Data from our Survey of 1865 Instagram Influencers

Nick Baklanov

Marketing specialist at HypeAuditor. Connect on Linkedin.

For the first HypeAuditor 2021 Influencer Income Survey we have asked 1,865 Instagram influencers about their monthly income from their Instagram account, workflow, and main sources of income to find out how much and how creators earn right now.
In this post, you’ll learn about their top income sources, how they make money, how much they paid on average per collaboration, how they spend their time while working on Instagram accounts, and lots more.
Let’s start with some highlights.

Contents

Key Statistics and Trends
Influencers and Money
Influencers and Brand Collaboration
Influencers and Working Hours
Influencers and Coronavirus
Influencers and Instagram Fraud
Study details and method

  • 48.49% of influencers said they do earn money from their accounts. 
  • On average, influencers earn $2,970 per month with their Instagram account (micro influencers 1K-10K earn $1,420 per month, mega influencers over 1M earn $15,356 per month)
  • On average, influencers spend 24 hours per week on maintaining an account. Most of the time is devoted to posts, stories, communication with followers, least of all to team management, marketing strategy and communication with partners.
  • Influencers, who earn money from their account spent  28.7 hours per week on average, while those who do not earn any money spent 20.9 hours per week on average. 
  • The average influencer makes $31 per hour. Influencers in the Beauty category earn the most – $60 per hour. Mega influencers earn from $187 per hour (in relation to the time spent on maintaining the account)
  • Among the most popular ways to make money in addition to brand promotion (40.15%) are building a personal brand and attracting customers to your business through Instagram (21.71%), participating in affiliate programs (14.92%), selling courses (3.86%). Subscription service (Onlyfans, Discord and other) was noted as an additional source of income by 7.68% of influencers.
  • 47% said that after the start of Covid they began to earn more
  • 25.78% said that in the future they will be able to live on income from an Instagram account, and 4.27% of respondents already live on income from an account (on average, these influencers receive from $5912 from their account per month)
  • 21% of influencers work with brands through barter, 23% for money and 56% for barter and money
  • 61% make ad disclosure when they make advertisement post with Brand mention, 12% don’t
  • 47% of influencers impacted by fraudulent activity
  • 49.68% see more fraudulent activity now

Influencers and Money

influencers that earn money

51.51% of influencers from the survey said that they do not earn money from their accounts, 48.49% said they do earn money from their accounts. 
The more followers influencers have, the more likely they are to make money with their Instagram account.
So, among accounts from 1К to 10К followers, only 22.99% earn money on their Instagram, and among accounts from 500K to 1M, 68.75% are already earning money on their Instagram account.

how much instagram influencers earn

On average, surveyed influencers of all tiers and all categories make $2,970 per month from their Instagram account. Influencers earn the most in the Animals, Business & Marketing, Fitness & Sports categories.

Influencers in the Travel niche earn the least money, this may be due to the general decline in the tourism industry due to Covid restrictions.

how much instagram influencers earn by account size

The more followers an Instagram account has, the more the influencer earns. For example, Micro-influencers (1K-10K) earn on average $1,420 per month through their Instagram account, and Mega-influencers (over 1M) earn from $15,356 per month.

It is important to understand that this figure includes not only brand promotion rewards, but also building a personal brand and attracting customers to business through Instagram, participating in affiliate programs, selling courses, earning money through subscription services (Onlyfans, Discord and other)

Expert opinion:

jason falls

Jason Falls, industry expert, author and host of the Winfluence

The disparity in earnings from those with over 1 million followers and those beneath that level doesn’t surprise me, but it does concern me. I feel like the huge jump in average income data being out there is only going to encourage more fraudulent behavior from those under the 1 million follower mark. But if that’s the magic number to cross over into making career-changing revenue from just your Instagram account, some content creators are going to game the system to get to that level.

gordon glenister

Gordon Glenister, author of influencer marketing strategy and host of Influence

The table suggests the real income is still being made by the larger influencers.These influencers are becoming brands in their own right and are attracting not just brand promotions but licensing deals, joint ventures, membership programmes, personal appearances and more. During the Pandemic, influencers explored different revenue streams when some of the brand deals dried up.

what are the main sources of income for instagram influencers

Brand promotion remains the main source of income for influencers, with 40.15% of respondents citing it.
21.71% of influencers said that Instagram helps them develop their personal brand and due to this I attract clients to their business.
14.92% of influencers promote affiliate programs using their accounts.
5.12% sell online courses.
3.86% make money with subscription services such as Patreon, Onlifance, etc.
6.05% said that they make money using Instagram in a different way.

For example:

  • Rebrand other companies and peoples accounts
  • “””pay what you can”” donations”
  • Some pages give me clothes for use
  • I sell art and handmade products to my followers and stores.
  • Sponsorship (fixed monthly fees)
  • Coaching and consulting
  • Book reviewing
  • Selling items on Mercari, a buy and sell app.
  • Working as mountain guide
  • Selling handmade products
  • Photographers find me on Instagram for private photoshoots
  • I consult other brands and help them grow their online presence through Digital marketing services
  • Print and commission sales
  • Drive traffic to YouTube and Facebook where I’m monetized
  • Sell my own products & create content for partnered brands
  • LIKEtoKNOW.it
  • Amazon product
  • IG attracts new patients to my practice, that is how I get paid
  • I wish I could monetise easier – It’s really hard but I want to!
  • Teach in person workshops, consult
  • Long term partnerships + side job
  • Teespring
  • Ambassador Programm
  • Attracting people on my other platforms which give me revenue
  • My Instagram is largely a support for my blog where I earn most of my income.
  • Long term collab

Expert opinion:

Alessandro Bogliari, CEO & Co-Founder of The Influencer Marketing Factory

“Influencers and creators are showing that nowadays the creator economy is changing how influencers can make money and that it is starting to open up new revenue streams and more opportunities for content creators. Even though brand deals are still the main income for the majority of influencers, there is now a shift in the perception of a creator from a mere promotional person for third-party companies to entrepreneurs that can create their own brand and diversify their ways to make money. The creator economy is just at the beginning, but it has a huge potential.”

income of instagram influencers

25.78% of influencers answered that over time they will be able to live on income from their Instagram account.
4.27% said they already live on the income from their Instagram account.
People who said that they are already living on the income from Instagram account earn $5912.8 per month on average. 

Influencers and Brand Collaboration

instagram influencers brand collaboration

77% of influencers often collaborate with Brands on a barter basis.

ad disclosure for instagram influencers

61% of influencers do ad disclosures when working with brands.

39% of influencers don’t or do it occasionally.

influencers working with brands

Most influencers work with 1-3 brands at once (68.08%)

how much are instagram influencers paid per post

The more subscribers an influencer has, the more money they are paid for a post.

70.70% of Micro-influencers (1K-10K) reported that they receive less than $100 per post on average, while 46.10% of Mega-influencers (Over 1M) receive between $1000 and $ 2000 per post on average.
Interestingly, among all the tiers of influencers, there are influencers who make more than $2,000 per post.
The cost of a post depends on many factors depending on several factors like production complexity, hours needed to produce, and assistant work.
Also, the price of a post depends on the influencer. If the influencer produces unique content and is a recognized expert in a narrow niche, then the cost of his post can be significantly higher than the average market price.

Influencers and Working Hours

On average, influencers spend 24 hours per week on maintaining an account. Most of the time is devoted to posts, stories, communication with followers, least of all to team management, marketing strategy and communication with partners.

Influencers, who earn money from their account spent  28.7 hours per week on average, while those who do not earn any money spent 20.9 hours per week on average. 

Influencers who earn money and non-earning influencers both spend most time making Posts, Stories and Communicating with followers.

What earning influencers do differently – they pay much more attention to their Marketing Strategy and Communication with partners.

Influencers and Coronavirus

instagram influencers income since Coronavirus

47% of influencers said they started earning more after the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

According to last Influencer Marketing Hub research 63% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2021.

Brands have begun to redirect more money into influencer marketing, so it is logical that influencers have started to earn more.

But at the same time, there are some influencers, such as travel influencers, who have suffered from the pandemic. They could no longer travel and produce content due to restrictions, and Hotels and Travel Brands have paused collaborations.

Expert Opinion:

Qianna Smith Bruneteau

Qianna Smith Bruneteau, Founder, American Influencer Council

“The creator-to-consumer (C2C) relationship in our current COVID-environment has been greatly strengthened. Consumers who follow influencers turn to them to learn about new products and brands. Many consumers are researching a product, experience, or service after they see an influencer endorsing it. The desire to upgrade your lifestyle due to COVID-times is unprecedented, and the vaccine is fueling renewed consumer spend.” 

Gordon Glenister

Gordon Glenister, author of influencer marketing strategy and host of Influence global podcast

Whilst in the first part of the Pandemic in Q2 and Q3, a lot of brands did put the brakes on spending budgets, the subsequent quarters and early part of 2021 came back with vigour and many now report increased spending. As we move out of lockdown, there is a lot of pent up demand so we will start to see a lot of economies around the world bounce back. Influencers have seen record levels of engagement over the Pandemic as consumers wanted to be entertained, kept fit, inspired, try new hobbies, and discover more online 

Influencers and Instagram Fraud

instagram fraudulent activity

47% of Instagram influencers said that they are impacted by fraudulent activity on Instagram (bots, fake followers, spam comments.)

Instagram fraudulent activity

49.68% of influencers says that they see more fraudulent activity since the start of the pandemic.

Expert opinion:

jason falls

Jason Falls, industry expert, author and host of the Winfluence

The fact that almost half of those surveyed say they see more fraudulent activity since the start of the pandemic just underlines the need for us to continue to build better detection algorithms and continue to find ways to weed out those who cheat. 

I applaud HypeAuditor for continuing to share new data around influencers and influencer fraud. Having these data points to point to in the conversation only helps us one day get to a point where fraud is no longer a dominant problem in the industry.

Gordom Glenister

Gordon Glenister, author of influencer marketing strategy and host of Influence global podcast

“I too am concerned to see the large percentage of more fraudulent activity. We must do more as an industry to eradicate this and this is why the trade organisations like the BCMA and others need to promote best practice. We have to encourage brands and agencies to use proper tools to investigate fake followers. It damages the reputation of those that have controlled and managed their follower base. I would like to see companies that sell followers blacklisted by the industry.”

Study Detail and Method

We conducted this study as an online survey in June 2021 and received responses from 1,865 people who self-identified as influencers and have Instagram accounts with over than 1K followers (verified by HypeAuditor) — the majority of whom were U.S.-based. 

 Among those surveyed 45.74% were women and 33.19% were men. Responses from influencers in the 25-34 age category made up 28% of the results followed by the 18-24 age category with 23%.  Influencers with 1K to 10K followers made up 50% of the results and influencers with 10K to 50K followers made up 32% of the results. Lifestyle influencers were the most popular surveyed coming in at 23.49%, followed by fashion with 11.85%.

About HypeAuditor:

HypeAuditor provides a comprehensive set of tools for brands to discover and analyze influencers on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitch and Twitter, verify their authenticity, and track the results of influencer marketing campaigns. HypeAuditor’s mission is to provide the ultimate analytical services to ensure that brands and agencies work effectively with creators.

Founded in 2018, HypeAuditor is a leader in AI-powered analytics for transparent and fraud-free influencer marketing. HypeAuditor applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine behavioral patterns, identifying fake followers, and ascertaining engagement on influencer accounts and sponsored posts. The HypeAuditor platform has more than 500,000 users, and key customers include Dior, GroupM, Influence4You, L’Oréal, Ogilvy, TAKUMI, Traackr, and Unilever. To learn more, visit HypeAuditor.com.

Author: Nick Baklanov
Methodologist: Gleb Alekseev

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