Are Influencers Really Worth the Money?

By Paiame Shalalvand

If you search for “Influencer Marketing” you’ll get a bunch of Google ads from Influencer agencies. They promise to solve all your sales, traffic and branding the end they’re only a middle man with no added value.

Yet many brands pour in money in agencies without seeing any return on investment. At the same time they’re giving out all the secrets and insights. Insights that are essential to determine if you’re doing it right. Ask yourself, who has the best knowledge about your brand, you or the influencer agency? Going with an agency is a quick solution for brands with big budgets. If you fail you can easily blame the agency...

So to know if influencers are worth it you have to take control and own the data. The first step is to take influencer efforts in-house. If you already are working in-house, great! I’ve summarized 4 key things to think about when working in-house with influencer marketing.

Type of influencer

With every marketing channel it’s important to have the right expectations. That’s why you need to know what different influencer types usually deliver results. Here are 4 influencer types:

  • Nano (1k-10k)
  • Micro (10k-100k)
  • Mid (100k-500k)
  • Macro (500k+)

Let’s say we’re going to collaborate with nano and mid influencers. With nano you should focus on sales and traffic. Also by picking 100 nano from different categories you’ll know which category works best. When it comes to mid influencers it’s more about storytelling. Here I suggest 3-5 stories after each other. I would still create content to drive traffic/sales but it’s harder to get lucky and pick the winning profile. Continue to read and I’ll show you what to look at on a mid profile to increase your chance to actually generate sales.

Payment and gifting models

Depending on your goals with your campaign it’s good to know different payment models. Here are the most common.

Flat fee

  • Fixed amount
  • Usually based on numbers of followers (don’t forget to check fake followers)
  • Could be higher if the profile is someone known in the space

Performance based

  • Used by affiliate networks
  • Cost per engagement (CPE), cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Only transactional and not built on relationships


  • Widely accepted by nano influencers
  • Make sure you have high margins
  • High priced product, ask for post or story
  • Low priced product, no obligation to deliver


  • It’s like having a salesperson
  • Not ideal way to build relationship

I would focus on gifting and flat fee, mainly because it’s more common and simpler. As soon as you involve CPA and different metrics it gets a bit complicated for influencers, especially younger profiles. In our case, gifting for nano and flat fee for mid profiles.

Check audience demographics

When you’re working with bigger profiles and paying a flat fee you want to know what you’re paying for. There’s no pricing standard in this industry and every deal looks totally different. You want to analyze their audience before jumping into negotiations. First thing is to see the number of fake followers. You’ll always see fake followers and actually most of them are not bought by the influencers. Bigger profiles get it whether they like it or not. I would use the percentage of fake followers as an argument when negotiating down the price.

There are two important metrics to look at before contacting a mid/macro profile. Number one is gender distribution. If you’re targeting women you want to see at least 90 % women. Number two is followers’ nationality. Here you want to see majority from your market. In Scope you can easily get audience demographics of any profile to see fake followers and followers’ gender and nationality.

Overlapping audience?

Some profiles, specifically bigger, could have overlapping audiences. It basically means they have shared followers. In order to not let two profiles compete you want to know the overlap and not work with them at the same time. First of all influencers don’t like when they’re competing. Furthermore, some followers could react negatively when they feel like they see too many ads. But if you want the “retargeting-effect” you want overlapping audiences. Here’s an overlap audience report directly from Scope.


When you’re working in-house you have a lot more data to take action, either if it’s in negotiation or analyzing the collaboration. Of course there are more insights to know but if you know these you’ll build in-house knowledge which is valuable. With this knowledge you’ll know if influencers are worth it for your brand. It’s a better way than wasting a bunch of money at agencies.

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