I Tested 7 Instagram Influencer Calculators. The Results are Surprising.
Is influencer marketing pricing as easy as simply finding your influencer and using an Instagram influencer calculator to calculate how much you should pay them?
If only influencer marketing was that simple!
Nobody questions the value of influencer marketing these days. After all, this successor to celebrity endorsements and user reviews has a proven track record for great ROI in influencer marketing. However, the fact still remains that it is difficult to know how much you should pay an influencer. Like so many other professional services, influencer rates vary widely even for similar campaigns.
In response to this problem, there are several approaches to pricing that have emerged. One of them, of course, is paying the influencer’s fee. However, this only works well with influencers that are well established enough to have fixed prices for services. Giving away product is a similar approach for beginning influencers. However, both of these approaches are often inappropriate for embarking on an influencer campaign.
For a more scientific approach, many people suggest an Instagram post price of $100 for every 10,000 followers. I talk about this in my book and why the approach may not be appropriate. There are other simple models, as well.
The latest innovation in influencer pricing is the development of an Instagram influencer calculator. Nowadays, there are at least seven of them that I discovered, and I am sure there are many more that take relevant components into account, such as an influencer’s follower count, general influencer rates, and whether or not the influencer in question has an engaged audience.
As you will see, as is true with the cost of hiring an influencer, each calculator comes to different conclusions regarding how much you should pay for an influencer post or overall campaign.
The Background for a Need for an Instagram Influencer Calculator
First of all, why do we need an Instagram influencer calculator (or even more than one)? Simply put, brands are paying more money for influencer marketing than ever before. In fact, right now influencer marketing has been the fastest growing online customer acquisition strategy. With this explosion in growth, there are cost control issues. Who wants to pay too much for influencer marketing? Or worse, drive off potential influencers by being cheapskates? As a result, there are a lot of ways that brands compensate influencers and content creators in order to keep their business and marketing practices thriving without sacrificing their budgets.
Affiliate link or promo code-based commissions
Brands that want to compensate almost exclusively based on results will pay influencers using special links or codes. When an audience clicks through the affiliate link and makes a purchase, the influencer gets a commission. Arguably, this is the OG of influencer compensation. For promo codes, the influencer will share it in the post. As people make purchases using that promo code, the influencer gets a cut.
These commission-based approaches are useful because they avoid the problem of paying an influencer and not getting results. However, this doesn’t work well for brand awareness or public relations campaigns where sales aren’t a good goal. Using an Instagram influencer calculator can be tempting in these situations, because they take the number of followers and some other factors into account.
This one is the easiest way to compensate influencers, in that their services are another invoice paid out of your budget. Typically, you’ll either pay the influencer per post or campaign, with no further compensation. When we talk about paying based on the number of followers, this is usually the payment approach used. Keep in mind, tiny fixed price payments are the best way to come off as a cheapskate to content creators.
Often, influencers who are just starting to monetize will do an Instagram post for free or cheap stuff. This is really common in the beauty industry, as well as sports equipment. The advantage of this approach is that it gives the influencer a way to work with your product or experience your service at no risk to them. In addition, it helps them with content creation.
Increasingly, the FTC is suggesting that influencers only endorse things that they’ve tried. If you make an influencer pay for their own product (sometimes useful for fashion, where individual fit is an issue), you’ll need to build this into the price you pay, and will need to factor it into whatever money calculator tool you use.
Calculating the Cost of Instagram Influencers: Factors to Consider
No matter what kind of influencer marketing campaign you want to run, there are several factors to consider when pricing influencer services. This is because no campaign, and no influencer, is the same. Here are some variables to consider, which may or may not be accounted for with an Instagram influencer calculator.
Quality of content produced
While it’s a given that you want to choose an excellent photographer for Instagram campaigns, not all snapshots are created equal. For instance, some influencers might prefer to use filters and a lot of photo editing, while others publish pictures closer to their natural state. These stylistic choices can make a big difference in the price of a campaign due to the amount of work required and even the audience the piece of content is likely to bring in.
Size of an influencer’s following
This one’s easy to quantify, because you can look over their profiles. While you’ll want to make sure an influencer isn’t using a lot of fake followers, profiles tell you a lot about the person. The more genuine followers, the more potential eyeballs. So, similarly to the circulation numbers of a periodical, you’ll want to consider follower numbers–and learn how to identify fake followers.
Length/type of campaign
It costs more money to have an Instagram story made than to have a single frame posted. Likewise, if you’ll have this person post over a period of time, you’ll need to pay accordingly. The type of post can also play a role in determining how much you should pay.
Admittedly, this one can be harder to judge. However, you can measure effectiveness based on engagement numbers. Alternatively, an influencer might have stats available that can tell you how well he or she sells things. If an influencer was found using a platform or agency, there may be some reviews or client feedback available. Past experiences can also be helpful here, too.
Using an Instagram influencer calculator
Of course, all of the methods described above are subjective, with the exception of commission-based compensation. Even there, you have to determine a rate. Between this subjectivity and a flat per-thousand-followers approach stands the Instagram influencer calculator. Let’s take a look at the top 7 of them using the results for my own Instagram tag (@NealSchaffer).
1. Influencer Marketing Hub
For this calculator, Influencer Marketing Hub measures three basic things: how many followers I have, the engagement rate, and my average “likes” per post. They also make a note of what my followers are interested in, which includes food, beauty, and photography. Given that we’re talking about Instagram, this seems like a pretty generic set of interests. However, I admit that I talk about food quite a bit, and that I love to post travel pictures. While I do mention my book and professional services, they’re kind of secondary. Here’s what they got for my profile:
In addition to these statistics, you will see a recommended price for a post. This Instagram influencer calculator is recommending you pay me between $92.25 and $153.75 per post. Keep in mind that a Story or series of posts would be more expensive. You should also note that there is a more advanced influencer report available, but you’ll have to sign into a third-party service.
This one’s a freemium tool: they give you a snapshot of your potential fee, but offer the option of subscribing to get a full report. As with most other Instagram influencer calculator offerings, they look at my engagement rate and number of followers to get an estimated price.
Here, they have my engagement rate a bit lower than some of the other calculators. In addition, they don’t have a range of prices. Apparently, I should charge exactly $163. One wonders if the premium report would offer more pricing information.
Klear is a leading influencer marketing platform that has a lot of technology and history in the influencer marketing space, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that they had an accessible Instagram rate calculator that did not ask for an email address to see the result. Here is what it said for my Instagram account:
As you can see here, compared to the other calculators, the rates here are on the high side. Furthermore, while different rates were given for Videos and Stories, they somehow didn’t include a rate for Reels. They do include their “KlearScore” Klout-like (remember them?) way of scoring the true influence of creators, so that is an additional benefit and point of comparison when using this tool.
inBeat is an influencer search tool who also provide an Instagram cost calculator. The UI is clean, and they are unique at providing you more details about each influencer, such as their reach progression and performance of latest posts. They are also unique in providing cost estimations for Stories and Reels on top of Posts. Here’s my screenshot for comparisons sake:
Knowing the price differences between Posts, Stories and Reels can be helpful, and the easy-to-understand user interface gets a thumbs up as well. I also appreciate that they provided a pricing range, albeit I found it to be a little on the narrow side. Nevertheless, definitely one of the better options in this list.
For this Instagram influencer calculator, you can measure the expected fee for creator and business accounts. Unlike the last calculator, you can include potential pricing for a Story or multiple posts, in addition to the per-post price. This allows for significantly more flexibility, but it still doesn’t consider any pricing model besides cash per unit of content. Because of the flexibility, I took more than one screen shot. The first one assumes I’m only making one post and no Stories.
The first thing I want you to notice is the amount of data that this Instagram influencer calculator is showing. Not only does it measure my followers and engagement rate, but it compares the engagement with a benchmark. You can see that my engagement rate is a little low. However, it also talks about “estimated reach,” impressions, and total posts. My estimated price is much higher than the last one: between $282 and $340 for a single post.
If you were to use this Instagram influencer calculator for a multi-post engagement, they are roughly doubling my single-post fee. In fact, the suggested range is $563-681. This is a recognition of the fact that, other than the administrative work of dealing with a client, I will do roughly double the work for two frames as I did for one. In other words, they aren’t reducing the price for the fact they’ll get double the impressions with the same number of potential eyeballs.
6. Influencer Bay
Like at least one of the other Instagram influencer calculators, this one’s geared towards the influencers. In fact, it is part of a blog post written back in 2017. Here goes:
Here, you’ll see a different set of statistics than some of the others. For instance, this is the first time I’ve seen a calculator mention how many people I’m following. They’re also telling me how often I post on Instagram. With this in mind, my suggested fee is between $81 and $140 per post. The lowest so far.
HypeAuditor is a robust tool that is designed to help you manage your social media marketing campaigns, with a special focus on influencers and corresponding marketing campaigns. HypeAuditor allows you to track your spending, evaluate your campaign performance, and vet your incoming influencers all through a single program. HypeAuditor’s name is apt, as it does allow you to generate excitement and joy regarding the creation and implementation of new marketing campaigns.
Like most other offerings, HypeAuditor focuses on followers and engagement rates to determine how viable I am as a prospective campaign partner, though exact suggestions are not given. In order to receive reports, you are required to set up an account, though the site suggests you may do this for free (at least initially).
How Much Should You Pay an Instagram Influencer?
Here’s the bottom line. Depending on the Instagram influencer calculator, I got estimates ranging from just over $81 per post all the way to $386. If you use the flat rate of $100 per 10,000 influencers, you’d pay me around $150 per post. This is why influencer marketing prices vary so wildly, and why you should consider rates on an individual basis.
While Instagram influencer calculators will provide you an arbitrary result, they are based on some of the same black-box methodology that the influencer marketing industry is moving away from. At the end of the day, you will need to determine your own pricing on an individual, influencer-by-influencer basis through experience. Until you get there, use not one but multiple Instagram influencer calculators mentioned above to give you a range of pricing to consider.
What do you think – did the spread in pricing surprise you? Was what you expected? Let me know in the comments below!
Herp photo by Amol Tyagi on Unsplash
Instagram Influencer Calculators FAQs
An influencer’s rate is determined by several factors such as the size of influencer’s followers, length of the campaign, quality of the content, and influencer’s performance. Some brands/companies also look at the engagement rate or statistics that show influencer’s effectiveness. Moreover, there are also different ways of compensating an influencer like a flat-rate, commission-based, or giving a free product.
It is impossible to give a specific number of how much an Instagram influencer with 500k followers makes as it varies and calculated by variables. However, a typical approach is a flat rate per thousand followers while others do a commission-based campaign. If you want to get an idea on how much to pay an influencer, you can use Instagram calculators available online that will help you determine an influencer’s rate based on his following and other factors.
On average, a good engagement rate for an Instagram influencer is between 2% to 3%. If you want to know an influencer’s engagement rate on Instagram, simply divide the average number of likes and comments on a post by the number of followers, then multiply it by 100 to determine the percentage. To know more about maximizing engagement rate, check this blog on the best time to post on Instagram for maximum engagement.
The amount of money you can earn with 100k followers doesn’t necessarily depend on your follower count. It depends on how actively you get clients and jump on ideas on how to make money on Instagram. There are different ways on making your account profitable through affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, and others. But to give you an idea of the average charge, a survey showed around 42% of influencers charge $200 to $400 per post.
Getting the right influencer for your brand campaign can be tough as there are lots of influencers you can now find on the platform. However, the key to picking an Instagram influencer is making sure that his/her audience is your target audience. Hence, the influencer’s stance and niche should match your brand’s voice. In addition, it is critical to know beforehand if his/her Instagram account has fake followers or not.