The world’s fixation on breakout reality stars is resulting in lucrative brand sponsorship deals across Instagram. While reality stars translating their TV fame into off-screen money making opportunities isn’t a new phenomenon, the growth of social media, rise of its “influencers,” and ability to make a sizable income just off of Instagram has only recently become a reality. Instagram has provided a means for contestants on the Bachelor and other reality shows to translate their exposure from the show into a social media footprint and lasting exposure.
Just how much can top reality stars on Instagram earn? Our forecasts (detailed below) peg the median amount nearly $1 million a year. For an in-depth look at how top reality TV stars can feasibly make close to if not well over $1 million a year off of brand sponsored deals on Instagram, what percentage of their Instagram posts are sponsored, the brands working with reality TV stars, and much more, view our infographic and methodology below:
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Instagram’s popularity and 800 million monthly active users (over 60% are daily active users) have given rise to a new class of celebrity, the social media influencer. Top social media influencers are power users on Instagram “Instagrammers,” YouTube “YouTubers,” or Facebook who amassed hundreds of thousands to millions of followers through sharing relatable, aspirational photo and video content and engaging regularly with fans.
To reach social media influencer audiences, brands pay Instagrammers or YouTubers for sponsored content (also known as influencer marketing) contributing to a $1 billion dollar 2018 influencer marketing spend on Instagram alone.
Social media savvy reality stars, fueled by their TV fame, are often able to build hundreds of thousands if not millions of followers in a relatively short time span. As a result of their audiences on Instagram and their trending popularity, brands are eager to pay top reality TV stars to advertise products and services on each TV stars’ Instagram channel.
Related Post: The 10 Highest Paid Celebrities On Instagram
To calculate how much a reality TV star can feasibly make off of Instagram in one year, we tracked several trending and popular stars over 30 days and identified posts were 1) Definitively sponsored (i.e. followed proper FTC disclosure guidelines for sponsored social media post), 2) likely sponsored (i.e. prominent featuring of a brand in the post and descriptions but without using #ad or other FTC disclosure compliance), and 3) not sponsored.
Sponsorship rates for Instagram posts can vary greatly depending on a number of factors including but not limited to number of followers, rate of engagement, and likes. (For a detailed breakdown of influencer marketing costs and pricing, see our guide). As such, we calculated how much a reality TV star could be making on Instagram using a designation of low ($5,000), mid ($10,000), and high ($15,000) rate per sponsored post.
On average, top reality TV stars tracked posted seven to eight (~7.4) definitively sponsored posts (properly disclosed sponsored brand) in a month. Using the low-end single sponsored Instagram post rate ($5K), a top reality TV star could realistically make $37,000 per month on Instagram, totaling $444,000 in a year.
Looking beyond the low end of sponsorship rates (and still using 7.4 for number of confirmed sponsored posts), top reality TV stars could be making anywhere from $888k to $1.33 million a year for mid ($10K) and high ($15K) per sponsored post rates, respectively.
While we based our forecast on the sponsored post monthly rate of 7.4, the actual number may be higher (factoring in posts that may have been sponsored, just not properly disclosed or ambiguous in sponsorship nature) resulting in even larger sponsorship earnings for reality TV stars on Instagram. Additionally, there are many other ways influencers can make money on Instagram beyond brand sponsored posts, like creating blog content, hosting a giveaway, or posting to Stories.
Of the reality TV stars we tracked, nearly 28% of all their monthly Instagram posts were definitively sponsored, ranging from 11% to nearly 38%.
While a reality TV star’s airtime may be relatively short-lived, Instagram fame and followers may last a bit longer especially for those stars who are able to successfully pivot their TV fame into an entertaining social media presence or create viable businesses leveraging their online audiences (e.g. Bethenny Frankel, Shay Mitchell, Lauren Conrad).
Social media is ever evolving with new features, trends, and algorithms that favor engaging content from top influencers and creators. As the fastest growing and one of the most effective channels of advertising, influencer marketing has grown tremendously alongside increasing numbers of smartphone users and time spent on social media. For now, it appears reality TV stars will continue to cash in on their Instagram fame to the tune of six to seven figures a year.