How Do Influencers Make Money?

Online influencer marketing is a relatively new creation, but it has fundamentally changed how brands communicate with consumers. People with targeted audiences are now the focus of advertising efforts. Influencers can tap from small to larger audiences thus, giving companies another way to promote their products. Indeed, influencers make money by selling digital products via sponsorships and affiliations, brand ambassadors programs, and physical products.

Influencer marketing involves the marketing of products or services that leverages the popularity, expertise, or reputation of an individual. Influencer marketing is often associated with those who have large social media followings, but popularity should not be confused with influence. Influence has the power to change consumer perceptions or get their audience to do something different.

Digital products

Digital products are profitable for influencers because they are cheap to produce. They usually take the form of e-books, travel guides, workout programs, meal plans, checklists, and organizational templates.

Ultimately, digital products allow influencers to leverage their expertise on a given product. Consumers are also more than happy to pay for information that is neatly arranged and synthesized for easy consumption.


Podcasts make money in several ways. The primary sources of revenues from podcasting come from affiliate marketing, advertisements (in the form of pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll), sponsorships, selling your own products, or by using podcasting to sell consulting services. Podcasting is an effective marketing and distribution channel, and it can be integrated into a business model.

Many social media influencers have also jumped on the podcasting bandwagon as a way to solidify the connection with their audience and share free content.

Here, revenue can be collected from advertisements played at various intervals during the recording. Some may also choose to speak with industry experts and promote their products in exchange for taking a commission on sales generated. Lastly, some influencers make money by charging users a small subscription fee to listen.

A podcast is a potential marketing and distribution channel and a whole new business model for media companies. A podcast can be promoted via SEO (by enabling Google to index and rank the podcast), social media, RSS feed, using tags and proper categories, and leveraging on guests’ audience.

With sponsored posts, brands work with influencers to promote their products in exchange for money. This practice is common in the travel industry, where hotels, destinations, or airlines hire influencers to promote specific locations.

How much money each influencer makes depends on their niche, reach, and the product or service involved. Most will stipulate so-called deliverables including social media posts, blog posts, and videos.

TikTok is a creative media platform, which is widely popular among young people, but it is also quickly scaling up. With its formats primarily driven by a continuous scroll and its powerful AI, TikTok is the stickiest media platform on earth. It has massive potential for companies that understand how to leverage it to build an effective digital marketing strategy.
The most used and most popular Advertisement platform is Instagram. Every other brand is now hopping on to Instagram and creating a vivacious presence using its content, strategy, and action plan. Instagram can be integrated into a digital strategy to build a strong brand and generate demand for your products.

Brand ambassadorship

If the arrangement between the influencer and the brand extends beyond one or two sponsored posts, it may be classified as brand ambassadorship. 

This is generally more lucrative for the influencer because of the time and effort involved in promoting the brand to their audience. Brands typically pay influencers on a retainer basis to secure their services for months or even years. 

Influencers may also receive an additional fee for every piece of content created or receive a fixed percentage of every sale they facilitate.

Physical products

A somewhat unique means of making money for influencers is by creating physical products.

This type of influencer monetization is most prevalent in the food, fitness, travel, health, and cosmetics industries. Brands work with influencers to co-create a physical product, collection, or range. Once released, they can earn money through commissions or via a flat fee depending on the contractual arrangement. 

One notable example is Quay Australia, a company that has worked with various influencers over the years to co-design a range of sunglasses. It then promotes them on Instagram using branded hashtags unique to each influencer.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Influencers can also earn money via affiliate marketing. When they recommend a product or service, they are financially compensated when a follower makes a purchase.

Affiliate programs are most commonly associated with large eCommerce sites such as Amazon. But in truth, they can be implemented by businesses of any size, shape, or form. 

Influencers can also make money by establishing an affiliate program for their own products. With an army of affiliates promoting products on their behalf, the influencer can increase sales revenue by doing very little.

Key takeaways:

  • Influencer marketing has fundamentally changed how brands communicate with consumers. Targeted, people-focused advertising is seen as better use of company funds than traditional forms of less targeted promotion.
  • Influencers make money by selling digital products to leverage their expertise in a specific niche. Selling advertising and promoting products via podcasts is also effective.
  • Influencers work with brands to promote affiliated products via sponsored posts. More lucrative returns can be had by longer-term relationships, otherwise known as brand ambassadorships.

Read Next: What Is Influencer Marketing, How To Become An Influencer, Types Of Influencers, Instagram Marketing, How Does Instagram Make Money, How Does TikTok Make Money, TikTok Marketing.

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