What was once a humble social media network has now fully blossomed into one of the Internet’s most profitable platforms. Among millennials and older entrepreneurs alike; plenty mull over the pressing question: how much money can you make on Instagram?

Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast answer. Instagram profits can radically vary among differing industries, professions, and the channels you choose to make money from.

Factors such as follower count, image, and online influence also come into play.

Below, we dissect the most common ways of making money of Instagram; and your potential earnings for each.

The Rise of Influencers

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of things, it firstly helps to understand what an “influencer” is.

A brand-new term (and career path) birthed for the digital age; influencers are online figures with a large, loyal following. These people are thus highly influential in their niche, making them an attractive marketing channel for brands.

Instagram influencer (@vickyjustiz)

Courtesy of vickyjustiz (Instagram account).

Influencers commonly partner up with companies to promote their goods and services. These promotions take place on their Instagram feed as regular posts (or as a Story) – often in the form of tutorials, reviews, or simple shout-outs.

The influencer’s followers are then convinced to buy the product or service, and followers of the brand get the influencer on their radar. The partnering company earns sales, the influencer gains more followers – and everybody wins.

It’s an effective form of social media marketing, with 80% of the world’s marketers can vouch for its benefits. Rather than promoting products through a cold, corporate presence; companies can rely on actual people with a dedicated fanbase.

Influencer post (@vickyjustiz)

Courtesy of vickyjustiz (Instagram account).

Statistics show that consumers are more likely to buy a product when recommended by someone they know and trust – so they’re on the right track. The industry is currently worth $500 million, with potential to reach $10 billion by 2020.

On top of that, U.S.-based marketers are spending 69% of their influencer budgets on Instagram; so if you’re aspiring to make money through online influence – look no further!

What Does 2020 Hold for Influencers?

According to a recent Linqia report, influencer expenses are a marketing priority for most. In survey of digital marketers and their annual influencer marketing budget; 39% plan to increase their funds.

The majority of marketers also intend to spend anywhere between $25,000 to $100,000 on influencers.

According to Medium, Instagram will likely remain the primary influencer platform, with more emphasis placed on “micro” and “nano” influencers (more on these types later).

How Much Money Can You Make on Instagram – Brand Deals and Sponsorships

So, when you manage to score a brand partnership – how much money can you make on Instagram?

As mentioned, the numbers vary from one brand/influencer to another. These can depend on multiple factors, including a company’s budget, your follower count, and your specific niche.

Generally speaking, as an influencer – you’re responsible for setting your prices. The challenge is charging at a fair marketing cost, and here’s where research will come in handy.

Sleeveless man using smartphone

According to Later‘s findings, most digital marketers are willing to pay their influencers one cent per follower – or $100 per 10,000 followers, per post. 

(Of course, you should take other factors into consideration; these including company budget, campaign length, your engagement rate, travel costs, and other ingredients to creating that perfect post.)

In his interview with Later, influencer Matt Crump shares the varying costs of influencer marketing. Those with 5,000 to 10,000 followers can earn anywhere between $100 – $500, with the highest bracket (users with one million followers and above) earning $10,000 per post. 

Matt Crump - influencer marketing costs

Courtesy of Later.

These are helpful numbers to get started; though one must examine their specific Instagram situation and the appropriate rates that meet their needs.

How Do You Get Brand Partnerships?

So how does one partner up with a brand in the first place?

If you’re serious about becoming an Instagram influencer – your very first step is defining a suitable niche. Preferably, you’d choose one you’re already an expert in; one that you already have passion for. This way, people can trust you as a knowledgeable figure in your industry, and even learn from your content – adding to your online influence.

Influencer post (@zoesugg)

Courtesy of zoesugg (Instagram account).

Once you’ve decided on your niche, it’s time to establish your aesthetic. The overall theme and look of your feed plays a huge role in defining your brand. Decide on a consistent, unique visual style for your posts; this helps in distinguishing you from the rest in your field.

@zoesugg Instagram feed

Courtesy of zoesugg (Instagram account).

When you’ve got those down, take the time to grow your audience. There are plenty of marketing methods to go about this; including optimizing your hashtags, interacting with others’ posts, and posting consistently and at optimum times. The more followers you have, the more influence you display – making you a more attractive prospect for companies.

Finally, network. Get your favorite brands’ attention by tagging them in your posts, commenting on their content, and even dropping them a private message.

Pitching Paid Sponsorships

It’s a common strategy among influencers to approach brands first – rather than waiting for an opportunity.

When hitting up a company’s DMs, it helps to stay authentic and avoid any spammy, copy-and-paste message templates. Instead, let them know of the value you can offer them, with examples of past collaborations if available.

Person using Instagram direct on tablet

Those starting out may also benefit out of pitching to smaller brands, rather than jumping straight into the inbox of your dream business. These guys may have smaller budgets, but are generally more open to working with influencers, and are great to have on your portfolio.

Content Type Matters

While we’ve explored the standard rates for a typical Instagram post – influencer rates can also vary depending on the type of content you’re after.

According to the blog, Klear, video posts are the most expensive form of marketing content, with costs starting at around $114 per post. Those in the higher audience bracket with 30,000 to 500,000 followers can hear upwards of $775 per video post.

Klear blog - influencer rates

Courtesy of Klear blog.

Stories tend to be the least expensive, though are steadily growing in popularity. Currently, those with 5,000 followers or less charge an average of $43 per story, with those in the higher bracket charging anywhere between $210 to $721.

Finally, for standard uploads you have costs ranging from an average low of $100 per post, with the highest-earning bracket charging $2,085 per post. 

Of course, your industry may play a key factor, as well.

Travel influencers, for example, may be compensated at larger overall rate than beauty influencers who are simply paid to promote a brand’s products.

Instagram travel influencer (@taramilktea)

Courtesy of taramilktea (Instagram account).

This is because getaways would typically come at a steep price for the influencer; allowing them to charge at a much higher rate. Some of the highest-paid online travellers earn up to $31,000 per post – adding up to $1.6 million in a year. And that’s if they upload a mere one post per week. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that some brands may compensate their influencers in other ways. Hotels may offer a free booking as part of their “payment”, or beauty and lifestyle influencers may receive free products in exchange for promotional posts.

How Much Money Can You Make as a Top Influencer?

Of course, the higher your follower count, the more influence you have, and the more money you get to make.

“Celebrity” influencers are Instagram users who typically have an audience of 500,000 or more. As such, they’re able to score sponsored posts charged upwards of $5,000 per post – with plenty rocking four zeros.

Celebrity influencers (@selenagomez)

Courtesy of selenagomez (Instagram account).

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, below are the top 10 highest-paid influencers on Instagram’s platform – last updated on October 28th, 2019.

  1. Kylie Jenner – has a current follower count of 154 million, and paid a whopping $1.26 million per post.
  2. Ariana Grande –  has a current follower count of 169 million, and paid about $990,000 per post.
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo – has a current follower count of 194 million, and paid about $970,000 per post.
  4.  Kim Kardashian West – has a current follower count of 155 million, and paid about $910,000 per post.
  5. Selena Gomez – has a current follower count of 164 million, and paid about $880,000 per post.
  6. Dwayne Johnson – has a current follower count of 165 million, and paid about $880,000 per post.
  7. Beyonce Knowles – has a current follower count of 136 million, and paid about $780,000 per post.
  8. Taylor Swift – has a current follower count of 124 million, and paid about $740,000 per post.
  9. Neymar da Silva – has a current follower count of 130 million, and paid about $720,000 per post.
  10. Justin Bieber – has a current follower count of 123 million, and paid about $720,000 per post.

Evidently, these guys have had the advantage of being celebrities prior to Instagram. But these numbers go to show just how lucrative influencer marketing can be; along with variations in earnings despite having less or more followers than the other.

What are Micro-Influencers?

Making that Instagram coin isn’t exclusive to top-tier or “celebrity” influencers; the past two years have also seen the rise of another thriving sub-industry: micro-influencers. 

Micro-influencers are users with a follower count as low as 3,000 followers. Typically, these users sport an audience of less than 100,000. These guys were a key marketing strategy for businesses in 2018, with 84% of sponsored posts uploaded by micro-influencers worldwide.

Microinfluencers (@thebrothersbuoy)

Courtesy of thebrothersbuoy (Instagram account).

But why would companies want to partner with these users?

Statistics show that micro-influencers – while having an overall smaller following – tend to have higher engagement rates than their celebrity counterparts. They also have the advantage of marketing to a much more targeted niche.

In fact, findings by Neoreach showed that the larger an influencer is, the lower their ROI may be. Those with audiences of 50,000 to 250,000 have reported to deliver 30% greater ROI per dollar spent than than top-tier influencers; and 20% greater than “celebrity” influencers with over a million followers.

Microinfluencers (@samanthakozuch)

Courtesy of samanthakozuch (Instagram account).

Though they often charge at lower costs, their ability to market to a small, yet dedicated audience makes them a valuable investment for businesses. According to Klear statistics, micro-influencers charge their posts at an average of $172 each, videos at an average of $219 each, and Stories at an average of $73 each.

How Much Money Can You Make on Instagram – Selling Goods and Services

Of course, you don’t need to become a typical influencer to make money off Instagram.

Plenty of brands use Instagram as a visual marketing platform to promote their own goods and services, with links directing viewers to their official website or online store.

These links are typically left on their profile bio, often with an eye-catching CTA.

CTA bio link (@dangerfieldclothing)

Courtesy of dangerfieldclothing (Instagram account).

Products are commonly marketed and discussed as standard feed posts, usually with an overview of its key features and a high-quality photo. The caption then ends with a CTA, directing viewers to their “link in bio”.

Product marketing post (@bperfectcosmetics)

Courtesy of bperfectcosmetics (Instagram account).

Using Instagram Shopping

To streamline one’s shopping experience on the platform, Instagram recently introduced their newest shopping feature; allowing eligible users to create “shoppable” posts out of their marketed products.

The tool transforms your Instagram feed into an instant storefront, letting you add “product tags” to your images. When tapped, these tags display a professional photo of your product, a description, its price, and a link that directs the user to a third-party site where they can purchase the item.

Instagram management with Shopping on Instagram

Courtesy of Engadget.

All product tags will pop up on a post when tapped, similarly to how user tags are displayed.

@welovecolorscosplay - Shopping stickers on Instagram posts

Courtesy of welovecolorscosplay (Instagram account).

These tags can also be added to one’s Stories through the appropriate sticker.

Instagram shopping tags - Stories

Courtesy of Instagram.

Having product tags also allow other users to find your product posts through the platform’s Search and Explore function. This rakes in the potential for greater sales!

The amount of money one can make on Instagram shopping can thus vary greatly; depending on how a brand prices their products to begin with. The platform essentially acts as a highly effective marketing tool – driving extra traffic to your online store.

Ready to Get that Instagram Coin?

The age of the Internet has brought with it a number of unconventional careers – with online influencers being their largest industry yet.

For those interested in heading down this challenging – yet ultimately, rewarding – career path, we’ve hopefully equipped you with some valuable starting insight into the field’s potential profits. Remember – everyone starts small, though the more you build on your collaborative portfolio, the closer you’ll get to working with brands and figures you admire most.

With the right content, personality, and determination, you may just join the ranks of the platform’s top-performing – and top-earning! – influencers.