Taking The Moolah Route Earnings rise 150-200% across segments as even orthodox brands flock to digital branding.
NEW DELHI: Actor Priyanka Chopra and cricketer Virat Kohli may be the only two Indian celebrities to figure in a recently released Instagram rich list based on their charges but influencer earnings in the country across segments have risen by 150-200%, said marketers and advertisers.
Brands are finding new ways to target ads on influencer channels besides increasing budgets, said influencers and marketers. YouTube and Instagram account for a chunk of the earnings, they said.
The Instagram rich list compiled by UK social media management company Hopper HQ recently said Chopra charges about Rs 1.87 crore per post on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app, while Kohli charges about Rs 1.35 crore.
While marketers thought the numbers for the two celebrities looked a bit inflated, rates have definitely gone up.
“Bollywood celebrities ranging from Hrithik Roshan to Tiger Shroff could be charging between <Rupee>50 lakh to <Rupee>85 lakh for a post on Instagram; a lot depends on the brand integration,” said a marketer who didn’t want to be identified.
Influencer marketing isn’t restricted to Bollywood and cricket anymore, said Vijay Subramaniam, chief executive at Kwan Entertainment, India’s largest entertainment marketplace.
“Someone like a Bhuvan Bam, who is India’s biggest YouTuber, could probably earn more than any big Bollywood actor on Instagram and YouTube,” said Subramaniam. “It is about digital natives and an entire subculture is building. Budgets will go up as the digital advertising pie in terms of media spends for brands is continuously increasing and growing in multiples.”
Bam said spends have gone up and that is visible in the monthly cheque that he receives from YouTube and marketing done through content. “Prices have risen and so has my reach,” he said. The brands he endorses include Lenskart, Tasty Treats and Beardo, for which he is brand ambassador, his manager Rohit Raj said.
“More orthodox brands have also moved to digital branding,” Raj said.
Prashant Puri, chief executive of digital marketing firm AdLift, which handles both grade-A celebrities and other influencers, said ad budgets across categories have risen.
“Even for nano influencers and micro influencers who have less than 5,000 and 30,000 followers, respectively, the rates are up from Rs 3,000-8,000 and Rs 7,000-18,000 per post this year,” he said. “For influencers who have over 500,000 followers, rates per post on Instagram have gone up from Rs 1.5 lakh last year to Rs 7 lakh per post.”
Indian actor and comedian Ssumier Pasricha, who catapulted to internet stardom with his fictional Pammi aunty character through viral videos, said there is more money to be made now.
Pasricha has started charging advertisers more this year for his sponsored content in keeping with his growing follower base.
“There’s no doubt that there is more money to be made now,” he said. “Television is not the sole source of awareness anymore and people are spending more time on their phones. Pammi aunty is a middle-class lady and the brands that approach me are targeting the middle class, as it goes with my character.”
Pranay Swarup, founder of influencer marketing firm Chtrbox, said he has seen a doubling of budgets allocated to influencers this year. Chtrbox has worked with brands such as KFC, Puma and Vivo.
“Self-created content via the celebrity comes across as more authentic and it is much faster and easier for the influencer or celebrity to do that instead of blocking an entire day for a 45-second commercial,” he said. “Instagram and YouTube are the biggest, and we have started seeing the rise of TikTok influencers as well. Twitter and Facebook have sort of taken a back seat.”
There has been a cultural shift in how people express themselves, said Sandeep Bhushan, director and head of India for global marketing solutions at Facebook. “This shift is a big reason why there is an increase in the number of brand collaborations, as combining creativity, content and commerce, one can reach relevant audiences, drive sales and boost credibility,” he said.
The company recently launched branded content ads on Instagram for advertisers to promote as stories.
“For businesses, this is an opportunity to tell their brand stories through creators’ voices, reach new audiences and measure impact,” he said.
YouTube has more than 1,200 creator channels today with more than 1 million subscribers in India, up from 16 channels in 2014, said Satya Raghavan, director of content partnerships for the company in India.
“With 265 million unique users coming to YouTube every month and deeply engaging with content from these creators, brands are tapping into this to drive engagement with their audiences,” he said. “Brands across BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), retail, ecommerce and automobile are leveraging YouTube to grab their audience’s attention. Our role is to play matchmaker.”
Sumedh Chaphekar, CEO of NoFiltr, an influencer incubator that also manages influencers on TikTok and Instagram in India said availability of a direct metric to track ROI in terms of engagement and successful case studies of influencer campaigns have increased the amount of trust that a brand bestows on influencer marketing. Amit Tripathi MD of digital marketing firm IdeateLabs said celebrities have caught on the influencer marketing bandwagon like a ‘fish taking to water.’ “If international trends are any indication it looks like this is here to stay.”
Influencer Prajakta Koli, who goes by the MostlySane handle on YouTube and Instagram, said her numbers and reach are increasing steadily, as a result of which more brands are working with her. Koli has been associated with brands such as PepsiCo and Hyundai. WhatsApp recently tapped her for a television commercial on fake news.
“It was a good marriage of what the brand objective was and what we stand for,” she said. “There is more money to be made now.”