"£143 grand for one YouTube video? Are you kidding me?"

With recent headlines stating that some of the top social influencers can cost an average of £143,000 for a sponsored video on their YouTube channel, it's no surprise that the City of Glasgow College is now offering students a course dedicated to being a social influencer.

We need to start accurately measuring the results of influencer campaigns, argues Matt Donegan
We need to start accurately measuring the results of influencer campaigns, argues Matt Donegan
Compared with other forms of media buying, some of you may be thinking "wow, for a whole video by a celebrity on my brand… that’s actually quite cheap!" 

But what about £75,000 for one Instagram post? Or £30,000 for just one tweet? 

There’s no denying that most would actually think these numbers excessive, yet it’s not unusual to hear them being quoted within the industry. 

So just how are these figures decided and more importantly, how are they justified?

The problem is, while more PR companies and advertisers consider implementing an 'influencer' strategy there currently lacks an industry standard and agents are putting a fee on social media publicity without knowing or understanding how marketing budgets actually work. 

The term ROI seems to be alien to many in the 'social influencer' industry, where the most valuable measurement is often subscriber numbers.

This means there is no level playing field, nor transparency.
This works for the agents who are making big money for YouTube stars with millions of subscribers, but the current state of play disregards and alienates the viable accounts that sometimes prove to have much more direct engagement with far fewer followers, and most importantly, offer far greater value for money. 

Ignorance is no longer an excuse. 

Media directors are now responsible for educating themselves on the impact of all kinds of influencers, ranging from your super-vloggers to mid-level and even micro influencers. 

Within the micro sector you could be more likely to find smaller but more engaged audiences who will develop a more meaningful relationship with your brand. 

But as bloated publicity fees continue to escalate and the competition to be ‘seen’ across the newest platforms becomes rife, rationality seems to fly out the window. 

The answer involves implementing a more recognised and widespread Cost-Per-Engagement (CPE) model that can analyse on a post-by-post/video-by-video basis. 

It’s important to remember that engagement levels are never fixed and can change considerably day by day, so being able to see direct engagement on a real-time basis can offer insight to marketers and consequently allow them to understand how their campaigns are actually affecting their business and how much they are paying to generate these results. 

We need to start accurately measuring the results of influencer campaigns and paying a fair and reasonable price for those results, because platforms will only get bigger, and span across more influencers, and eventually cost will be driven so high that it’s an unaffordable market.

And none of us want that. 

In the future I can only hope that people will actually start paying ‘influencers’ their worth, instead of inflated figures dreamt up by agents who prioritise short-term profits over developing a valuable and credible industry that delivers results for their clients, and their clients’ customers.

Matt Donegan is managing director of Social Circle 

Click on the links below to read some of PRWeek's articles on new influencers:

New influencers: changing the face of PR and marketing

Revealed: PRWeek's 50 hot new influencers

PRWeek hot new influencers
PRWeek hot new influencers

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