How Much Should I Charge for Sponsored Posts?

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If you haven’t already then check out the prequel to this post on Why Bloggers Should Discuss Their Income! In that article, I discuss why talking about our income and how much we charge for sponsored posts shouldn’t be a taboo subject.

However, it is often a very common topic that comes up and so I felt that I should address how I decide how much to charge brands for sponsored posts and different factors that I consider. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

So, how much SHOULD I charge?

There is a difference between how much CAN I charge and how much SHOULD I charge for sponsored posts. This can be different based on a few things:

• Where is the brand/company located?

I wouldn’t charge the same to a US company or brand that I would to a company or brand in the Philippines. I would probably not even charge the same amount to a company in Skopje (South-Eastern Europe) that I would to one in Gothenburg, Sweden. It’s basic economics and based on purchasing power. Simply put, the average monthly salary after tax in Skopje is $351 and in Gothenburg it’s $2,435 (6 times higher).

Although I didn’t get paid for my trips to Skopje and Gothenburg, I did get sponsored stays for two nights in both cities. I consider both hostel stays worth the same in relation to the resulting blog posts in which they are mentioned. They may have been worlds apart in monetary terms of how much the stay would have actually cost me (around €53 for two nights in Gothenburg and €14 for two nights in Skopje) but the cost to each hostel was pretty much the same.

Visiting Gothenburg Sweden Feskekorka fish market

Visiting Gothenburg, Sweden in February 2016

• What is the brand/company?

Would you charge the same to a multinational corporation that you would to a small local charity? Probably not, huh? There are times when I have worked with small startups or charitable organisation on a product only basis, whereas for the same campaign with a large corporation I would have charged a few hundred $$.

I think most bloggers would agree with me that sometimes you will throw aside any of your standard fees when the organisation (charity or startup) is close to your heart in some way. It is also a great way to start with collaborations when your blog/social media following is slightly smaller. This goodwill can go far and having a long-term collaboration with a company can really benefit you.

Traveling Dutchies were the first company to collaborate with me and I will still feature their products on my Instagram if I was using it at the time. I will happily tag them in it and drive traffic to their Instagram, even though I now have 58,000 followers and we originally collaborated when I only had 4,000. They are a small Dutch start-up and I’m happy to bring them business if I can!

• Are there products involved?

Collaborations involving products will generally involve slightly different fees than those without. After all, if an airline wants to give me two tickets from Germany to somewhere in the Caribbean then I probably wouldn’t ALSO charge them for a blog post and/or Instagram posts. (Unless they’re offering, then go for it. Also if you’re an airline and want to give me free tickets, I need you in my life, so feel free to email me.)

Generally use your own discretion about how much the product is worth to you and factor that into how much you are charging.

ZEMAICIU BLYNAI Lithuanian potato pancakes

Is food involved? I’d probably charge less… I love free food even more than I just love food.

 

The Numbers

We have talked about how to decide what to charge and when to charge higher and when to offer a lower fee. But higher and lower than what? We will start with Instagram.

Instagram Sponsored Posts

How much should I charge Company X for a sponsored post? I get this question a lot and there seems to be no real consensus on the matter. As I demonstrated in my previous post on why we should discuss how much we charge, SocialBluebook suggests that I charge $458 for a post on my Instagram (59.3k followers – therefore this is approximately $7.70 CPM (cost per 1,000 followers). I generally find that SocialBluebook is pretty accurate when it comes to Instagram sponsored posts, as I generally recommend charging around $5-9 CPM, depending on the factors I mentioned previously.

At the end of 2015, global average CPM costs grew from $5.21 in September to a peak of $7.20 in November, before cooling off at $5.94 in December. (Source: Brand Networks)

I then decided to Google ‘how much to charge for Instagram sponsored posts’ to see what others were saying. One website told me (based on my follower number and engagement) that I should be charging $1,450! Another recommended that I charge $877. And then I also have the company that wants me to do a post for $30…

Why is there such a huge discrepancy with how much we should charge for sponsored posts? From the suggestions above I am being recommended to charge anything from $0.50 to $24.50 CPM. Quite a difference!

Social Bluebook tells you how much you could charge brands for sponsored posts

Here is a breakdown on how I decide what to charge a company:

1. Base cost of $5 – 9 per 1k followers 

Why is there a range? Engagement. As a company, I wouldn’t pay the same for a sponsored post to an influencer with 10,000 followers and 10% engagement that I would to an influencer with 10,000 followers and 2% engagement since, on average, 800 more users interact with Influencer 1 on a post than they do with Influencer 2.

It is the same as an influencer. With a very high engagement level, you can charge premium prices for a post as it will reach many more people. I was recently in discussions with an influencer marketing company who told me I was charging too high and recommended that I charge a similar amount to a fellow influencer. However, I checked out her profile and, even though she had more followers than me, each post garnered fewer likes and comments than each of mine.

What is good engagement? Engagement varies as your account grows but, generally speaking, 2-4% is acceptable and anything above 5% is excellent. Under 10k followers this is usually slightly higher, around 4-6% and then 8% and above. Some micro-influencers I know have less than 10k but 10-20% engagement and are often garnering more likes than some accounts with 60k!

For example, Janna consistently gets over 1,000 likes (1,700 here!) even though she has only 8,300 followers. That’s 20% engagement! (Also her Instagram is just #goals)

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. 👀🌈

A photo posted by Janna on a Jaunt • Travel Blog (@jannarizzy) on

If we look at the SocialBluebook value of how much they think I should charge for a sponsored post and compare it to my average engagement (comments + likes) on other sponsored posts (2.3k, 1.3k, 1.4k, 1.9k, 1.7k) then the CPE, or cost per engagement, comes out at $0.27 ($458 / 1,700).

An amount of around $0.25 – $0.40 per engagement (comment/like) is usually a good indication, and I would recommend comparing it to your CPM ($5-9 per 1k followers) and finding a number that suits both values.

e.g. 20k followers with 5% engagement (average 1k likes) = $100-180 CPM or $250-400 CPE

50k followers with 2% engagement (average 1k likes) = $250-450 CPM or $250-400 CPE

2. Cost markup/down based on brand 

As mentioned above, I would usually charge a different amount depending on if it was a large multi-national corporation or if it was a small local startup. With the ranges stated above, I would recommend charging on the higher side for large brands and on the low side (or lower) for small startups. For charities, I tend to charge either very low or nothing at all (particularly product placement).

I also factor in the location of the brand/company – it will be a different matter if I’m collaborating with a company fully based in India than with a company based in the UK, since (generally) their costs and average earnings will be fairly different.

3. Cost based on products involved

If the collaboration involves a product then I will usually take this into account, particularly if it’s a high-value product (and even more so if it’s something I would buy anyway). I usually try to take the at-cost value of the product (i.e. what it costs the company to make) into consideration, rather than the marked up retail value.

You won’t necessarily know the exact at-cost price, but you can usually make an estimation (fashion is often a 100% markup, i.e. double the at-cost price).

3. Consider your hourly rate and production costs

I also try to factor in how long the post will take me. For example, if the campaign will require a lot of photography and post-production then I will charge a slightly higher fee than one without. Don’t forget to factor in any production costs that you might have!

Summary:

Base price based on $5-9 CPM / $0.25 – $0.40 CPE

HIGHER if a large brand, requires more work or has high production costs

LOWER if a small startup or a charity or includes a product (particularly for high-value products)

 

Saving money with a balanced budget

I don’t really understand what this image is getting at, but I thought I’d include it for artistic effect.

Blog Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts on your blog should be thought of in a similar way as explained above for Instagram posts. Just as with Instagram posts, blog post costs can be calculated in two ways – average unique readers per article (which can be calculated both overall and monthly) and UMV (unique monthly visitors).

From analysing a variety of costs, $0.20+ per view of an article in the first month that it’s live seems to be pretty standard and fair. $0.60 per view of an article on the first day of publishing is also fairly standard. This generally includes the post being promoted on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest as well.

Recommended rates based on monthly views/visitors range from around $50-400 from 5k UMV (subsequently $100-800 from 10k and $200-$1500 from 20k and so on) to $100 per 10k page views.

Breaking this down, we end up with:

$10-80 per 1k UMV and $10 per 1k page views.

This would mean that if you have an average of 5k monthly unique visitors and 6k monthly page views, you could expect to charge around $50 – $400 for one sponsored post.

Personally, I feel that this errs slightly on the extremes and would recommend pricing around $100 – 200 for one sponsored post (with 5k UMV). This would be higher if there were more photos within the post (approximately $20-50 per extra photo).

My experience:

A few people asked me after my last post about when I started getting sponsored stays and monetising my blog. I discussed in my previous post about my collaborations with hostels in Skopje and Gothenburg – these two hotels each gave me two free nights. During this period (January – March 2016) I had a total of 1,397 views and 929 unique visitors, or an average of 466 views and 310 unique visitors per month.

The Skopje article garnered 302 views (290 unique) and the Gothenburg post reached 1,882 views (1,774 unique) over the entirety of 2016. I shared both articles on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and linked them on my Instagram. I still promote them on Pinterest and Twitter now!

I also get traffic to them via Stumbleupon and Flipboard, and the Gothenburg article was shared by Ölstugan on Facebook and their website, one of the pubs that I recommended within my article. This meant that for February and March, most of my traffic was from Sweden!

 

Girl writing in her notebook about sponsored posts and what to charge

Get out your notebooks, time for some maths!

Here is a breakdown and calculation of potential fees based on my findings:

$15-40 per 1k monthly unique visitors / $0.20 – $0.40 per view of the article in the first 30 days after publishing / $0.60 – $0.80 per view of the article in the first 24 hours after publishing / $10 per 1k monthly page views

e.g. if you have 5k monthly unique visitors with 6k monthly page views and your articles get, on average, 300 views in the first 24h after posting and 800 views in the first 30 days you can charge around

$75 – 200 / $60 / $160 – 320 / $180 – $240 on each calculation

In the summary, I will clarify which calculation works best!

 

Summary:

Base price based on: $15-40 per 1k monthly unique visitors / $0.20 per view of the article in the first 30 days after publishing / $0.60 per view of the article in the first 24 hours after publishing 

Factoring in cost per view to your fee can balance out prices if you post less per month. For example, a blogger who has 10k views but posts 10 times a month will have fewer views per article than a blogger with 10k views who only posts 3 times per month.

HIGHER if a large brand, requires more work or has high production costs

LOWER if a small startup or a charity or includes a product (particularly for high-value products)

 

Does this help you with deciding how much to charge for sponsored posts? If you have other ways of calculating what to charge a brand for sponsored posts then let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to pin and share this article if you enjoyed reading!

How much should you be charging for sponsored posts? Click here to find out exactly how to calculate your rate!

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Why Bloggers Should Discuss Their Income | The Flyaway Girl
    January 24, 2017 at 5:38 am

    […] Interested in learning how I decide how much to charge brands? Read my article on How Much You Should Charge For Sponsored Posts! […]

  • Reply
    Monika
    January 24, 2017 at 5:40 am

    This was great advice! Especially about tailoring prices based on location of company.

    • Reply
      Penelope
      January 24, 2017 at 5:46 am

      Thanks Monika – I’m glad you found it useful!

  • Reply
    Suze - Luxury Columnist
    January 25, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    This was a very interesting and detailed article, Penelope. I met up recently with a long-standing blogger who also does social media for clients and she said that they no longer look at number of likes and comments on Instagram but instead will only work with those that take amazing photos – so also good to know!
    Suze – Luxury Columnist recently posted…The Best Places to Eat and Drink around Naples, FloridaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 2:07 am

      That’s very true! The absolute foundation of Instagram is quality photos – I feel a lot of people forget about this a little when they are concentrating more on the numbers game. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Evelien
    January 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Amazingly helpful post!! Thanks so much Penelope 🙂

  • Reply
    Violeta
    January 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you for all this useful information. I haven’t considered approaching any companies for the time being, as my social media readership is rather small. Your article has helped me gauge where I am, so that I can price my services properly.
    Violeta recently posted…What a Mud Volcano Can Do for Your Travel PhotosMy Profile

  • Reply
    Tessa White
    January 25, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Wow, that was really comprehensive and open.. I totally agree it is hard not to almost take each client as a unique prospect thanks to the fact they all have different goals and budgets but it is so good to have a benchmark for your own value x

  • Reply
    Bekah
    January 25, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Great read! That was always something I was unsure about. When I get to be big enough to do sponsored posts, I’ll refer back to this. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 2:06 am

      Don’t be afraid to start while small either – you can still provide a lot of value! Good luck!

  • Reply
    Meg
    January 25, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    I found this to be extremely helpful. I’m just getting started, but my numbers area steadily increasing and it’s important to know your worth. I really like the bit about Instagram going off of engagement. I have around 2.5k followers – but my engagement is around 30%. I’ve wondered if that’s enough to be going after anything. Seems like it might be if the fit was right with the brand!

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Penelope
      January 25, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Meg – I’m glad you found it useful! It’s definitely worth a try, especially if it’s a brand you follow already and who really fits your niche etc! The first few pitches are the scariest – tell me how it goes 🙂

      Penelope

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 2:05 am

      Wow, your engagement is great!! That’s really good and I’m glad I could help. Don’t hesitate to email me (or DM on Instagram) if you have any questions!

  • Reply
    Chantal @ Translating Traveler
    January 25, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    This! This is just awesome! Finally someone that’s not afraid to talk about numbers… One of the best and most helpful posts I’ve read in a long time! Thank you 🙂

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 2:03 am

      Aw Chantal!! Thank you SO much! That really means a lot. I’m such a numbers nerd, if I’m honest, so it’s the only way that I CAN put it. I hate it when I see it all in really vague terms – like ‘don’t overcharge but don’t charge too little’… WHAT ARE THESE MAGICAL NUMBERS!? haha. Thanks again!

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    January 26, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Great article with relevant info! I like your take that as bloggers we should be talking about this and not have it be a taboo subject! #bloggingcommunity

  • Reply
    Bri
    January 26, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Thanks so much for this post! It is so helpful to talk real numbers.

  • Reply
    Alina from Reverie Chaser
    January 28, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Thank you for the great article! It felt good to see that I had intuitively done the math right myself as well 🙂
    Alina from Reverie Chaser recently posted…Greece: Then and NowMy Profile

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 2:00 am

      That’s great! Good luck with your sponsorships – I’m glad I could help somewhat!

  • Reply
    Ioanna
    January 28, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Thanks for this post! It’s very informative and educational for a newbie like myself.
    Ioanna recently posted…How to Hike The Old Man of Storr and Enjoy Breath-Taking Views of SkyeMy Profile

  • Reply
    Maria
    January 28, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Great post and break down of the price. I made a classical rookie mistake and overcharged a company once (they offered a free camera and asked how much I’d like to get paid for a review. I could keep the camera). So I offered them 100$. They never wrote back 🙂
    Next time this happens I’ll consult with your post

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 2:00 am

      Oh no! Maybe now that you’ve been blogging for longer you can email them and see if they still want to collaborate 😉

  • Reply
    Travelgal Nicole
    January 28, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    I’m glad you’re putting this out there. Most people are unsure of where to start. I love using social blue book. Good point on the different budgets.

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 1:59 am

      Thanks Nicole! When I first started getting offers I had no idea what I should be charging and I just accepted everything!! And yes – Social Bluebook is one of my favourite tools, haha.

  • Reply
    Jurga
    January 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Great tips, really really useful, Penelope. It also reminds bloggers that their work is worth more than many companies actually offer. Pinning this as I’m sure I will be needing those formulas again.
    Jurga recently posted…Affordable Family Skiing in SwitzerlandMy Profile

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 1:58 am

      That’s so true Jurga!! If I valued myself by what a lot of companies try and offer, I would not be feeling great at all! Thanks for sharing, really appreciate it!

  • Reply
    Sabine
    January 29, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Very interesting read, thanks for breaking down all the cost and charges. It really gives a great insight!!

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 1:57 am

      I’m glad you found it useful! Thanks Sabine!

  • Reply
    Rachel@Tidy&Teal
    January 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    This was a really awesome post! Thank you for all the specific numbers that you gave – that is definitely more what I was looking for. I really appreciate the help! 🙂
    – Rachel

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 1:58 am

      I’m so glad it was helpful, Rachel – feel free to send me an email any time if you have any further questions! I’m always happy to help.

  • Reply
    Candy
    January 31, 2017 at 4:47 am

    This is such a great topic. It is very hard to find information on standard pricing in the blogger world. It’s easy to look up “average salaries” in the job market and it’s public information, but when it comes to bloggers it’s not really public information yet.

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 1:56 am

      Very true – websites like GlassDoor make it easier to find ‘normal’ or ‘average’ salaries in the standard job market, but it’s definitely harder for bloggers and other influencers! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Reply
    Lauren West
    February 5, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Oh this is incredibly helpful, chica!

    • Reply
      Penelope
      February 5, 2017 at 4:23 am

      Glad you enjoyed it!

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