Best Practices

Part 1: The Real Costs of Influencer Campaigns

By Chris Gonzalez

It’s no secret that brands and agencies alike are experiencing a rapid growth in demand for influencer marketing campaigns. Since 2014, we’ve seen the industry grow from experimenting with advertising tactic brands to 84% of marketers planning to launch influencer campaigns within the next 12 months. There’s no doubt we’re at the point where the industry is maturing and coming into its own.

In 2016 alone, 60% of brands implemented influencer marketing into their promotional strategy. By the end of 2017, the number grew to an even higher 75% utilization rate. As a result, marketers experience increased pressure to create more efficient, impactful, and profitable influencer marketing campaigns.

Setting up, managing, and deploying influencer marketing campaigns can be costly and time-consuming because influencer marketing campaigns are inherently human.

Marketers fail to gain a deep understanding of how to deploy influencer campaigns risking a massive amount of inefficiencies. However, with careful planning and the right tools could have been avoided.

That’s why we created this three-part guide to help marketers understand the actual costs associated and investment required for results. And then we show to apply the most practical, battle-tested advice we could possibly assemble and used to start increasing the overall effectiveness and profitability of influencer marketing campaigns.

Time Is Money


There are 5 main steps to creating a successful influencer marketing campaign: Influencer identification, recruitment, negotiation, campaign management and measurement.

Each one has its own requirements, but they have one common problem. They need a marketer’s most valuable asset: time.

We explained: why these costs exist, the importance of creating a dedicated influencer marketing budget due to the specific category cost, and infrastructure requirements.

Here we go into detail about operational labor costs that associated with campings and what marketers can expect when fulfilling a typical campaign manually.

Calculating The Real Operational Costs

Photo by Iryna Tysiak

According to Indeed, the current domestic influencer marketer skill set ranges from approximately $54,009 to $101,997 per year based on salary information derived from over 42,729 data points in the last 12 months.

For the sake of simplicity, we will average the two primary data points for an average annual labor cost of $77,953 or $37.48 per hour (assuming a full-time workload at 40 hours per week).

When considering the labor hours required to manually identify, recruit, negotiate, manage, measure, and report on a typical influencer marketing campaign, we measured the following.

  • Using just 10 influencers
  • At a ten percent acceptance rate (number of influencers opting-in to a campaign / total number of influencers contacted)
  • Total required labor came out to 110 man-hours.

Multiplying our campaign fulfillment hours by the average cost per labor hour, the total operational cost for an influencer campaign with just ten participants came out to a whopping $4,122.80.

All before a single influencer was ever compensated for content creation, distribution, or promotion.

$77,953 Avg LC Per Yr / 52 Wks = $1,499.10 LC Per Wk

$1,499.10 Avg LC Per Wk / 40 Hrs Per WK = $37.48 Avg. LC Per HR

110 Req. Man Hrs x $37.48 Avg. LC Per HR = $4,122.80 Req. LC

As you can tell from the above measurements, operational related costs add up quickly. Especially when marketers scale campaigns using more than just ten influencers.

It’s for this reason alone savvy agencies and brand advertisers should take proven influencer marketing workflow techniques seriously before embarking on this type of paid media campaign.

This article was written by Chris Gonzalez

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