- Influencers say brand partnerships are a main source of business, especially for those primarily working on Instagram.
- This lucrative market has been facing a recent hit due the coronavirus outbreak.
- Business Insider spoke to several bloggers, travel influencers, and industry experts about the impact of the coronavirus on the influencer industry.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Many influencers, especially those primarily working on Instagram, say brand sponsorships are their main source of income — with brands set spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, according to Business Insider Intelligence.
But in the last few weeks — and days — this lucrative market has faced a hit due the coronavirus outbreak.
“I think a lot of people in the travel industry are holding their breath,” said travel blogger Oneika Raymond, who has 84,900 Instagram followers. “Companies are reluctant to take on anything new and therefore that is impacting the income of creators.”
Brand integrations live on almost every social platform, and nearly 79% of brands mainly use Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%), according to Influencer Marketing Hub.
Business Insider spoke to several bloggers, travel influencers, and industry experts about the impact of the coronavirus on the influencer industry and Instagram in particular.
‘It’s a big cloud of uncertainty’
Ray Hughes, a talent manager who represents clients on YouTube and Instagram, said that most of the brand integrations and campaigns his clients had planned have been canceled.
“It’s a big cloud of uncertainty,” Hughes said. “Sure, we are losing money. It’s impacting all talent.”
Another talent manager, who represents YouTube creators and Instagram influencers, told Business Insider that they had been advising clients to only share information about the coronavirus that they know is “absolutely credible.”
“Neither the creators, nor the brands want to be seen as exploiting this situation in any way, shape or form because it is so serious,” the talent manager told Business Insider. “Luckily, the majority of creators have other sources of revenue and their business can continue on. For others who are newer in this space however, I think it’s going to impact them a lot more, and it’s going to impact Instagram creators much more than creators who operate on multiple platforms.”
Mommy-blogger Jehava Brown, who has around 108,000 Instagram followers, said she hadn’t noticed any difference in her standard brand collaborations, but all upcoming travel opportunities have been postponed.
Travel influencer Lauren Bullen, known as @gypsea_lust on Instagram with 2.1 million followers, said all her paid trips had been canceled. Bullen currently lives in Bali, and at the moment she had no plans to leave, she said.
“There’s obviously no travel jobs going ahead right now,” said Bullen. “I also had a job with a luggage company that was to go to a destination — that’s canceled until corona passes. But mostly, we aren’t wanting to travel much as we don’t want to set a bad example and be worsening the issue by thinking it’s OK to be jetting across the world and potentially spreading the virus.”
A post shared by lauren bullen (@gypsea_lust) on Mar 9, 2020 at 5:11pm PDT
Brands are canceling deals, web traffic is down, and paid events are postponed
Raymond makes money on her travel blog from display ads and affiliate links. She said since there’s been a decline in tourism, traffic on her website has been down.
“That means that the income that I make from my website has decreased as well,” she said.
She also recently canceled a paid work trip to the West Coast, she said. But as a freelancer, she said she is accustomed to changes in her monthly sources of income, and she added that if she only relied on sponsorships for money, she would be experiencing a bigger hit to her business.
“A major brand reached out to me last week or so, inquiring about what my rates were and how we could partner,” she said. “They just sent an email saying that due to coronavirus and due to the uncertainty of the industry, all upcoming campaigns have been put on hold until further notice.”
Raymond declined to share her rates, or how much money she is losing from these canceled brand opportunities. But typically, the rule many influencers will follow when they first start out is to set their sponsored post rate at $100 for every 10,000 Instagram followers. These rates change based on their overall engagement, like number of comments and Story views on Instagram.
Raymond said she has around 10 different revenue streams which have saved her from any significant loss. They include sponsorships, YouTube monetization, freelance writing, affiliate link revenue, speaking engagements, and display ads on her blog.
For more on the business of influencers, according to YouTube stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts: