- Business Insider is recognizing the leading brands in the influencer-marketing industry, including SeatGeek, Sephora, and Chipotle.
- In this power list, we are highlighting 17 brands based on which ones have the most innovative and effective influencer marketing campaigns.
- These brands have built lasting partnerships with creators across YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and podcasting.
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Over the past few years, brands have found success by relaxing their guidelines and having more fun with the influencers they hire to promote their products — allowing those creators to take creative control over the way sponsored content appears.
SeatGeek gives Dobrik the freedom to orchestrate a campaign and come up with the creative ideas behind a sponsorship. That has led to viral moments, like Dobrik buying cars for friends — from Teslas to Ferraris — with “SeatGeek money” in exchange for a 60-second shout-out on his YouTube channel. SeatGeek is like a character in Dobrik’s popular vlog-style videos, which on average gain about 10 million views.
Innovative brands like SeatGeek (and creators like Dobrik) are pushing forward the influencer-marketing industry, which is projected to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022 and has become many top creators’ main source of income.
Business Insider is recognizing the leading brands in influencer marketing based on which have the most innovative and effective campaigns. In this inaugural list, we are highlighting the top 17 brands that have built lasting partnerships with creators on social media.
The state of influencer marketing
An influencer marketing campaign is when a social-media influencer on a platform, such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and podcasting, promotes a brand or product in exchange for compensation.
The goal of a campaign can be to promote a new product, convert followers into paying customers, or create brand awareness. Influencers often interpret the brand theme and create content around that in the form of a dedicated video, post, or 30- to 60-second mention. Campaigns can be with a single influencer or up to hundreds, depending on the budget and goal.
Influencers charge set rates for a sponsorship deal based on their overall engagement. Creators sometimes work with a manager or agent to help them secure opportunities (managers and agents take about a 10 to 20% cut).
In a recent report, Izea, a company that connects marketers with influencers, found that the average cost of sponsored content on the top social-media platforms (Facebook, blogs, YouTube, and Instagram) has increased dramatically in the past few years.
In 2019, the average rate paid per sponsored Instagram post was about $1,643, and on YouTube, the average cost of a sponsored video was about $6,700, according to the report.
Sponsorships are still new to TikTok, and Cosette Rinab, a TikTok creator with 1.6 million followers, told Business Insider that the average rate for a sponsorship on TikTok was between $1,000 and $2,000 per 100,000 views, based on her experience and conversations with other creators.
Creators typically charge more for a yearlong campaign, which could include a mix of YouTube videos, Instagram posts, and other formats. One YouTube creator with about 2 million subscribers told Business Insider that he charged upward of $30,000 for such a campaign.
SeatGeek has built relationships with top internet stars like Dobrik, who has a yearlong contract with SeatGeek that has him promote the company every month in some capacity. SeatGeek began working with Dobrik in 2016 and has since worked with him on more than 20 campaigns.
Letting the influencers take creative control
“Influencer marketing works because audiences follow influencers,” Evan Asano, the CEO and founder of the influencer-marketing agency Mediakix, said. “Because the influencers can speak directly to their audience, they build a level of trust you cannot get through standard advertising.”
The best way for a brand to work with an influencer is to set out with a specific goal, expectation, and way to measure success, according to Asano. Brands should ask themselves: What audience do we want to reach, and how do we want to reach them?
From there, the brand should choose a platform and the size of influencers they want to work with.
“TikTok is trending like crazy right now but generally skewers younger,” Asano said about the wildly popular app among Generation Z. “YouTube covers almost every demographic well, depending on the content.”
To form this power list, Business Insider relied on a mix of our own reporting, nominations from readers, and industry experts to narrow down the finalists. We chose these brands based on factors like reach, effectiveness, and impact on the influencer business as a whole.
The top 17 brands are listed in alphabetical order below: