Love it or hate it, social media has been one of the most impactful inventions of our generation.
Around 48% of the world’s population is active on some kind of social media platform, be that Facebook, Instagram, or Twitch. But users aren’t just following their friends—54% of users also follow their favorite brands, browsing their social media platforms to make purchase decisions.
Influencers—those with large social media followings—play a huge role in a customer’s decision-making process nowadays. Brands have the power to collaborate with influencers and drive a sustainable stream of new customers towards their products and services.
So, is influencer marketing right for your business? To help you decide, we share 30+ influencer marketing statistics, including the costs, platform engagement, and ROI you can expect from various influencer marketing activities and channels. With these stats, you'll be able to create a more informed marketing strategy as you head into 2022.
Table of Contents
- What is influencer marketing?
- The influencer marketing landscape
- The types of influencers
- Demographics most impacted by influencer marketing
- Platform-specific influencer marketing statistics
- How much do influencers cost?
- The ROI of influencer marketing
- Influencer marketing challenges
- Influencer marketing in 2021 and beyond
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a social media strategy where brands partner with people who have a large, engaged social media presence. This can include bloggers, celebrities, and everyone in between.
Ecommerce brands can give away products, pay for a sponsored endorsement, or collaborate on a big creative project in return for an influencer’s public post.
The value of influencer marketing lies in the fact that 61% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations—more than the 38% who trust branded (and often biased) branded social media content. If you can identify and collaborate with the influencers your target customers follow, you’ll raise brand awareness, generate website traffic, and see positive impacts on your bottom line.
The influencer marketing landscape
Now we know what influencer marketing is, let’s take a look at the current landscape.
The influencer marketing industry is worth $13.8 billion
Influencer marketing is big business. Consider this: Data from Statista found the entire industry is worth almost $14 billion. That’s a 42% year-on-year increase from $9.7 billion in 2020.
50.7% of brands working with influencers run ecommerce stores
Which types of brands are contributing most to influencer marketing’s ballooning industry worth? Data shows that more than half of brands working with influencers have ecommerce stores. Not only does this demonstrate the rise of ecommerce businesses, it also suggests that ecommerce businesses are particularly well-suited to the influencer marketing model. Because their store is accessible to anyone around the world, they can share products with collaborators everywhere. And in turn, influencers can easily link to their store, without being limited by geography.
The types of influencers
Search for the type of influencer you want to collaborate with and you’ll see hundreds (if not thousands) of potential partners. But how do you choose which type of influencer you want to be collaborating with?
Influencers are broken down into five categories, each based on their follower count on any given social media channel.
- Nano influencers: between 1,000 and 5,000 followers
- Micro influencers: between 5,000 and 20,000 followers
- Power or mid-tier: between 20,000 and 100,000 followers
- Mega influencers: between 100,000 and 1 million followers
- Celebrities: more than 1 million followers
Let’s take a look at how they compare.
Nano influencers have the highest engagement rate
Granted, follower count is an important metric to consider when partnering with influencers. However, engagement rate—the percentage of their audience who follow their page and like, comment, or share their content—is crucial, too.
The higher the engagement rate of your potential influencer, the more likely they are to sway what their followers think (and buy).
Data from HypeAuditor found that nano-influencers with fewer than 5,000 followers have the highest engagement rates (5%). This seems to decrease as the follower count skyrockets, until reaching celebrity level (1.6%).
Micro-influencers account for almost half of all influencers
Speaking of higher engagement rates for smaller influencers, the same survey also found that it’s easier for ecommerce brands to find smaller influencers to collaborate with.
Almost half (47.3%) of influencers are micro-influencers with 5,000—20,000 followers on their biggest social media platform. That’s shortly followed by mid-tier influencers (26.8%) and nano influencers (18.74%).
The hardest types of influencer to come across are macro, mega, and celebrity influencers—the latter of which accounts for just 0.5% of all social media influencers.
Marketers are more interested in working with micro influencers than celebrities
Smaller influencers have higher engagement rates and are in large supply. So, it’s no surprise to hear that marketers and brands are more interested in working with micro influencers than traditional celebrities.
The majority (77%) of marketers say micro influencers top their list of ideal influencers, shortly followed by macro influencers (64%). No-payment and affiliate influencers fall by the wayside, with fewer than one in five brands adding them to their ideal collaborations list.
Demographics most impacted by influencers
The number of people active on social media differs by generation. So, it makes sense that certain demographics are more tuned-in to influencer recommendations than others.
Gen Z is most influenced by social media influencers
Your influencer marketing success depends on the demographic you’re targeting.
If that’s Generation Z, people between the ages of 16 and 23, you’re in luck. That demographic is most likely to subscribe to influencers or industry experts.
Unfortunately, influencer marketing gets a bit more challenging when you’re going after older consumers. The percentage of people following social media influencers decreases with age. Just 23% of Millennials, 16% of Gen X, and 9% of Boomers follow influencers on social media.
That being said, influencer marketing isn’t completely off the table if you’re reaching Boomers. Moon Lin, a 93-year-old fashion blogger with almost 100,000 followers, is the perfect example that goes to show older generations are using social media more than ever before.
If you need to find the influencers your older audience is following, try surveying your customers. Adding a simple question to your purchase confirmation emails—like “which influencers do you actively follow on social media?”—will help to uncover them.
Women aged 16 to 24 are 31% more likely to follow social media influencers than men
Data from Statista found that there are many more women influencers than there are men. Approximately 84% of all social media influencers are women compared to just 16% men.
We see a similar pattern among the number of women social media users following influencers. Amongst Gen Z, one-third of women aged 16 to 24 follow an influencer on social media compared to just 25% of men.
Platform-specific influencer marketing statistics
You’ll find influencers on a variety of different social media platforms. Their popularity, follower count, and average engagement rate differ from platform to platform—as do the number of users who buy products sponsored by influencers.
97% of marketers consider Instagram the most important influencer marketing channel
Wondering which channel you should hone-in on when collaborating with influencers?
Data shows that Instagram leads the way in popularity. The visual component allows your product to be front and center, encouraging social media users to visit your website (and purchase something!).
“What works well for us is an up-close image of the influencer holding our product,” says Emily Chong, founder of Healthish.
The vast majority of marketers consider it to be the most important influencer marketing channel for their business, with 83% expressing their reliance on Instagram Stories. It beats Facebook (79%), YouTube (45%), and Twitter (35%).
As a result, influencer marketing on Instagram grew by 48% in one year.
TikTok has the highest influencer engagement rate
TikTok is a relatively new social media platform that exploded in popularity over the last year. The number of users grew by 85% from 35.6 million in 2019 to 65.9 million in 2020.
Those users don’t just passively scroll through the one-minute videos, though. Some 39% of respondents buy products through TikTok (compared to 22% for Instagram and 9% for Facebook influencer posts).
The popularity of TikTok marketing is great news for brands who want to capitalize on influencer collaborations—especially considering high-profile users on the platform have the engagement rates. TikTok influencers with fewer than 15K followers have an incredible 17.96% engagement rate, trumping Instagram’s 3.86% average.
To partner with TikTok influencers, start by looking at the typical engagement rates on their videos. Across their most recent videos, how does the number of likes compare to the number of people who’ve watched the video?
40% of Twitter users made a purchase based on an influencer recommendation
Twitter is another platform to keep an eye on when partnering with influencers—especially if your main goal is to sell products.
Twitter estimates that almost half of users rely on recommendations from influencers on the platform. Not only that, but 40% of users have made a purchase off the back of those recommendations.
Partnering with Twitter influencers is one of the simplest ways to collaborate with popular accounts in your niche. If your budget is tight, have an influencer retweet content already posted to your brand’s page. They’re likely to charge a lower rate for retweets since there’s minimal legwork involved from their side.
Fewer brands say Facebook is the most effective channel for influencer marketing
Facebook has been causing problems for retailers since its move towards a pay-to-play model. Organic reach—the percentage of followers who see a business’ organic content—has been slowly declining. Now, just 5.2% of Page followers will see content in their news feed.
It’s no wonder then why Facebook is one of the only social media channels with declining influencer marketing activity. Now, 68% of businesses rely on Facebook’s influencer marketing potential, down 13% from last year.
Despite its declining popularity, Facebook still appears at the top of the list of influencer marketing platforms. Because despite its declining performance, it’s still the largest social network in the world.
Not only that, but ecommerce brands have access to a whole host of features that make it easy to collaborate with outside of traditional posts. For example, you could:
- Partner with an influencer to host a live stream
- Pay to amplify an influencer’s Facebook endorsement with other users
- Create Facebook Stories that appear at the top of a users’ Facebook feed
How much do influencers cost?
There’s no doubt that each social media channel has a wealth of influencers to tap into. But how much should you have up your cuff when partnering with an influencer for sponsored posts?
eMarketer found the influencer marketing spend you should budget for each type of influencer.
Nano influencers charge between $31 and $315 per social media post
Nano influencers are often written off when brands want to partner with influencers. Granted, they have a smaller follower count (up to 5,000 followers), but they have the highest engagement rates—meaning followers are tuned into the products or services they recommend.
The good news is that nano influencers demand the lowest rates per sponsored post. Expect to pay:
- $100 for an Instagram post
- $114 for an Instagram video
- $43 for an Instagram story
- $31 for a Facebook post
Across the board, YouTubers seem to charge the highest fees. Nano influencers reportedly demand $315 per sponsored video.
Micro influencers charge between $73 and $318 per social media post
Micro influencers with 5,000 to 30,000 followers charge slightly more per sponsored post. As a rough guideline, expect to pay:
- $172 for an Instagram post
- $219 for an Instagram video
- $73 for an Instagram story
- $318 for a Facebook post
- $908 for a YouTube video
If this is the type of influencer you’re working with, test the waters with a sponsored Instagram Story. It’s the cheapest way to judge whether an influencer’s audience is a good fit for you—especially if the influencer shares their Story statistics post-collaboration.
Power influencers charge between $210 and $775 per social media post
Influencers with 30,000 to 500,000 followers demand higher fees because they have a wider pool of potential customers for brands to tap into. They typically earn:
- $507 for an Instagram post
- $775 for an Instagram video
- $210 for an Instagram story
- $243 for a Facebook post
- $782 for a YouTube video
Celebrities charge between $2,085 and $3,318 per social media post
Defined as those with more than 500,000 followers, celebrity influencers earn the most for sponsored content. eMarketer gave conservative estimates of:
- $2,085 for an Instagram post
- $3,318 for an Instagram video
- $721 for an Instagram story
- $2,400 for a Facebook post
- $3,857 for a YouTube video
That being said, some celebrity influencers demand even more for sponsored content. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reportedly charges more than $1 million per sponsored post. Reality star Kim Kardashian supposedly demands $858,000.
If you decide to go this route, bear in mind that you may have to go through an influencer’s managing team to confirm a sponsorship. Their bio usually shows who to contact for sponsored content opportunities.
The ROI of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing works well for brands with all budget sizes. Smaller budgets make nano influencers a go-to, but if you’ve got cash to spend on celebrity endorsements, you’ll have the ability to tap into massive new audiences.
But will you make a return on investment? And what kind of results can you expect?
Sometimes, it can be tricky to expect an immediate ROI. You have to think of influencer marketing as a long-term investment and budget for it from a Profit & Loss perspective.
Still, there are some statistics to keep top-of-mind when it comes to influencer marketing’s ROI. In particular, you should take note of channel-specific ROI when you’re planning your marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing ROI is 11x greater than banner ads
Given the fact that so many social media users follow influencers, it’s no surprise that brands get a better return on their investment when partnering with influencers over traditional forms of advertising. In fact, data from Mediakix shows that the ROI of influencer marketing is 11x greater than some types of digital marketing like banner ads.
Online advertising still leads the way in terms of ROI, followed closely by Instagram and YouTube, with 18% of marketers saying the social media channels are highly effective. It’s why 60% agree that influencer marketing has a higher ROI than traditional advertising.
YouTube influencers in particular have a very loyal following and we find they get the best engagement on their social posts.
Where online advertising is extremely costly, social media and influencer marketing is more accessible to new and emerging brands looking to promote their business. If you’re dipping your toe into the influencer marketing waters for the first time, take these platform metrics into consideration.
Businesses are making $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing
We know that influencers have a greater ROI than traditional advertising like TV ads. But by how much?
A survey revealed that businesses make $5.20 for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing. So, if you spend $2,000 per month on influencer collaborations, you’ll likely get more than $10,000 in orders (provided you partner with the right ones).
Take a look at the other marketing channels you’re using to promote your ecommerce business. Do they get comparable results? If not, it may be time to reallocate budgets. Pull some spend from your lowest-performing channels and put it towards influencer marketing. It’ll give you higher marketing ROI across the board.
Brands will get will get $4.87 of earned media value for each $1 spent on Instagram influencer marketing
The goal of an influencer marketing campaign isn’t always to drive sales. Partnering with a high-profile, trusted influencer increases your reach and brand awareness. You’re exposed to more people than you were before—especially on Instagram.
HypeAuditor estimates that retailers will get $4.87 of earned media value for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing through Instagram.
Influencer marketing challenges
As you can see, influencer marketing has many advantages. You’re able to increase your reach, build trust, and generate product sales though influencer marketing. But the landscape is changing—and marketers are facing some challenges that are worth keeping in mind.
48% of consumers are starting to distrust influencers
The number of social media influencers has skyrocketed over the past decade. Now, anyone can make money on Instagram with just a few thousand followers—with influencing becoming a target career path for 86% of young people.
All of this contributes to the fact that four in 10 consumers see too much branded content on social media. That has a domino effect on an influencer’s audience: 7 in 10 users would unfollow an influencer for disingenuous endorsements.
The lesson here is to choose influencers that best represent your brand. Look for influencers that are authentic and have similar values to your own. Too many sponsored posts on their feed could be a bad sign. Instead, pay attention to influencers with minimal sponsored content and high engagement rates.
As a rule of thumb, a good engagement rate for sponsored content should be at least 3%.
Half of marketers can’t tell when an influencer has fake followers
The drive for any social media user to become an influencer pushes people to do shady stuff. The most questionable: buying followers. Data shows that just 55% of Instagram followers are real people. The remaining 45% are bots or inactive users.
Identifying fake followers and inauthentic engagement is a huge struggle for brands relying on influencer partnerships. Half of marketers can’t spot fake followers—hence why brands are calling out for better influencer marketing data and metrics to allow for more transparency.
Their following follower ratio is high. This could indicate that they only have a large following because they’re in a follow-for-follow scheme.
- Their posts are littered with spam comments. Emojis, random hashtags, or “nice post” comments from bot accounts indicate that the influencer is probably ingenuine.
They have a low engagement rate. If a potential influencer has 500,000 followers and their typical post has just 1,000 likes, there’s something odd going on. (Likely the fact they’ve paid for followers.)
- Large, sudden jumps in followers. Getting 100,000 followers overnight might be normal for celebrities. Nano influencers, not so much. Use one of the tools mentioned above to see how an influencers' follower count has increased over time. A slow, steady increase indicates they haven’t paid for fake followers.
Social algorithm changes is a problem for 49% of marketers
These days, social media platforms are turning into a pay-to-play model. Organic reach is on the decline, not just for brands but for influencers, too. Keeping up to date with those algorithm changes is a struggle for almost half of influencer marketers.
No budget for ads? Don’t worry. Work around social algorithm changes by leaning into alternative content formats. If you’re partnering with an Instagram influencer, for example, don’t just agree on one feed post. Increase the reach of your sponsored content by having the influencer repost it to their Instagram Story, repurpose into a Reel, or repost on your own page.
Each of those tactics increase the mileage of your collaboration—making sure more people see the sponsored content you’ve paid for. Of course, you can always seek marketing funding to boost your ad budget, but it's good to know that you can expand your reach through organic means and not just paid advertisements.
Influencer marketing in 2021 and beyond
The state of influencer marketing has evolved dramatically over the last few years. Here’s how the industry is set to change as we head into 2021 and beyond.
63% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year
The value of influencer marketing is undeniable—and retailers are becoming more aware of it. By 2022, it’s estimated that 72.5% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets over the coming year. Just 5% intend to decrease it.
By 2023, brands will be spending $4.62 billion per year on influencer marketing
The surge in influencer marketing budgets means brands will spend an estimated $4.62 billion per year on influencer-related marketing campaigns. That’s a 25% increase between 2021 and 2023.
If you’re unsure how much of a slice you want to take from that pie, set your influencer marketing budget at 10% of all planned marketing spend. That gives you room to play around with different channels, formats, and influencers—without too much risk.
Use these statistics to fine-tune your influencer marketing strategy
These influencer marketing stats go to show that collaborating with high-profile social media users has the potential to meaningfully impact your sales.
And understanding these statistics will help you make more informed marketing decisions—like what type of influencer to collaborate with, what channels to prioritize, and what kind of return you can expect.
But the most important takeaway of all is this: influencer marketing is accessible to all brands, not just brands with big budgets. With these statistics in mind, you'll be in a better position to create an influencer program that's right for your business. Just one piece of parting advice from Emily at Healthish:
"Remember: influencer marketing is a long game. When an influencer posts about your product, people won't buy straight away—many will just start following your brand and others will buy over time through retargeting campaigns, and so on. Each activity compounds, so track everything over time."