How Much Do Instagram Influencers Make + 4 Best Ways

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A place where you can make a living out of your passions? It sure as hell sounds appealing, but how does it all work?

Instagram is at the top of influencer marketing platforms, and it allows you to create a following, grow it and monetize it. As such, it provides a seemingly endless opportunity for financial gain.

But how much do Instagram influencers make for real?

It really depends on a lot of factors, like how famous someone is, and what types of content they do and promote. The amount of money influencers can make is somewhere between $50 to $2 million per single post.

In this article, I am going to demystify all that goes behind the scenes and show you how the most successful creators generate up to a million dollars per post.

How Much Do Instagram Influencers Make?

The amount of money Instagram influencer brings in ranges from $50 per post all the way up to $2 million as we will come to learn.

How much do Instagram influencers make will depend on many variables. I will discuss these and mention some real-life examples to better illustrate my points.

1. How Much Do Influencers Earn Through Sponsored Posts?

Cristiano Ronaldo

Sponsored posts are perhaps the most common way of monetization for Instagram influencers. They are a staple for making money on the platform, and there are many good reasons why. They provide a low entry barrier and require virtually no effort.

Sponsored posts are a form of brand deal that have an influencer post pictures and stories featuring a product given by an advertiser. Compelling sponsored posts are those that reflect genuine likings of the influencer and are generally well received by the audience, despite being tagged as ads. They are usually paid a flat rate, but there are exceptions.

Take Liz Eswein, for example. On Instagram, she goes by the name @NewYorkCity, she is one of the first users to ever use the platform, and she has capitalized on a unique and recognizable name that generates impressions effortlessly. She has been getting paid $1 per like on her sponsored posts featuring her home city. She has had posts reach over 20.000 likes.

Talking about outliers, it would be silly not to mention top celebrities, how much they earn and why they earn as much.

Dwayne Johnson is an outlier among outliers, a superstar movie actor whose film career has helped him boost his Instagram account to over 200 million followers. It has been reported that he makes over 1 million dollars per post, making him the highest-paid Instagram influencer.

Naturally, seeing these huge numbers can make a person scratch their head and ask themselves, “wait, can’t they just make unlimited posts and essentially print money?”. The short answer would be no. The thing is, there are many limitations imposed on Instagram influencers, mainly the number of suitable advertisers and the number of times they can post.

As Instagram influencers, they have to maintain a certain reputation. Each sponsorship has to be vetted carefully because making a sponsored post in collaboration with the wrong brand can be detrimental. No one would feel okay supporting a creator that has worked with companies exposed for shady practices or bad products.

Besides this, they are also really limited by the number of times they post. In theory, they could accept multiple deals and spam their followers’ feeds every day, but that would do a huge damage long term. It would result in people losing interest, dropping the follower count, and deflating their engagement rate.

As we can see, there are many things that influence how often they can create a sponsored post. A careless mistake can influence every subsequent deal they make in the future.

2. How Much Do Influencers Earn via Instagram Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing has been around since the inception of internet marketing. It works on a basis where the creator is rewarded for sharing an affiliate link and is a great way to generate passive income. The link is custom-made for the creator, and it can track many things.

Most commonly, it rewards the influencer a percentage on every sale that is achieved after Instagram users have clicked their link. Although sometimes, it will reward other things such as the number of impressions, new users registered to a platform, and so on.

There is also an alternative that is becoming increasingly popular, which is discount codes. Influencers are given their own special discount codes, which they can share with their audience. They are different in application, but they share all the qualities of affiliate links.

marianodivaio influencer

There are plenty of ways to make money on Instagram for affiliate marketing influencers.

Traditionally, people would make an Instagram post consisting of a picture with the promoted product and would post the link in the post’s description. Similarly, they will use Instagram stories with the product and a clickable link.

The other really common method is putting the affiliate links in their bio. This ensures that the link or links is and are visible to anyone visiting their profile at all times.


Some Instagram influencer bios are full of brand partnerships, and if they posted each link in the bio it would get cluttered quickly. To avoid this some influencers will use tools like Instabio.

with love and jules links

The tools will provide a clickable link that opens another window with all the sponsored content and other relevant links.

Understanding these tools is crucial for being good at influencer marketing. It allows a creator to generate more revenue and increase their presence on other social media.

Knowing all this theory is really important, but by this point, you are probably wondering what the actual figures that are being made are.

Money Instagram influencers make with affiliate marketing ranges from 5% of the sale up to 50% on the high end. Some arrangements offer a flat rate instead of paying a percentage.

If we have an influencer with 10 thousand followers promote a product that is priced at $100 with a 10% commission, and they manage to make 50 sales, they will earn $500. You can change any of these variables and understand how much Instagram influencers make.

3. How Much Money Do Influencers Earn by Selling Merch?

In influencer marketing, merch is an umbrella term that describes a set of personalized products sold by an influencer. It includes apparel, mugs, notebooks, blankets, patches, magnets, and you get the idea.

selling merch on Instagram

To understand exactly how much Instagram influencers make, we have to take a look at some numbers. To produce a t-shirt, for example, they have to allocate somewhere around $4 per t-shirt, and those t-shirts will usually be sold at around $20. Therefore, selling 100 shirts would earn them $1600 without factoring in other potential expenses.

The are three things that determine the manufacturing cost of the item you want to sell, and those are blank t-shirts, supplies, and labor.

Blank t-shirts are surprisingly cheap, and they can be bought for as low as $1, but they go up to $4 and higher depending on materials used, craftsmanship, colors, and so on.

Supplies are the things that are being put on the t-shirt. It is the material that will create designs, logos, and letters. I will use opaque vinyl material as an example. The yard of this material will cost you around $11. This amount of it is sufficient to create 20 designs, which comes out to $0.55 per design.

Now, if the influencer doesn’t plan on doing the work themselves to save money, they have to pay someone else to do it. The people who are putting all the materials together manually and creating the final product can usually make a little over 15 t-shirts an hour. If they are paid $10 per hour, it comes out to around $0.66 per shirt.

This is the summary of a method that often generates serious cash for Instagram influencers. It describes the process through the example of t-shirts, but the process is not that much different when it comes to other types of products mentioned earlier.

Despite being a good way to make money, some Instagram influencers might find this procedure very daunting, and there are good reasons for that. It requires a large amount of time and investment, and there is also a risk that comes with managing inventory.

To remedy this, some people will use print-on-demand services. It is a collaboration between the influencer and white-label product supplier in which the creator does not have to pay anything until a product has been sold. They have the provide the design, and the rest of the job will be done by the supplier. This includes manufacturing, billing, shipping, and so on.

4. How Much Money Do Influencers Earn through Instagram Reels?

Reels are short-form TikTok-inspired videos that average around $1000 per ten million views. They might be the worst monetization strategy in the whole influencer marketing space. If the pay-to-view ratio was not bad enough, wait until I tell you that some creators do not get paid at all!

reels play bonuses

To be able to earn money through Instagram reels, you have to be a part of Reels Play Bonuses. Reels Play Bonuses is a payment program that is directly funded by Instagram. For an influencer to join it, they need to have at least 1000 views over a 30 days period.

Fulling the above-mentioned requirements does not instantly qualify you. You still need to be accepted by Instagram.

Despite being a poor way to directly make money, reels are still a useful tool for most influencers. Short-form videos are notorious for reaching high numbers of views quickly. A good creator will know how to convert some of this attention into a new following, which will, at the end of the day, boost their earnings.

Other Ways to Make Money on Instagram

So far, I have mentioned several most common ways to earn money on Instagram, but there are quite a few that do not fit any particular category. In this section, I will mention some of the other methods that many influencers have used to build their influencer career.

  1. Selling variety products
  2. Onlyfans modeling
  3. Courses and programs

Selling variety products

I have already mentioned one of the categories of products which is merch. And while every merch item is a product, not every product is merch.

Merch is usually directly connected to someone’s personal image, while regular products kind of has a brand of their own.

A good example of this is Connor McGregors whiskey, proper twelve, which has made its owner over 600 million dollars. It is a product that has the personal touch of its creator in itself, but it could be sold as a standalone product.

Connor McGregor's Whiskey

Products like this appeal to a wider audience and can be sold to people who are outside of a specific community or a fandom.

Most Instagram influencers would have trouble making this kind of enterprise work because it entails more than just selling memorabilia to people who are already invested in them.

Onlyfans modeling

Onlyfans is a website that has allowed some influencers like Blac Chyna to make over $20 million in a year and become some of the top OnlyFans earners.

It was originally created to strengthen the relationship between influencers and their audience. The audience would pay a monthly fee to unlock bonus content and direct messages with the influencer.

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It was not limited to any specific category, but over time, it has evolved to having mostly sexual content, and that is what it is recognized by.

Many top influencers have leveraged their Instagram following to make more money on Onlyfans. The formula is simple. They often use teasing pictures that link to their Onlyfans account with more explicit content.

Selling courses and programs

Selling courses and programs is a wonderful way to make money on Instagram, even for “micro-influencers.” These are creators who have a small follower count (1000 – 100000), which is comprised of highly passionate people. Despite not having a million followers, they are usually able to make a nice buck.

A highly sought professional in a specific niche might not be popular amongst the general audience but might be very popular among a small circle. Such an example is Coach Curtis, highly competitive gaming professional. Curtis has been selling his improvement programs for $30 per person way before hitting 100k followers.

Wrapping It Up

In this article, I went over how much Instagram influencers make and the ins and outs of the craft. Covering some mega influencers as well as some smaller ones. The effect of niches and the number of followers and engagement.

Hopefully, reading this has given you a more nuanced understanding of how influencer marketing works and all the factors that play into it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do influencers get paid on Instagram?

Influencers on the low end will earn around 50 bucks per post, while mega influencers like Cristiano Ronaldo make up to two million dollars per post. They can make almost any amount of money, and there are not any rules set in stone.

Who are the highest-paid Instagram influencers?

The highest-paid influencers on Instagram are Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylie Jenner, Leo Messi, Selena Gomez, Dwayne Johnson, and Ariana Grande.

I have lined them up by highest average pay to lowest. While Ronaldo will earn from $800k to $1 million per post, Ariana will earn from $600k to $1 million.

Who spends the most on influencer marketing?

Here are some of the highest amounts of money brands have spent on influencer-sponsored content:

*Fashion Nova $40 million,
*Flat Tummy Co $13.5 million,
*Ciroc $11.8 million,
*Walmart $9.3 million,
*Pretty Little Thing $7.6 million,
*Luc Blaire $6.7 million,
*Carolina Lemke $6.2 million,
*Calvin Klein $5.3 million.

How many followers are needed to earn on Instagram?

How many Instagram followers someone has is not necessarily the most important thing when it comes to earning on Instagram.

There are dead accounts with over one million fake followers. These accounts do not have the key factors, which is the engagement rate from the audience.

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Mell is one of the Stream Mentor's co-founders and a versatile content writer. She's helping other streamers get their visuals right, set the right panel, use the right lighting, install overlays properly and boost the stream quality to a great extent.

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