / Header Image Credit: Influencer Compensation Report


The influencer marketing industry has been on a tear in the last few years and it is expected to continue its upward trajectory over the next few years to come. 


According to MarketsandMarkets, an American research firm, the global influencer marketing platform market size alone is expected to grow from USD 5.5 billion in 2019 to USD 22.3 billion by 2024, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32.4%.


Influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular form of marketing based on the concept that people are more likely to buy a product or a service influenced by the recommendation of a trusted individual - a paradigm shift from conventional advertising.


According to Plaqad's Influencer Compensation Report, 86% of consumers say they look to influencers for credible product recommendations. This is in line with Adweek's report that 76% of people are more likely to trust content shared by "normal" people.


Linqia Research, a marketing and public relations technology company, said 86% of marketers and advertising agencies utilised influencer marketing as part of their overall outreach strategy. Within this group, 92 per cent found the practice to be useful for effective brand outreach.


In addition, a survey by the United Kingdom Chartered Institute of Marketers shows that three out of four brands now turn to influencers to promote their products and services, especially via digital media channels. The survey also showed that 83 per cent of consumers are more likely to trust the recommendation of a friend over traditional adverts. 


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Source: Plaqad


The Cash-Out Season for Influencers


With deep pockets brands ready to spend on product branding, influencers have been smiling to the bank.


Kylie Jenner, an American media personality, earned an estimated $1.2 million (960,000 Euros) for a single post on Instagram in 2019, which makes her the highest-paid celebrity influencer on the social media platform, according to the 2019 Instagram Rich List compiled by Hopper HQ, an automated Instagram scheduler.


Ariana Grande, an American singer, and actress earned $966,000 (773,340 Euros) per post. Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo heads the ranking of the most popular Instagram accounts as of December 2020. He is the most followed person on the photo-sharing app platform with nearly 244 million followers. He earned $975,000 (780,487 Euros) per post as at 2019.


Kim Kardashian isn't far behind in 4th place earning around $910,000 (728,455 Euros) per post.


Selena Gomez, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Neymar, and Justin Bieber made up the rest of the top 10.


The story is not different for Nigerian influencers. The Influencer Compensation Report 2020 by Plaqad, an all-in-one communications platform that helps brands and individuals run end-to-end campaigns on a single platform, shows that 9.6 percent of influencers earned between N500,000 - N1 million and 10 percent earned more than one million naira in 2019.


What started as a pastime for some internet enthusiasts, has now grown into a huge multi-million-dollar industry. Influencers in Nigeria and across the globe have been thrust into the epicentre of today's technology-driven marketing ecosystem. 


Engaging audiences on Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube videos are no longer a thing one does out of boredom, as posting and socialising online have now become a lucrative business and a way to build a brand.


Every social platform attracts influencers to some degree, according to Influencer Marketing Hub with Instagram remaining the most attractive platform for influencers. Nearly four in five (79%) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%). 

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Source: Plaqad


What does the Future hold for Influencer Marketing?


The report by Plaqad also shows that 55.6 percent of brands in Nigeria spent between N10 million and N50 million on influencer campaigns in 2019. 11 per cent had a budget of over 50 million, while more than 33 per cent spent less than N10 million.


As social media becomes more entrenched in people's lives and takes on more functional uses beyond communication, the role of influencers is set to only grow. 


Also, as viewership, audiences, and social platform growth continue to rise, so too will advertising dollars seeking to capitalize on the untapped reach and exposure of these marketing channels.


Recent market research has shown that in many years to come, influencers will become increasingly vital intermediaries, helping to connect brands with consumers on social media in a highly resonant, authentic way that can deliver immediate returns. 


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Source: Plaqad


Setting the Right Metrics


Simply selecting a popular influencer for brand collaborations is not enough, brands must take time to source influencers who fit their brand's unique identity and can project their stories better.


The authenticity, professionalism, engagement rate, content originality and niche of each influencer are critical in arriving at a particular personality that suits a brand.


In addition to celebrities with massive followings, brands can also tap thought leaders, micro-and nano-influencers, kid-influencers, gaming influencers, and virtual (computer-generated) influencers among others.


Brands looking to partner with influencers need to ensure that they maximize the value of these partnerships.


Running any kind of marketing without measuring is a waste of time and advertising dollars. It is important to measure to improve and analyse what's working and what isn't.


The choice of metrics to track should naturally flow from the objectives and set KPIs for the campaign. For conversion-based campaigns, brands will do well to look beyond reach, impressions and engagement rate but focus on actual results like downloads, purchases, leads, product inquiries etc.


Though the influencer marketing industry is still at its infant stage, it is fast-growing and gaining wide acceptance amongst brands/marketing executives, consumers. Even critics agree that there is no stopping the new  kid on the block.


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Download the Influencer Compensation Report 2020 HERE

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