Feb 10, 2024

What Should Brands Pay Influencers? – Full Guide, Tips, FAQs & More

What Should Brands Pay Influencers

Determining fair compensation for influencers is crucial for brands navigating the ever-expanding realm of influencer marketing. Factors such as audience size, engagement rates, and content quality play pivotal roles in the equation. 

Striking a balance between budget constraints and the value derived from influencer partnerships is essential for maximizing ROI in this dynamic digital landscape.

This article provides details into the factors you must consider when deciding how much to pay influencers as well as how to choose the right payment model for your brand. Lastly, we answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding payment methods.

What Should Brands Pay Influencers

Factors to Consider When Deciding How Much to Pay Influencers

When brands decide how much to pay an influencer, several critical factors must be considered to ensure a fair and effective collaboration. Each factor plays a unique role in determining the payment rate, influenced by market standards, the specific goals of the campaign, and the influencer’s capacity to deliver on those goals. JoinBrands can help you gauge these factors to come up with a rough estimate of how much to pay influencers.

Audience Size

The number of followers or subscribers an influencer has is a fundamental factor. A larger audience means greater reach, making influencers with more followers typically command higher rates. However, it’s not just about the size but the quality and engagement rate of the audience. Brands often look at how this audience matches their target demographic to gauge the potential return on investment (ROI). Payment rates can be influenced by industry benchmarks, where influencers are categorized into nano, micro, macro, and mega, each with its range of payment expectations.

Engagement Rate

This measures how actively involved the influencer’s audience is with their content. High engagement rates suggest that the audience values the influencer’s content, indicating a higher likelihood of campaign success. Brands may pay more for influencers with high engagement rates, even if their audience size is smaller, because their endorsements may be seen as more authentic and impactful. Comparing engagement rates across similar influencers can help brands estimate a fair payment rate.

Content Quality and Production Costs

The effort and resources required to create content can also affect payment. High-quality, professional content that requires significant time, equipment, or outsourced services to produce may justify higher rates. Brands can assess this by comparing the influencer’s content with others in the same niche and considering the production value in their payment decisions.


Different social media platforms have varying average engagement rates, audience demographics, and content formats, all of which can influence payment. For example, video content on YouTube or TikTok might command different rates than Instagram posts due to differences in production effort and audience engagement patterns. Brands should consider platform-specific data and norms when determining payment.

Niche Expertise

Influencers specializing in specific niches may have a more dedicated and engaged audience, making them more valuable to brands within that niche. Payment rates can vary significantly across niches due to differences in audience size, engagement, and content production costs. Brands should evaluate the influencer’s authority and influence within their niche to determine appropriate compensation.

Exclusivity and Contract Terms

If a brand requires exclusivity (preventing the influencer from collaborating with competitors), this can limit the influencer’s earning potential and thus may require higher compensation. The duration of the campaign and the rights to the content produced can also affect payment. Longer-term commitments or rights to use the content in other marketing materials may increase the rate.

Campaign Complexity

The specific demands of a campaign, such as the number of posts, the platforms used, and any specific messaging or branding guidelines, can affect how much work the influencer needs to put in. More complex campaigns with higher demands on the influencer’s time and creativity often lead to higher payment rates.

Market Rates and Brand Budget

Ultimately, payment rates are also influenced by what other brands are willing to pay for similar influencer partnerships and the brand’s own budget constraints. Brands should research market rates for influencers with similar audience sizes and engagement levels in their industry to ensure competitive but fair compensation.

To summarize these factors and their impact on payment rates, a table can be constructed:

FactorImportanceInfluence on Payment Rate
Audience SizeDetermines reach; larger audiences command higher rates.Directly proportional; influenced by market norms.
Engagement RateIndicates audience interest and interaction; higher rates suggest more effective endorsements.Higher engagement can justify higher payments.
Content QualityReflects production effort and professionalism; affects audience perception.Higher quality often leads to higher rates.
PlatformInfluences engagement patterns and content format; varies by platform.Rates vary by platform norms and effectiveness.
Niche ExpertiseSpecialization can lead to a more engaged audience; valuable in relevant industries.Higher for niche experts; varies by demand.
Exclusivity & TermsLimits influencer’s opportunities; affects campaign restrictions.Higher for exclusive or complex terms.
Campaign ComplexityMore demands increase workload; affects effort required.More complex campaigns often command higher rates.
Market Rates & BudgetInfluenced by what others pay and what a brand can afford; ensures competitiveness and fairness.Based on industry benchmarks and brand capabilities.

Now that we know the different factors that determine influencer payment brands, let’s discuss how much they should be paid based on influencer type. 

Payment By Influencer Type 

This table provides information on how much influencers should be paid based on influencer type: 

Influencer TypeFollower CountAverage Payment Range per Post
Nano1k – 10k$10 – $100
Micro10k – 50k$100 – $500
Mid-Tier50k – 500k$500 – $5,000
Macro500k – 1M$5,000 – $10,000

This table is a generalized guide. Actual payments can vary based on the combination of factors mentioned earlier. You should conduct thorough research and consider the overall value an influencer can bring to their campaign beyond just follower counts.

Payment by Platform 

When deciding how much to pay influencers based on their platform, brands must consider several factors that influence the payment rates. These factors are vital because each social media platform has its own audience demographics, engagement rates, and content formats, which directly impact an influencer’s value to a brand. Understanding these nuances helps brands allocate their marketing budgets more effectively and ensures a good return on investment (ROI) from influencer partnerships.

Audience Size and Engagement Rate

Influencers on platforms with higher engagement rates can command higher fees. Engagement rate is a measure of how actively involved the audience is with the influencer’s content. It’s not just about the number of followers; it’s about how many of those followers interact with the content through likes, comments, and shares. This factor is crucial because a highly engaged audience is more likely to be influenced, making the influencer more valuable to brands.

Content Type and Production Costs

Different platforms require different types of content, which can vary in production cost. For instance, video content on YouTube or TikTok might require more effort and resources to produce compared to Instagram posts or tweets on Twitter. Therefore, influencers on platforms requiring higher production costs may charge more.

Platform-Specific Demographics

Each platform tends to attract certain demographics more than others. Brands looking to target a specific audience might be willing to pay more for influencers on platforms where their target demographic is most active.

Market Rate and Competition

Understanding what other brands are paying for similar influencer partnerships on the same platform can help in negotiating rates. Market rates can vary widely by platform due to differences in audience size, content type, and overall influencer impact.

To gauge how much to pay based on platform, brands can research average payment rates for influencers on that platform, consider the specific campaign goals and how well the influencer’s audience aligns with those goals, and evaluate the influencer’s past performance metrics.

Below is a simplified table depicting how payment rates might vary by platform, considering the factors mentioned. It’s important to note that these figures are illustrative and actual rates can vary significantly based on the specific circumstances of each influencer partnership.

PlatformAverage Payment Range per Post/Campaign
Instagram$100 – $10,000+
YouTube$500 – $20,000+
TikTok$200 – $15,000+
Twitter$50 – $2,000+
Facebook$100 – $5,000+
LinkedIn$200 – $3,000+

How to Choose the Right Payment Model for Your Brand

Performance-based Pay

What and How: Performance-based pay ties compensation to specific metrics, such as sales, clicks, or conversions generated from the influencer’s content. Brands track these metrics through affiliate links or promo codes. 

Why Brands Opt For It: This model is attractive to brands because it directly links payment to campaign results, minimizing risk. 

When to Use: It’s best used when a brand seeks a direct ROI on their influencer marketing spend, especially for sales-driven campaigns. 

What to do if Influencers Push Back: If influencers resist, brands can offer higher commission rates or establish a minimum guarantee to make the opportunity more appealing.


What and How: Pay-per-post involves a fixed fee for each piece of content an influencer publishes. The fee is agreed upon before the content goes live. 

Why Brands Opt For It: This model is straightforward and easy to budget for, making it popular among brands for its predictability. 

When to Use: Ideal for brand awareness campaigns where specific ROI metrics are less critical. 

What to do if Influencers Push Back: If there’s pushback, brands can negotiate by adjusting the content requirements or offering a package deal for multiple posts.

Fixed-rate + Performance Bonus

What and How: This model combines a guaranteed payment for posts with additional bonuses for exceeding certain performance thresholds. The criteria for bonuses are set in advance. Why 

Brands Opt For It: It offers a balance between guaranteeing influencers income and incentivizing them to maximize campaign performance. 

When to Use: Suitable for campaigns aiming for both brand awareness and tangible outcomes like increased sales. 

What to do if Influencers Push Back: Should influencers resist, brands could reassess the base rate or adjust the bonus criteria to ensure mutual satisfaction.

Gifting & Credits

What and How: Instead of money, influencers receive products, services, or credits from the brand. The value of the gifts corresponds with the expected deliverables. 

Why Brands Opt For It: Gifting is cost-effective for brands, especially those with high-value products or services. 

When to Use: It’s most effective for product launches or when the brand wants authentic content without a large financial outlay. 

What to do if Influencers Push Back: If influencers seek monetary compensation, brands might offer exclusive access or higher-value items to sweeten the deal.

Comped Events or Travel

What and How: Brands cover the cost of attending events or traveling in exchange for content creation about the experience. This may include lodging, tickets, or access to exclusive experiences. 

Why Brands Opt For It: It leverages the influencer’s experience to create authentic and engaging content for the audience. 

When to Use: Ideal for promoting events, destinations, or luxury experiences where the influencer’s presence adds significant value. 

What to do if Influencers Push Back: If influencers are not satisfied, brands can offer additional perks, such as plus-one allowances, or negotiate a partial payment arrangement.

In each scenario, clear communication and flexibility are key. Brands should always be prepared to negotiate and find a middle ground that respects the influencer’s worth while aligning with campaign goals.

What Should Brands Pay Influencers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What factors influence how much brands should pay influencers?

The amount brands should pay influencers depends on factors like audience size, engagement rate, content quality, and platform. These elements help determine the influencer’s impact and value to the brand.

How does an influencer’s audience size affect payment rates?

Larger audience sizes typically command higher payment rates due to the broader reach. Brands pay more for influencers with more followers, as it increases potential exposure.

Why is engagement rate important in determining influencer payment?

Engagement rate is crucial because it reflects how actively an audience interacts with content. Higher engagement rates suggest more influence, justifying higher payments.

Do different social media platforms have varying payment rates for influencers?

Yes, payment rates vary by platform due to differences in audience engagement, content format, and marketing effectiveness. Platforms like YouTube and Instagram often see higher rates.

How do content type and production costs influence influencer fees?

Content requiring more effort or production costs, such as high-quality videos, can lead to higher influencer fees. Brands consider these costs when negotiating payments.

What is the role of market rates in setting influencer payments?

Market rates guide what brands typically pay influencers, based on industry standards and previous campaign outcomes. They help in establishing a baseline for negotiations.

Can influencer marketing campaign goals affect payment structures?

Yes, campaign goals, whether awareness or sales-driven, influence the payment structure, including performance bonuses or fixed rates.

How should brands adjust payments for influencers with niche audiences?

Brands often pay a premium for influencers with niche, highly engaged audiences due to their specialized reach and influence.

Is there a difference in payment for one-time posts versus long-term collaborations?

Long-term collaborations may offer influencers higher overall compensation or benefits compared to one-time posts, reflecting the extended commitment.

How can brands calculate a fair payment for an influencer campaign?

Brands can calculate fair payment by considering factors like engagement rates, audience size, content type, and comparing market rates for similar campaigns.

What strategies can brands employ if influencers push back on offered rates?

Brands can negotiate by adjusting the campaign scope, offering performance bonuses, or discussing long-term collaboration benefits to reach an agreement.


In conclusion, determining fair compensation for influencers involves a complex interplay of factors including reach, engagement, industry standards, and campaign goals. Brands must prioritize authenticity and value exchange in their partnerships to ensure long-term success. Ultimately, a transparent and mutually beneficial relationship between brands and influencers is essential for effective influencer marketing strategies.

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