Over half (57%) of influencers cite their ethnicity as a factor in the fees they can levy for brand partnerships, a disturbing new report has found.
The Influencer Pricing Report, produced by inclusive creator agency SevenSix Agency, surfaces hard truths about how race remains a factor in influencer marketing pay disparity.
The role of race in influencer marketing
The study of 275 British influencers established that 57% said their ethnicity was a contributing factor to the fees they can charge for brand partnerships.
Of those asked, 37% said that their ethnicity had limited their earning potential; 99% of this subset identified as a person of colour.
By contrast, 45% of those who did not cite their ethnicity as a variable that could affect their fee level, identified as a person of colour.
Across the board, 69% of all respondents felt that they undercharged when setting fee levels.
Drilling further into the figures, the Influencer Pricing Report found that 49% of influencers who believed they undercharged and that their ethnicity was holding them back, were Black. This compared with 18% of South Asian influencers, 13% of those with mixed heritage and 11% who classed themselves as white.
SevenSix Agency founder Charlotte Williams, said: “These figures uncover some harsh truths about the influencer marketing space and are proof that we have barely begun on the journey to full diversity and inclusion.”
“They also show a need and appetite for structure and process to support influencers when it comes to pricing, allowing us to remove pay discrepancies related to race. For real progress to be made, we need all parts of the ecosystem – brands, agencies and influencers themselves – to work together.“
Other recent studies have painted a similar picture of systemic racism with Black influencers routinely being paid less than their white counterparts. As recently as this week, influencer Atim Ojera claimed that a ’fast fashion’ brand told her that her £10,000 fee for 10 Instagram posts was ’impossible’ despite later paying a white influencer, with fewer followers, twice as much.
A brand tried to gift me. I said no because I’ve already done paid posts for them before. Then when they asked my rates for 10 posts I said £10,000 and they literally told me it was impossible. Only to find out my white influencer friend got paid £20,000 for the same deal...... https://t.co/Na5tJ755YS
— Atim Ojera. (@atimxo) February 27, 2021
Last year, The Drum recounted the experiences of several Black influencers, including Eulanda Osagiede and Stephanie Yeboah, who are calling out the ad industry for regularly paying Black influencers less than their white counterparts.
Osagiede, one half of the travel and lifestyle blogging duo behind Hey! Dip Your Toes In, last year told the BBC's The Next Episode how a brand that constantly approached her about a content partnership ostensibly “never had budget” to pay her and her husband, Omo.
“I approached creator friends who had worked with the brand before,” she said. “These creators happened to be white and they all said, ‘Oh no, we got paid’. The brand continued to reach out to us. Each time they never had budget and each time I checked, they always did have budget for someone else. Maybe they just didn’t have budget for people who looked like us.”