Social & Influencers

Should influencers charge more for Instagram’s ‘Invite collaborator’ feature? The industry hasn’t exactly decided yet

Some influencer talent managers told us that creators are putting an additional ‘Collabs fee’ on their rate cards.
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Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Andy Andrews/Getty Images

4 min read

Ritz Crackers, an incredibly underrated hangover snack, typically gets between 10,000 and 50,000 views on its Instagram Reels. But this summer, when it posted a joint Reel with creator Erin Miler, @overthemoonfaraway, it got more than 781,000—completely organically.

The technical term for that “joint Reel” is an Instagram “Collab.” Instagram rolled out the capability about a year ago, letting two accounts post a single post together. If a brand and influencer do a Collab, the brand can get new viewers from the influencer’s audience—and vice versa.

These Collab partnerships between influencers and brands are becoming increasingly common. “There is more interest,” Alessandro Bogliari, co-founder and CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory (IMF), told us, adding that Collabs are “absolutely trending.” About 60% of IMF’s clients that run campaigns on Instagram have asked to try out Collabs, Bogliari said, although he did not disclose client names.

Many influencers and their talent managers aren’t naive: They know that brands can benefit from the additional views their posts get from Collabs. Some talent managers told us that their creators are charging more for this added service as a result, putting an additional “Collabs fee” on their rate cards.

Shoshannah Cutler, the CEO and founder of Shoshalmedia, a creator management and consulting firm, said the creators she works with typically charge 25%-35% more for a Collab than they would for a normal organic Instagram post, making the rate for a Collab closer to what they’d charge for paid usage rights.

But other influencer marketers warned that the influencer set should prepare themselves for certain brands to balk at the question, depending on the scenario.

Collabs in the wild

Qianna Smith Bruneteau, founder and executive director of the trade group the American Influencer Council (AIC), said that she hasn’t heard of many creators charging extra for Collabs. That surprised her, as she doesn’t necessarily agree with the decision, telling us that creators certainly have an opportunity to charge more.

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Bogliari said creators typically price Collabs differently depending on whether or not usage rights are already baked into the influencer’s agreement with the brand. Influencers may charge more when they hand over usage rights for their content to a brand partner, and Collabs are essentially another way that a brand is using an influencer’s content on their owned pages.

David White, Whalar’s head of east coast talent, has also negotiated Instagram Collabs between brands and creators, though he could not reveal brand names. He told us that the influencers he works with typically charge about 10% extra for Collabs.

Generally speaking, he said, brands usually think that’s a fair ask. “I haven’t really had any significant pushback,” he said. Even when creators have smaller followings than the brands they’re partnering with, White said, “I think talent should be paid fairly for their work, regardless of the scale.”

Caution tape

Some influencer marketers warned that, though influencers should be paid fairly for their work, not every brand will happily accept Collab charges.

“I’m sure the reason why it’s a question is [that] it gives the influencer free traffic,” Rob Jewell, Power Digital Marketing’s chief growth officer, told us, explaining that the influencer also benefits by getting in front of the brand’s followers. “It’s a benefit for both the influencer and the brand.”

Brands enter these kinds of negotiations with a set budget in mind, Jewell told us. So if an influencer charging more for a Collab pushes the partnership over budget, “there’s so many influencers out there, they’ll just move on to the next one,” he told us.

“I think it’s a valid case they have to ask for more,” Jewell continued, adding, “I just don’t know if they’ll get it.”

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