Average Internet Celebrities Make $75,000 Per Instagram Ad and $30,000 Per Paid Tweet

GIF made from a video ad for Sugar Bear Hair’s “Chewy Hair Vitamins” on Kim Kardashian’s Instagram

Agencies like the Federal Trade Commission have started to crack down on celebrity endorsements on networks like Instagram and YouTube. But have you ever wondered how much your average celebrity gets paid for a post? Not Kim Kardashian West or Kanye West. We know they can make millions from endorsements. But just your average, run-of-the-mill celeb or internet-famous “influencer” with a few million followers? They still make tens of thousands of dollars.

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The New York Times has a new article about the FTC’s efforts to get celebrities to more clearly define ads. Kim K and others have gotten into hot water with agencies like the FDA for being misleading, and the FTC has not been too happy with the opaque nature of celebrity endorsements on social media.

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But the most fascinating part of the article might be about precisely how much celebrities can rake in from social media posts.

Captiv8, a company that connects brands to influencers, says someone with three million to seven million followers can charge, on average, $187,500 for a post on YouTube, $75,000 for a post on Instagram or Snapchat and $30,000 for a post on Twitter. For influencers with 50,000 to 500,000 followers, the average is $2,500 for YouTube, $1,000 for Instagram or Snapchat and $400 for Twitter.

The FTC doesn’t have any problem with celebrities making money by selling ads on their social media accounts, but they’d like consumers to know when a given post has been bought and paid for—especially when so much money is changing hands.

And if you have three million Instagram followers and aren’t monetizing that audience, what are you doing? There’s $75,000 with your name on it if you’ll just act like Kim Kardashian and pretend to eat a “Chewy Hair Vitamin,” whatever that is.

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Kardashian, with over 81 million Instagram followers, certainly got paid a lot more than that.

Screenshot of Kim Kardashian’s ad for Sugar Bear Hair chewable gummy vitamins (Instagram)
Screenshot of Kim Kardashian’s ad for Sugar Bear Hair chewable gummy vitamins (Instagram)
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[New York Times]

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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I work with “influencers” and social media celebs quite a bit, and I call BS on those figures from Captiv8. Yes, some celebs can charge that much, but those are REAL celebrities that also happen to be on social media. And even then, its a pretty rare occurrence. For “internet celebrities”, those numbers really dont exist. To call those figures “average” is a joke.

The reality is that the conversion data basically never supports the spend. Some stupid brands fall for it, but most have caught on. Also, there is basically a whole industry of “fake” influencers who buy followers and likes, and then trick brands into paying for placements. Because the market is so watered down with low converting influencers and straight up fake influencers, prices aren’t that high. Its mostly trade at this point.

The “average” social media celebrity is actually fairly cash poor. They get free stuff, free trips, free meals, but very little cash. (also, notice that most of the internet social celebs are already rich when they start. Its not the endorsements paying for their lifestyle, its their trust fund) Only a handful have ever reached the point where they start making real income. And the lifespan of such income is so short, on “average” its never worth it. So dont feel bad about us norms having jobs. Those internet celebs are getting paid in herbal teas and trips to horrible all inclusive resorts, but they dont have health insurance and their mom pays their rent. Then in two years when JiggleClick, the new hot instant streaming social GPS app takes the nation by storm, they will be trying to pay the rent with coupons to CiCi’s unlimited pizza buffet they got for a cheesy bread endorsement.

So not to be a complete hater, yea, some of these kids make serious money. But its like saying “the average musician makes $50 million a year” by using Taylor Swift and Coldplay as your data set. You can count the internet celebs making that kind of money on your hands. The rest are just hanging on for dear life keeping up appearances.