Research Outline

Creators' Annual Revenue


To get a better understanding of how much money creators make off their audiences annually, including money made from merchandise, touring, and brand deals.

Early Findings

General Facts

  • The amount of money influencers make depends on the influencer, the size of their influence, and several other factors. "Nailing down precise earning figures is near enough impossible for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the social media age is barely a decade old, so there isn’t a whole lot of data to work with. Secondly, it’s in an influencer’s interest to project an aspirational image at all times, even if it doesn’t really match their everyday reality. In the fashion sphere especially, influencers’ entire personas are dependent on a glamour that still feels attainable and relatable, yet is distant enough to hold followers’ fascination. So it’s only logical that an influencer would lie to cover up their true worthwhile maintaining a glamorous facade."
  • 72% of major brands say they are dedicating a sizable portion of their marketing budgets to influencers — people with a strong relationship to an audience who can heavily sway decisions like purchasing habits.
  • YouTube and Instagram are the most common sites to be creators for.
  • There is an unspoken rule that influencers can expect to be paid $10 for every 1,000 followers they have, once they hit 100,000 followers.
  • According to a decade-long study by a professor at the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany, 96.5 percent of YouTubers don’t make enough annual ad revenue to reach the U.S. federal poverty line.
  • "54% of social media influencers say they'd be more likely to posts in exchange for free products or in-kind if they're a genuine fan of the brand or product". An In-Kind transaction occurs when compensation is made in the form of assets (products, land, etc.) instead of cash.

Influencer/Creator Incomes

  • Influencers with up to 1 million followers can get $10,000 [per post], depending on the platform.
  • Influencers with over 1 million follows can charge up to $250,000 per post. Especially if the content is on YouTube and the influencer is in the gaming industry.
  • Nanoinfluencer, people with smaller followings, can make between $30,000-$60,000 per year.
  • Micro-influencers can make from $40,000-$100,000. (6,000-10,000 followers). These accounts can make, on average, of $88 per post.
  • Influencers with 50,000 to 80,000 followers get around $200.00 per post, but the price point changes based on the advertiser. Some accounts make deals with brands to post promotional codes on their feed, and every time a new person uses their code, they make a percentage of the sale. Other accounts opt into giveaway deals that purely boost their follower count.
  • Accounts with 250,000 to 500,000 followers have hit the jackpot of Instagram influencing, with possible earnings averaging at $670.00 per post.

Actual Influencer Salaries

Mallory Cornelison, @mallory__cornelison

  • 27.2k Instagram followers, 109k YouTube subscribers
  • Houston
  • Average annual income from social media: $12,000
  • YouTube AdSense: $5,000
  • Sponsorships: $5,000 to $7,000
  • She spends 8-plus hours a day creating content, editing, and doing administrative work like responding to comments and answering emails.

Valeria Hinojosa, @waterthruskin

  • 134k Instagram followers
  • Miami
  • Average annual income from social media: $150,000 to $200,000 (all of which comes via Instagram sponsored content).
  • For the past four years, she’s been earning money through Instagram. Hinojosa works with sustainable and conscious brands, making anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 per post.

Research Paths/Resources

There was not enough time to go into the following resources, but they are useful to the project.

Results of Initial Research

  • Information on this topic is plentiful. One of the challenges will be to narrow down incomes, since there are so many variables that come into play.
  • Initial research did not discover the average income from merchandise, touring, and brand deals, although it is very likely that some averages are out there to give a better idea of how profitable these paths are.