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Influencer marketing is the new word of mouth. 92% of customers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement.

Charlotte Yorke

Charlotte Yorke
Wholehearted Social
March 18, 2022

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How Much Should Brands Pay For Influencers?

Charlotte Yorke

March 18, 2022
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

So, you’ve decided to go for it and dive into Influencer Marketing headfirst. But, how do you budget for this? And why is it important to be aware of the pay gaps within this industry? Well, when it comes to digital marketing, there’s no better way to get your brand out there than through influencers. With the unique advantage influencers provide, it’s no wonder that 71% of marketers said they reached a better audience and customers than any other marketing strategy. And who runs this social media world? Women!

That’s right - the overwhelming representation in the world of influencer marketing is that of women, which would make it a really forward-thinking and exciting industry to get into, right? Well…that’s where things become a little more tricky. We spoke recently about the Racial Bias that comes into influencer marketing, but as it was International Womens Day last week we also wanted to highlight the fact that just as in most business scenarios, women still get paid less than men, even in digital ventures.  

With no real benchmark, and a fairly new to the scene method of marketing, it’s become apparent that there is a huge disparity in pay between influencers based on their race and/or their gender. As of March 2020, 84% of all influencers are women compared to just 16% men. So, then why are female creators paid on average 30% less per post? It may be a female dominated field at the moment, but with a widening pay gap it really does run the risk of women turning away from the industry. 

What is truly worrying about this scenario is that because of the lack of industry standard in this field as of yet, it just shows how inherent and instinctive it is for brands to pay women less. And worse still, how instinctive it is to pay women of colour less. According to the MSL Report, “the racial pay gap between white and BIPOC influencers (Black, Indigenous & People of Colour) is 29%. Focus specifically on the gap between white and black influencers, and it widens to 35%.” 

Before we discuss rates of pay, let’s look at the factors that determine value when it comes to influencer marketing. Below are the main factors you want to look at when discussing rates of pay with influencers.


This is how large your audience will be and can most easily be summarised by Micro Influencers (<25k), Mid Influencers (25k-100k), and Macro Influencers (100k+)


An estimation of the probable number of people who will engage with the post. So, Influencer 1 has 10,000 followers and an engagement rate of 20%, and Influencer 2 has 50,000 followers and an engagement rate of 2%. Influencer 1 has 2,000 engaged people, and Influencer 2 would have 1,000 - so you can see that the number of followers isn’t necessarily everything!

Type of Content

The most common influencer marketing will be via Instagram. So, you would be looking at Stories, Photos, Carousels, and Videos. Remember, that if you were looking for a YouTube Video, rates would be substantially higher as Instagram videos will only be a matter of a few minutes long. 

With no real benchmark, it’s a whole new world to venture into and we’re here to guide you so that you’re not over or underpaying your influencers. Below is an easy reference we stick to inspired by @hashtagpaid.

So, how do we combat the Influencer Pay Gap?

As our Founder, Kumba Dauda, recently stated in this article,

“I would like to see in a legal sense, industry standards being set to protect influencers’ rights and ensure no one is taken advantage of, as I see it far too often in this industry.”

It is on every one of us to help bring about this change - social media agencies, brands, and influencers themselves. Through pay transparency, and a push towards legal standardisation, we could really see an industry where women, and particularly BIPOC women, thrive.

Make fair pay for influencers a non-negotiable, and your brand will be a part of the solution.

At Wholehearted, Diversity and Inclusion is at the forefront of everything we do. If you enjoyed reading this article and would like start your own influencer marketing campaign with the Wholehearted team, get in touch here.

Hire a team of digital marketers for the price of a single employee. Get in touch with us to find out how.

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