How to Determine Instagram Pricing for Influencer Marketing

Opinion: It’s easy to get lost in where to spend and how much you should be paying

There’s no standard rate card to determine price per followers or engagement
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Instagram has undoubtedly contributed to the majority of influencer marketing spend over the past few years. In fact, in 2017, Instagram influencer marketing had already become a $1 billion industry, and sources predicted that it would double by 2019. Our recent research at Activate even found that 92 percent of marketers and 88 percent of influencers reported using Instagram more often for influencer-marketing campaigns this year, proving its continuing growth.

With so much money generated on the platform and continuing product updates such as IGTV and shoppable Stories, it’s easy to get lost in where to spend and how much you should be paying.

Influencer marketing isn’t a black-and-white industry, and there’s no standard rate card to determine price per followers or engagement.

Let’s take a look at the different areas to utilize spend on Instagram, as well as the best ways to determine pricing and the factors that may influence them.

Where to spend for influencer marketing on Instagram

Each offering on Instagram has its benefits and its disadvantages for collaboration goals.

While Instagram posts—whether static or video, single or slideshow—offer authentic content and a strong storytelling component, they also have a high cost, and they can diminish in visibility quickly due to the algorithm.

Instagram Stories also provide authentic point of view and offer multiple pieces of content, but there is a limited time attached. Adding a Story swipe-up can make this a more cost-effective strategy and can increase direct traffic to a brand’s site.

Instagram polls also provide a particularly unique element, as they deliver immediate feedback from viewers.

Story Highlights are high in cost, but they’re also higher in visibility, given the fact that they stay at the top of an influencer’s profile. The same principle applies to a link-in-bio.

IGTV is the newest feature on the app, and although it does come with a high cost, the deeper and authentic storytelling power of these longer-form videos may be worth it for some brands.

The chart below provides a full overview of all of the pros and cons when it comes to each Instagram component brands can currently use for influencer marketing. It’s important to keep in mind that while you can use each of these strategies as standalone posts, bundling content for a campaign can easily provide a 10 percent to 15 percent price deduction and create a more personal and holistic campaign.

How can you estimate what an Instagram collaboration will cost?

Although there’s no straightforward answer to this question, through the thousands of influencers we work with at Activate, we’ve been able to approximate the cost of a post, taking into account a variety of determining factors.

A general rule of thumb to roughly estimate the cost of one post is by calculating $100 per 10,000 followers, but factors including content quality, engagement rates and agency fees can influence this cost. Pricing estimates are based on the additional cost of a single Instagram post:

  • Instagram post (video): With the production time and associated costs, the price can add 40 percent to 50 percent to the cost of a single post.
  • Instagram post (slideshow): It’s no surprise that posting multiple images would cost 30 percent to 40 percent more than a single image.
  • Instagram Story: The low-cost nature of a Story and the short time it takes to create one make this a cost-effective way to bundle a campaign. Expect an increase of just 10 percent to 15 percent.
  • Instagram Story with swipe-up: Paying for a swipe-up can depend on how the feature converts to sales, so the increase can fluctuate between 10 percent and 20 percent.
  • Instagram Story with poll: Despite polls’ popularity, it’s one of the most underutilized features for collaborations. Costs stay consistent with that of a regular Instagram Story.
  • Instagram Story Highlight: The prime real estate associated with Highlights can cost brands an extra 15 percent to 25 percent more than a single post.
  • Link-in-bio: As swipe-up rises in popularity, link-in-bio has fallen behind, making it one of the hardest to predict. A 24-hour link-in-bio can be 5 percent to 40 percent more than a single post.
  • IGTV: The newest feature on Instagram is still in a test phase, so naturally, fewer people are willing to invest just yet. Those who are embracing the value of long-form video can expect videos to increase to 40 percent to 50 percent more than a single post.

Aside from these specific feature estimates, there are additional factors that can really change up the pricing for collaborations.

Additional factors that establish Instagram pricing

  • Usage rights, or if the brand has rights to reuse and repurpose content, can impact the price. Any request to further distribute, amplify or repurpose content can double or even quadruple the standard post rate.
  • Whether or not the influencer can work with competitive brands (exclusivity) can impact price, as well. Depending on the timeframe for exclusivity, anything beyond one to two weeks will increase prices.
  • The amount of time you allow influencers to create the content or scope of work is a consideration. A tight turnaround may bring higher fees.
  • Relationship building is an essential part of influencer marketing, and growing brand affinity can closely impact the pricing of a collaboration. If the influencer doesn’t feel like it’s an authentic or natural fit, they may charge more or not work with you at all.

Although there are no strict rules when it comes to pricing on the most popular platform for influencer marketing, there are many ways to strategize your budget based on these variety of factors. As Instagram continues to launch new products, we’re left to wait and see how it will continue to impact pricing and monetization.

Morgan Kaye is vice president of studio and software-as-a-service strategy at influencer marketing platform Activate.