How much money a micro influencer charges brands for sponsorships and how she calculates her rates

  • Tyler Chanel, 26, is a sustainability “micro” influencer on Instagram and YouTube.
  • As more brands reached out last year, Chanel realized she needed to calculate starting rates.
  • Chanel spoke with Insider about how much money she charges, her rate calculator, and sustainability.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tyler Chanel, 26, is a sustainability influencer and “ethical blogger” based in Los Angeles. 

Chanel started her blog “Thrifts and Tangles” in 2012 and made a YouTube channel the following year. Like many creators, Chanel’s blog started out as a hobby, but over time, that hobby evolved into a broader platform for herself — and also a paying side job.

Across her Instagram feed and YouTube videos, Chanel talks about ethical consumption and how her followers can apply her tips to their everyday lives. Her content ranges from thrift shopping excursions to natural hair and beauty care tips. 

“I’m very focused on sustainability,” Chanel told Insider. “And for me, I really want to make sure companies are fair trade. I want to make sure they’re paying their workers a fair living wage.” 

Today Chanel has about 12,000 Instagram followers and 10,000 YouTube subscribers. And it wasn’t until recently that Chanel’s career as an influencer started taking off. 

“Last year is when I started getting a lot of brands asking me for my rates and they finally were willing to pay me,” Chanel said.  

Before that, Chanel was receiving free gifted products or working with brands through affiliates, which allow creators to earn a small commission on sales through links or discount codes. 

But when brands began to ask Chanel about her rates, she had no idea what to charge. 

“I started doing a lot of research,” she said, which included talking to other influencers, watching YouTube videos and listening to podcasts, and asking the public relations representatives who handle these kinds of deals themselves. 

“Micro” influencers like Chanel (who generally have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers) typically charge anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for sponsored content. And in 2020, brands and marketers took a notable turn towards smaller-scale influencers. 

After researching, Chanel then started doing some calculations, and with time, she landed on her own rates. 

Here is a breakdown of Chanel’s current starting rates for sponsored content:

  • In-feed photo(s): $500 to 650
  • Instagram Story: $100 to $250
  • Instagram Reel: $750 to $850
  • YouTube video: $1,000

Insider verified these rates with documentation provided by Chanel. 

How she calculates her rates and extra fees

Chanel’s starting rates for sponsored content aren’t arbitrary. She uses a combination of percentages and formulas to determine her fees — and keeps everything very organized in spreadsheets, Chanel said. 

In order to determine her base rate, Chanel uses a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model of $10 to $25 per thousand, and factors in her engagement rate. 

To calculate rates for any campaign, Chanel accounts for the following:

  • Which platform the campaign will live on (i.e. Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.)
  • Her follower count and engagement rate
  • Whether their content for the sponsorship is niche-specific
  • Any costs for travel and necessary equipment
  • If video content is part of the deliverables (which typically costs more than photo content)
  • Any usage rights, exclusivity, rush fees, revisions, and “whitelisting”

And these latter details often drastically impact an influencer’s rate for a campaign. Usage rights refers to how a brand can use an influencer’s content, and exclusivity is when an influencer can’t work with any competitors of a brand for a certain period of time. Whitelisting is when a brand is given permission to use an influencer’s content as a paid ad on a platform like Instagram.

Chanel is a “micro” influencer on Instagram and YouTube.Courtesy Tyler Chanel

Once Chanel had a firm grasp of how to price her content, it helped her negotiate for higher rates and not “undervalue” herself, she said. 

“I think it’s so important because — especially women of color — throughout the industry, it’s known that we undercharge,” Chanel said. “And I think if you have the understanding of why you’re charging what you’re charging, it makes you feel more confident as a creator and you feel more justified in asking for those numbers.”

After Chanel shared her formula with a few peers, she decided to share it further. In February, Chanel launched her first digital product: an influencer rate calculator. 

And now, selling her own digital product helps her keep an income even when she’s not working with brands.

‘As a sustainable influencer, you turn down a lot of deals’

Sustainability and the influencer industry don’t always go hand-in-hand, and Chanel is well aware. 

“It’s hard because we’re promoting sustainability and living an eco-conscious lifestyle, and oftentimes, don’t want people mindlessly buying products,” Chanel said. “But as an influencer, our job is to raise awareness and bring awareness about products to people.”

It’s a bit of a catch-22, and often, Chanel will ask herself, “Am I promoting consumerism too much?” or “Am I being true to my message of being sustainable?” 

However, Chanel said she finds a balance.

She uses her platform as a way to promote sustainability through lifestyle influencing (such as her thrifting or minimal waste content), while still sharing brands and products with her audience that help them live sustainably. Chanel will do a few sponsored posts each month with brands she’s vetted beforehand, either by reading their websites or getting on a phone call with them. 

But sometimes, Chanel will turn down or postpone a brand deal that comes into her inbox because she’s done too many sponsored posts in a month. And other times, she’ll turn down deals strictly because a brand is not sustainable or does not align with her values.

“As a sustainable influencer, you turn down a lot of deals,” Chanel said. 

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