Paid vs. Unpaid Brand Sponsorships With Influencers [Infographic]

Brand Influencers Social Media Sponsorships Pay Cost

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Should You Pay Brand Influencers? Paid Vs. Unpaid Sponsorships [Infographic]

Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing form of advertising today, and with good reason—according to Tomoson, an influencer outreach software maker, influencer marketing campaigns yield an average ROI of $6.85 for every $1 invested, and 81% of brands who used influencer marketing in 2015 were happy with the results (eMarketer). Because influencer marketing campaigns have proven efficacious for brands, however, the price of working with top social media stars has steadily risen in recent years, leading some marketers to consider developing unpaid partnerships with today's most popular YouTubers, Instagrammers, Snapchatters, and bloggers.

As we highlight in the infographic below, collaborating with social media and/or brand influencers for unpaid sponsorships can be one way to reach social media audiences, but these kinds of influencer partnerships can come with hidden costs of their own.

Related Post: How Brands Are Marketing On Instagram Without Sponsored Ads

Working With Brand Influencers: To Pay Or Not To Pay

As the cost of working with social media influencers climbs—the world's most popular digital stars (those with over 1 million followers/subscribers) can now command around $100,000 for a campaign, according to one advertising executive (Digiday)—brands are finding other ways to compensate high-reach influencers for their posts, brand mentions, Snapchat Takeovers, and/or product placements. Alternative payments can come in the form of free gifts, complimentary products, access to events, vacations, pro bono services, and more.

While brands like Daniel Wellington have reached millions on Instagram through unpaid partnerships, this level of success should not be considered the norm. By definition, unpaid campaigns allow the "sponsoring" company little or no say in the brand messaging or finalized content, and because non-paying collaborations are not measurable, it is often impossible to discern any positive outcome from the social media marketing efforts.

For companies that desire more control over their influencer marketing investments, working with social media stars through contracted, well-defined campaigns can help ensure positive outcomes for all parties. Also, instead of attempting to find, contact, and coordinate with influencers themselves, many global brands now work with influencer marketing agencies that have experience developing campaigns with top content creators.

Related Post: The Five Different Types Of Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Brand Influencers Paid Vs Unpaid Social Media Sponsorships Partnerships

For Unpaid Partnerships, Product Gifting, & PR:

  • Brands have little control over content or brand messaging
  • Campaigns can by flagged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for improper disclosure
  • No contracts are used when working with influencers
  • No metrics are available
  • Campaign performance is difficult/impossible to track
  • The Call To Action (CTA) is out of the brand's control
  • Companies cannot review content before publication
  • Influencers are not obligated to socially promote campaign
  • Brands are not guaranteed exclusivity
  • Typically excludes the ability to work with top influencers

Related Post: How PR Agencies Can Win With Influencer Marketing

For Paid Sponsorships:

  • Brands provide influencers with copy points and can review content before publication
  • Companies can review material, provide feedback, and make changes
  • Disclosure is required by law, FTC guidelines are clear and unambiguous
  • Brands may specify contract length, terms, and clauses that protect all parties
  • Tracking is provided and campaign metrics are well-documented
  • Influencer campaigns may be scheduled to coincide with other initiatives
  • Tracking links (to measure performance) may be used
  • Incentives are often used (i.e. coupons, contests) to increase user engagement
  • Social promotion is agreed upon and typically included in campaign
  • Brands may require exclusivity
  • Top social media influencers are available for campaigns and collaborations

Related Post: The Differences Between Brand Ambassadors, Social Media Influencers, & Celebrities

Also See Our Posts On:

How To Succeed With Your First Influencer Marketing Campaign

How To Find The Best Social Media Influencers For Your Next Campaign

Influencer Agreements: Everything You Need To Know

Our Comprehensive Guide To Influencer Marketing Outreach, Strategy, Implementation, Measurement, & More

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June 6, 2016 By Mediakix Team