There is no denying that bloggers are the latest fashion “It” girls. We follow them on Instagram, defer to their expertise on seasonal colors and double-tap our way through their feed. Being a top "influencer" in this climate can bring a socially savvy lady with a large and dedicated fanbase some serious cash. So exactly how much is your favorite blogger making every time you heart their pic?
The biggest names in blogging are currently bringing in anywhere from $1 million to $3 million a year, with a large portion coming from sponsored Instagram posts. A single Instagram posting can cost brands and marketers anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on who they are working with. This price is nearly five times the rate it was just a year and a half ago. But those figures are shadowed by the $25,000 to $50,000 supermodels Karlie Kloss, Behati Prinsloo, and Miranda Kerr are charging. And top-earning names like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne? They command $125,000-$300,000 per photo. “Some of our models…actually have the potential to earn more per post than their normal day rate," Katia Sherman, president and co-founder of Major models, told CR Fashion Book. "The social queens are just another breed of models."
And brands are more than willing to shell out major bucks for a single photo. In 2013, the fashion industry spent over $1 billion just for Instagram sponsorships. For the same investments they could create major campaigns, but what brands are looking for is a sense of authenticity—blogger sponsorships are intended to feel casual and unintentional. This type of native advertising can result in greater sales for a label, but it often results in questions regarding journalistic integrity. In 2014, WWD noted that “brand stars, whose voices are subjective to what they do or don’t like at the moment, are often times dependent on which companies will pay them the most. None of the top bloggers interviewed for this article say they adhere to a strict set of journalistic codes or ethics.” Last year, the FTC updated their regulations on sponsored or paid posts so that everything, including video content and even contests must be disclosed.
But bloggers' authenticity is what followers rely on. "It's super important who I associate myself with in this industry," Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What, told Harper’s Bazaar last year. With almost 1.5 million follows on Instagram she commands well over $15,000 for a single sponsored post, but like most of her contemporaries, refuses to give out specifics. “I hate talking about money, but let's just say it's more than I could have ever imagined as a 22-year-old,” she noted, adding that once an influencer hits the one million follower mark they can charge "a good amount more" for sponsored content. "It's a big milestone.”
For influencers, having millions of followers can translate directly into more work and money-making opportunities. “We have monetized it. If Cara [Delevingne] does a big campaign, you quote for her to model and then you quote separately for the fact that she has 13 million followers,” Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm Model Management, told the Financial Times. “If you have two girls who are both perfect for something, without a shadow of a doubt the one with the [bigger] social following would win the job.” Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, arguably the biggest and most well-known blogger in the world, has turned her 5.4 million follows into lucrative campaigns for Guess and Pantene, and started her own accessory brand. Kristina Bazan just turned her 2.2 million followers into a global ambassadorship with L’Oréal Paris.
During Fashion Week street style reigns and the hottest influencers can be seen wearing designs right off the runway; this is when money is moving the fastest. Brands loan or gift pieces in the hopes that a blogger will be snapped in them for street style coverage. They may also send out their own photographer to be sure the outfit gets featured or they can pay for a number of sponsored “street style” Instagram posts and hashtags. Some of it is very organic and works with the influencer’s aesthetic; others are a little more obvious—like the head-to-toe Moschino Barbie look Ferragni rocked last year. Of course while most bloggers participate in these types of sponsorships, they don’t talk about it openly to one another, so the practice is still fairly secretive. Sometimes compensation is in the form of clothing or gifts in lieu of money. “A lot of these guys usually ask for an actual cash fee,” Otte Vice President and COO Nancy Zhang, told Fashionista. “We typically try to avoid cash fee, so we do a lot of gifting and gift card arrangements as well.”
While most brands and bloggers refuse to disclose how much they’re actually making in these deals, the results speak for themselves. Nordstrom is reportedly among the highest paying companies when it comes to compensating Instagram influencers, but it pays off. In 2014, they partnered with Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies for the holiday season, and she drove over $1 million in sales to the department store’s website alone. With affiliate apps like LiketoKnow.It that are making the platform more shoppable, brands are starting to see a clear return on their investment. In December, Shopstyle Collective, Shopstyle’s affiliate network, reportedly saw a 315 percent increase in blogger-driven purchases, totaling over $8 million in sales for the month.
But before you run off to curate your photo collection for Instagram, keep in mind that many in the industry consider the blogger a dying breed. Vogue’s fashion critic Suzy Menkes claims that due to the amount of influencers clamoring for attention, the fashion shows have become a “circus,” noting that “even those with so-called street style have lost their individuality.” This past year blogger invitations were cut by 20 percent, leaving many to believe the gilded age of the blogger is at an end. With editors, designers and models becoming more social-media savvy, they’re giving outsiders a run for their money. Plus they are doing it from backstage at Paris Fashion Week, inside private parties and behind-the-scenes where no one else can go. Even with suggestions of a decline, we don’t see the end of blogging coming anytime soon, and until then, you can bet the major influencers will be snapping, posting and filtering their best images in exchange for some serious cash.
- Source: JustLuxe