INFLUENCER MARKETING

Influencer Payments: 18 Payment Methods + Free TOOLS to Budget Like a PRO

Alexandra Kazakova

By Alexandra Kazakova
19 min READ | May 1 2024

Table of contents

Picking the right influencer payment for your campaign is essential because you can optimize your budget, ensure fair influencer compensation, and align incentives to drive the best results for your brand.

We’ve worked with hundreds of brands and thousands of influencers over the years.

We’ll use that experience to discuss different types of influencer payments and how to choose the most appropriate for your business goals.

We’ll also share our influencer payment tracking plan so you can have a solid system in place.

Let’s dive in.

TL;DR:

  • Picking the Right Payment Method: Essential for optimizing budgets, ensuring fair compensation, and aligning incentives for successful influencer campaigns.

Seven Payment Models:

  1. Fixed-Rate + Bonus: Suitable for motivating high-value influencers and achieving various marketing goals.
  2. Performance-Based Pay: Cost-effective, paying only for actual results, ideal for direct response campaigns.
  3. Pay-per-Post: Provides predictability, best for campaigns aiming for exposure and unique content aesthetics.
  4. Travel Tickets: Offers influencers travel experiences in exchange for content, effective for travel and lifestyle brands.
  5. Gifts or Rewards: Encourages genuine endorsements from influencers passionate about the brand.
  6. Content Licensing Fee: Pays for rights to use influencer content across marketing channels, maximizing content utility.
  7. Rebates and Store Credits: Cost-effective for e-commerce, fostering ongoing influencer-brand relationships.

Influencer Tiers and Payment Preferences:

  • Nano to celebrity influencers prefer varied compensation methods based on their follower count, engagement, and niche.

Platform-Specific Payments:

  • Influencer rates differ significantly across platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Snapchat, reflecting the unique engagement and follower dynamics of each.

Choosing the Right Rates:

  • Factors to consider include engagement rate, follower count, number of channels, exclusivity, content type, influencer niche, and using rate sheets for negotiation.

Influencer vs. Affiliate Payments:

  • Influencer marketing focuses on brand exposure while affiliate marketing rewards direct sales and conversions.

Tracking Payments:

  • Implement a system to track payments, set clear terms, use unique tracking codes, monitor performance, and automate payments when possible. Consider a dedicated influencer marketing platform or payroll outsourcing service if you run a more complex affiliate program. Either way, track all influencer payments in one place.

Tools and Tips:

  • Free tools for budgeting and measuring campaign results, such as engagement rate calculators and ROI calculators, help optimize influencer partnerships.

7 Influencer Payment Methods by Fee Type

In this section, we’ll discuss seven influencer payment methods, their benefits for you as the brand, and their best uses.

We’ll also offer insider tips from our influencer platform’s experience to help you pick the best model.

1. Fixed-Rate + Bonus

What it is: In this payment structure, the influencers receive a guaranteed base payment for their content, along with a performance-based bonus tied to metrics like engagement, conversions, or sales.

What you gain: This model incentivizes influencers to create high-quality, engaging content that drives measurable results on different social media channels.

The fixed-rate provides predictable costs, while the bonus aligns influencer compensation with campaign objectives.

Best uses: We recommend fixed-rate + bonus to our clients if their influencer marketing campaigns feature high-value influencers they want to motivate.

It’s also a good idea if you want to build long-term partnerships.

We noticed that fixed-rate + bonus works well for all marketing goals, from increasing brand awareness to generating leads and boosting product sales.

  • Insider tip: This model mainly works well for social media influencers with a proven track record of delivering strong results.

After reviewing internal data from inBeat, we discovered that the clients who responded offer the following commission rates to influencers:

  • 20% of our clients offer a commission of 8-10%.
  • 30% provide a commission range of 11-13%.
  • 25% extend commissions between 14-16%.
  • 15% of clients are more generous, offering a 17-19% commission.
  • The remaining 10% provides a high commission rate of 20% or above.

2. Performance-Based Pay

What it is: Performance-based pay is a compensation model where influencers are paid solely based on the results they deliver, such as a percentage of sales, a fixed amount per lead generated, or a certain rate per click or engagement.

What you gain: This pay structure ensures you only pay for actual results, so it’s a low-risk option. We also like this influencer payment model because it strongly motivates influencers to create content that resonates with their audience and drives the desired actions.

In our agency's experience, we've seen performance-based pay lead to some of the highest ROI campaigns for our clients.

Best uses: Performance-based pay is particularly effective for campaigns focused on direct response, such as driving sales, app downloads, or sign-ups.

We also recommend it to brands with a limited budget, as they only pay for the results achieved. Of course, you need influencers who have a highly engaged, niche audience and are confident in their ability to drive conversions.

  • Insider tip: This model isn’t great for luxury brands because influencers typically use promo codes on different social media platforms, which can affect your haute-couture brand image.

3. Pay-per-Post

What it is: Pay-per-post is a straightforward compensation model where influencers receive a fixed fee for each piece of sponsored content they create and publish, regardless of the post's performance.

What you gain: Pay-per-post offers simplicity and predictability in budgeting and planning influencer campaigns.

You can get influencer content with a desired aesthetic, tone, or niche without directly tying payment to performance metrics.

Best uses: This payment model is best suited for increasing brand exposure, reaching new audiences, or showcasing products or services in a more editorial or lifestyle context.

Pay-per-post is also ideal for collaborations where the influencer's unique style, voice, or creative vision is key to the partnership, such as creating beautiful imagery, compelling storytelling, or thought-provoking commentary.

  • Insider tip: Our clients loved this influencer payment model for multi-channel campaigns, where the influencer content serves as a complementary touchpoint alongside other tactics.

4. Travel Tickets

What it is: Providing travel tickets as compensation means that brands offer influencers free transportation and accommodation in exchange for creating content that showcases their travel experiences and promotes the brand.

What you gain: Offering travel tickets can be a cost-effective way to secure high-quality, authentic content highlighting the brand's offerings in the real world.

You can tap into the influencer's sense of adventure and storytelling abilities, creating compelling content that resonates with travel enthusiasts.

  • Insider tip: In our experience as an influencer platform, we've seen travel ticket partnerships generate stunning visual content, engaging travel guides, and genuine recommendations that inspire followers to explore new destinations.

Best uses: This compensation method suits brands in the hospitality or travel niche.

However, it can also be particularly effective for lifestyle or fashion brands looking to create immersive content aligned with their target audience’s values.

YouTube influencers Juan Marcel & Rhylan share how they get paid to travel, discussing five methods for making money while traveling:

Even better, the two creators use this opportunity to promote different brands in their video descriptions:

5. Gifts or Rewards

What it is: In this model, brands send influencers free products, exclusive experiences, or special perks in exchange for creating content that showcases the brand's offerings and generates buzz among their followers.

What you get: Gifting gets influencers excited about your brand's products or services, leading to authentic, enthusiastic recommendations that feel more like word-of-mouth marketing than traditional advertising.

That means you can build relationships with influencers who genuinely love and use their products, creating a sense of loyalty and long-term advocacy.

  • Insider tip: Based on our clients’ experiences, gifting campaigns are awesome because they can generate a wide range of content types, like unboxing videos, detailed product reviews, and user-generated content challenges. Even better, this content encourages followers to engage with the brand.

Best uses: Offering gifts or rewards is a popular way to collaborate with influencers, particularly in the fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and tech industries.

You can use this influencer payment tactic in a product seeding campaign or to support influencer-led initiatives, such as giveaways, charity auctions, or community events.

Here’s influencer Sarah Roberts showing off her gifted products:

Source

More interestingly, Sarah decided not to link to these products in this post but rather mention them in her Stories.

Insider tip: Not linking to products directly is a great strategy we recommend if you want to get more qualified leads, even if that means sacrificing some organic traffic.

6. Content Licensing Fee

What it is: This influencer payment model entails reimbursing influencers for the right to use their content beyond the original partnership.

What you get: You can maximize the value of influencer-created content by repurposing it across various marketing channels.

  • Insider tip: As such, you can prioritize long-term content creation and distribution, ensuring a consistent brand narrative across all touchpoints.

Best uses: Content licensing fee is great for leveraging high-quality, evergreen influencer content.

It’s also an excellent way to acquire user-generated content (UGC) that you can reuse in future marketing efforts because it resonates with your target audience and builds trust and credibility.

7. Rebates and Store Credits

What it is: Rebates and store credits are a smart way to incentivize influencers, particularly for e-commerce brands.

Influencers receive discounts or credits for the brand's products, which they can use for personal purchases or to create content.

What you get: It's cost-effective for brands, as they only offer discounts on their own products, and it's a win-win for influencers who get to shop with the brand.

  • Insider tip: As an influencer platform, we've seen this model drive authentic endorsements and boost sales as influencers become genuine brand advocates.

Best uses: This model works best for ongoing partnerships with influencers who align closely with the brand's target audience and values.

5 Influencer Payments by Influencer Type

Influencers can be categorized into different tiers based on their follower count, engagement rate, and overall influence.

Each tier may have different preferences regarding payment types, depending on their goals, audience, and level of professionalism.

Here's a breakdown of common influencer tiers and their preferred payment types based on our experience at inBeat:

1. Nano Influencers Payment Preference (1K to 10K followers)

Nano influencers have a relatively small but often highly engaged following.

They tend to have a strong connection with their audience and are seen as authentic and relatable.

Our in-house data shows nano-influencers accept performance-based pay, such as affiliate commissions or cost-per-click because they are still building their influence and may not have the leverage to command high upfront fees.

They may also be open to accepting gifts or products in exchange for content, especially when they’re passionate about the brands they work with.

2. Micro-Influencers Payment Preference (10K to 100K followers)

Micro-influencers have a growing following and are considered experts in their niche because their loyal, engaged audiences trust their recommendations.

We found that Micro - influencers usually prefer a combination of pay-per-post and performance-based compensation.

They may charge a flat fee for each piece of content created while also earning commissions on sales or clicks generated through their unique affiliate links.

This hybrid approach allows them to secure a base income while also benefiting from the success of their content.

3. Mid-Tier Influencers Payment Preference (100K to 500K followers)

Mid-tier influencers have a substantial following and are full-time content creators.

They have a strong brand and are sought after by companies for their ability to reach a wide audience.

That’s why mid-tier influencers prefer pay-per-post arrangements, as they have the influence and credibility to command higher fees for their content. They may also negotiate additional compensation for usage rights, exclusivity, or long-term partnerships.

4. Macro Influencers Payment Preference (500K to 1M followers)

Macro influencers have a large and diverse following, spanning multiple social media platforms.

They are considered quasi-celebrities and significantly impact their audience's purchasing decisions.

Macro influencers usually prefer a combination of pay-per-post and content licensing fees.

Given their extensive reach and influence, they charge high upfront fees for creating and posting content.

Additionally, they negotiate content licensing fees for the brand's use of their content in other marketing channels, such as ads, websites, or social media.

Insider tip: Macro influencers are highly professional and may have a management team to handle negotiations and contracts.

In this case, you may have to consider an extra agency fee.

5. Celebrity Influencers Payment Preferences (1M+ followers)

Celebrities are well-known personalities with a massive following across various platforms.

They have a strong influence on popular culture and can significantly impact a brand's visibility and sales.

Celebrities prefer a mix of large upfront payments, royalties, and performance-based incentives.

Given their star power and ability to reach millions of people, they command high fees for their endorsements.

Celebrities may also negotiate revenue-sharing deals, receiving a percentage of sales generated from their promotions.

Plus, they may require content licensing fees to use their image and likeness in marketing materials.

6 Influencer Payments by Channel

Influencer payments vary significantly based on the platform and the influencer's following.

Here's a breakdown by channel:

1. Instagram Influencer Payments

General pricing on Instagram follows a flat fee model: $100 for every 10,000 followers, with additional costs for extra expenses.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the current rates on Instagram depending on influencers’ following sizes are:

  • Nano (1,000 - 10,000 followers): $10 - $100 per post.
  • Micro (10,000 - 100,000 followers): $100 - $500 per post.
  • Mid-tier (100,000 - 500,000 followers): $500 - $5,000 per post.
  • Macro (500,000 - 1,000,000 followers): $5,000 - $10,000 per post.
  • Mega (1,000,000+ followers): $10,000+ per post.

Pro tip: When calculating engagement-based fees, consider the engagement rate per post plus any additional costs, such as products, gifts, or travel expenses, you may include in your campaign.

You can use this free engagement rate calculator to gauge how your influencers perform before partnering with them.

Insider tip: If you’re not thrilled with their stats, use the “Find Similar Creators” button to see more engaged influencers in the same niche.

Source

2. TikTok Influencer Payments

Due to increased exposure from TikTok's algorithm, posts are generally three times more expensive than Instagram posts.

Shopify's suggested earnings per post are:

  • Nano-influencers: $800.
  • Micro-influencers: $1,500.
  • Mid-tier influencers: $3,000.
  • Macro-influencers: $5,000.
  • Mega-influencers: $7,000+.

3. YouTube Influencer Payments

Influencer Marketing Hub's cost range per post:

  • Nano-influencer: $20-$200.
  • Micro-influencer: $200-$1,000.
  • Mid-tier influencer: $1,000-$10,000.
  • Macro-influencer: $10,000-$20,000.
  • Mega-influencer: $20,000+.

Side note: Statista provides a different perspective, with a nano-influencer averaging $207 per post and a mega-influencer around $3,670.

4. X (Formerly Twitter) Influencer Payments

Pricing varies by influencer size and engagement, with rates approximately:

  • Nano-influencers: $2-$20.
  • Micro-influencers: $20-$100.
  • Mid-tier influencers: $100-$1,000.
  • Macro-influencers: $1,000-$2,000.
  • Mega-influencers: $2,000+.

5. Facebook Influencer Payments

Influencer Marketing Hub suggests the following:

  • Nano-influencers: $25-$250.
  • Micro-influencers: $250-$1,250.
  • Mid-tier influencers: $1,250-$12,500.
  • Macro-influencers: $12,500-$25,000.
  • Mega-influencers: $25,000+.

Statista's numbers show that a nano-influencer earns an average of $170 per post, with those with over 25,000 followers earning $266.

6. Snapchat Influencer Payments

Influencer rates are judged by views rather than followers, with payments ranging from $500 for 1,000-5,000 views to over $30,000 for 100,000+ views.

Here’s a complete breakdown according to Business of Apps:

  • 1,000-5,000 views: $500
  • 5,000-10,000 views: $1,000-$3,000
  • 10,000-20,000 views: $3,000-$5,000
  • 30,000-50,000 views: $5,000-$10,000
  • 50,000-100,000 views: $10,000-$30,000
  • Over 100,000 views: Over $30,000

Pro tip: Nano and micro-influencers might charge $2-$20 per 1,000 followers, while larger influencers could ask for $11-$25 per 1,000 followers.

How to Choose the Right Influencer Payments Rates

We’ve seen different types of influencer payments, but how do you pick the right ones? Here are the factors we advise our clients to consider when assessing different payment methods.

1. Engagement Rate

Higher engagement rates justify higher payment rates.

Let’s use this free collaboration cost calculator and compare these two mid-tier fitness influencers.

First, let’s see mid-tier influencer, Meghan Callaway.

Versus fitness mid-tier influencer Cory Roboch:

Because the second influencer has a lower engagement rate, his potential collaboration costs per post are also lower.

But that’s not always true.

Influencers with more followers and a lower engagement rate may still charge more because their overall reach is much larger.

Here’s how much Jason and Lauren Pak would charge because their 0.73% engagement rate based on 1.09 million followers translates into a reach of 7957 people

2. Number of Followers

Influencers with larger followings generally command higher fees because they have a wider reach.

However, multiple influencers with smaller but highly engaged and niche-specific followings may be more valuable to your brand than one with a large but less targeted audience.

Remember: Consider your campaign goals and target audience when evaluating an influencer's follower count.

Insider tip: Use this free ROI calculator to assess different influencers’ results. Let’s say you partner with one influencer with 100,000 followers because that’s your budget.

One post from them would get you 16,000-24,000 in engagement and up to 1,800,000 in reach.

With the same budget, you can hire 5-7 nano-influencers and get more posts, stories, and videos, translating into higher numbers:

Remember: Use this ROI calculator to assess different influencer payments. That way, you can pick the right creators according to your campaign goals.

3. Number of Channels

Influencers with a presence on multiple channels may charge more.

Insider tip: The value of each additional channel depends on its relevance to your target audience and campaign objectives.

For example, if your campaign primarily targets Instagram users, an influencer's strong presence on X (formerly Twitter) may be less valuable than their Instagram following.

Remember: Assess the importance of each channel to your campaign before agreeing to higher fees for multi-channel influencers.

4. Exclusivity Clauses

Exclusivity can be a valuable aspect of an influencer partnership, but the premium you pay should be proportional to the influencer's overall value to your brand.

An influencer with a large, highly engaged following in a relevant niche may be worth the extra cost of exclusivity.

In contrast, a less impactful influencer may not justify the added expense.

Remember: Consider the potential opportunity cost for the influencer and negotiate accordingly.

5. Type of Content

Higher rates justify more complex content, but the value of each type of content depends on your campaign goals and target audience.

For example, Instagram Stories can be awesome to create a more personal relationship with your audience, FOMO, or urgency.

However, Instagram posts last longer, so they’re better for affiliate marketing campaigns where you’ll use discount codes.

Remember: This free influencer marketing ROI calculator can help you evaluate the value of each content asset for each type of influencer you work with.

6. Influencer Niche or Demographics

Influencers in highly specialized or competitive niches may command higher rates.

Insider tip: The value of their audience depends on its alignment with your target market.

An influencer with a large following in a tangentially related niche may be less valuable than one with a smaller but highly relevant audience.

Prioritize audience quality and relevance over niche popularity alone.

7. Influencer Rate Sheet

Influencer rate sheets provide a useful starting point, and the article we just linked offers many in-depth examples and calculations.

Insider tip: Be prepared to negotiate based on the specific value an influencer brings to your campaign.

Source

An influencer with a particularly engaged or relevant audience may be worth a higher investment than their rate sheet suggests, while one with less impactful metrics may warrant a lower fee.

We always advise our clients to use rate sheets as a guide but evaluate each influencer partnership individually.

Influencer vs Affiliate Payments

Influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are two distinct but overlapping strategies for promoting products or services through partnerships with third-party individuals or entities.

We always get this question: what’s the difference between affiliates and influencers?

And more to the point, how do influencer payments differ from affiliate payments?

Influencer Marketing Payments

Influencer marketing primarily focuses on leveraging an individual's influence, credibility, and audience to promote a brand's message or products.

Payments in influencer marketing generally prioritize content creation and brand exposure rather than direct sales.

Of course, many influencers also participate in affiliate programs, using their content and influence to drive direct sales and earn commissions.

Affiliate Marketing Payments

Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, is more focused on driving direct sales or conversions through partner promotions.

Affiliates are typically compensated based on measurable actions like clicks, sign-ups, or purchases.

Common types of affiliate payments include:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC): Affiliates earn a small commission each time a user clicks on their unique affiliate link, regardless of whether a sale is made.
  • Pay-per-action: Also known as cost-per-action (CPA), this model rewards affiliates for specific actions taken by users, such as filling out a form, subscribing to a service, or making a purchase.
  • Pay-per-impression: Affiliates are paid based on the number of times their affiliate link or ad is viewed, typically measured in cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM).
  • Two-tier affiliate programs: In addition to earning commissions on their own sales, affiliates can also earn a percentage of the commissions generated by sub-affiliates they refer to the program.

How to Track Influencer Payments

Tracking influencer payments helps your financial team maintain accurate records, ensuring timely compensation and reporting.

Besides, tracking these payments allows you to gauge the ROI of your influencer marketing efforts better.

Here are some key steps we and our inBeat clients use for influencer payment tracking:

  • Implement a centralized system: If you work with just a few influencers, use a single spreadsheet. Consider a dedicated influencer marketing platform if you run a more complex affiliate program. Either way,  track all influencer payments in one place. This system should include details such as influencer name, contact information, payment amount, payment method, and payment status.
  • Establish clear payment terms: From the outset of your partnership, set clear payment terms and expectations with each influencer. These should include the agreed-upon compensation amount, payment schedule, and any conditions or milestones that must be met before payment is issued.
  • Assign unique tracking codes: Provide each influencer with a unique tracking code or affiliate link to use when promoting your products or services. This will allow you to attribute sales, clicks, or other metrics directly to each influencer and calculate their compensation accordingly.
  • Monitor content and performance: Monitor each influencer's content to ensure it meets your agreed-upon criteria and standards. Track each content asset’s performance using influencer marketing metrics such as views, engagements, click-through rates, and conversions.

Pro tip: We use this free CTR calculator to assess whether our influencers produced clickable content that catches people’s attention.

Source
  • Automate payments when possible: Consider using automated payment systems like Wise or PayPal to streamline the payment process and reduce manual effort. Many influencer marketing platforms also offer built-in payment processing and tracking features.
  • Keep detailed records: Maintain detailed records of each influencer payment, including the date, amount, and relevant notes or context. This will help you stay organized, resolve discrepancies, and provide accurate information for tax and accounting purposes.

Streamline Your Influencer Payments with inBeat

Choosing the right way to pay your influencers helps you get the most bang for your buck, keeps your influencers happy, and ensures everyone's working towards the same goal - making your brand look great.

We've been around the block a few times, working with tons of brands and influencers.

We wanted to share what we've learned about different payment methods and how to pick the best one for what you're trying to achieve.

We also threw in our secret sauce for keeping track of influencer payments, so you can stay on top of things.

At the end of the day, it's all about understanding your options and having a solid plan in place.

When you've got that down, you'll be able to build awesome relationships with your influencers and see some killer results for your brand.

Just remember to keep things fair, be transparent, and always stay focused on your goals.

Also, remember to use our free toolkit to budget and measure your campaign results.

If you want to find the best influencers, use our discovery tool, which offers tons of solid free options.

inBeat, for free

Get your Influencer campaign started.

Book a demo