Social media influencers increasingly rely on brand collaborations

Brand collaborations have become the main source of income for one in five influencers.

social media influencer

The number of social media influencers who rely on brand collaborations as their main source of income is on the rise.

This is one of the key findings of the UK Influencer Survey 2020, published by PR software developer Vuelio and the Canterbury Christ Church University. The study revealed that 19% of influencers (Bloggers, Vloggers and Instagram influences) now rely on brand collaborations for their main source of income – more than double the number since the survey was conducted in 2016 (8%).

Turning professional

The reason people blog is also changing, according to the survey. Since 2016, the percentage of people who blog for a hobby has decreased by 8%, while the number who say they do it as their main source of income has increased by 11%.

This influencer advertising trend is set to continue, as is its influence on how brands advertise, with 49% of influencers now considering themselves ‘professional’ – up 11% from 2016.

There are many ways in which influencers make money and charge different rates depending on the size of their audience. For example, 61% of influencers charge for sponsored blog posts and 46% for social media posts.

The rates influencers charge can also drastically differ, with 16% charging more than £500 per collaboration with a brand and 9% charging more than £1,000. This price can differ again when it comes to brand ambassador programmes, which include multiple posts across multiple days and/or platforms. 77% of influencers charge for thse programmes, with rates ranging from 23% of influencers charging £250 and 4% charging more than £1,000.

CMO at Vuelio, Natalie Orringe, said: “Their success goes hand in hand with influencer marketing as a whole becoming more professional with a much-needed focus on transparency and standards. This will be vital to its long-term future.”

The amount of time influencers spend on their blog also varies drastically, with most of them spending just around 5-10 hours per week on it. However, in the past four years, the amount of influeners spending more than 30 hours per week on their blogs has increased from 8% to 18%.

Kristine Pole, from the Business School at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “Influencers are working harder, with more spending more than 30 hours per week and almost a fifth treating it as their main role. Much of this additional work is driven by cross-channel content creation, using a blog as the ‘mother’ channel then creating content to disseminate across other social media ‘children’ namely Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

“In this way, influencers are starting to build their own media brand and with only 30% of all content receiving compensation, will need to balance their independence with the demands of advertisers.”

When looking to advertise within the influencer industry it is notable that the five most popular categories are lifestyle, travel, food, parenting, and fashion and beauty. These five topics alone make up 57% of the influencer industry.

The 482 influencers that took part in the survey responded between February and March 2020, prior to lockdown. Some influencers said that paid work has decreased since lockdown, but traffic and interaction with their online content has increased.

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