Top Brands Spending Big on Influencer Marketing in 2023

Influencer marketing has exploded in popularity over the past decade, evolving from an experimental tactic to a core pillar of digital marketing strategy. As social media usage continues to grow and traditional advertising channels face challenges, more and more brands are turning to influencer partnerships to reach and engage their target audiences.

But just how much are companies investing in this burgeoning marketing channel, and how can you ensure you‘re allocating your budget effectively? In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll delve into the latest data and trends around influencer marketing spend, share insights from top brands and industry experts, and provide actionable tips for getting the most bang for your buck.

The State of Influencer Marketing Spend in 2023 & Beyond

Let‘s start with a look at the current lay of the land. According to Influencer Marketing Hub‘s State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report, the influencer marketing industry grew from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $16.4 billion in 2022. That‘s a staggering 900% growth in just six years!

And that trajectory shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, influencer marketing spend is projected to reach $21.1 billion in 2023 and soar to over $36.9 billion by 2027, based on estimates from Statista.

So why are brands betting so big on influencers? In a nutshell, it works. Influencer marketing delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing, according to a study by Tapinfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions. When done right, partnering with influencers enables brands to tap into engaged communities, drive authentic word-of-mouth, and convert followers into customers.

However, it‘s not just about throwing money at the most popular social media stars and hoping for the best. Brands need a strategic, data-driven approach to get the most value from their influencer investments. Here‘s a closer look at how brands are allocating their budgets across platforms and what kind of ROI they‘re seeing.

Influencer Marketing Spend by Platform

Not all social media channels are created equal when it comes to influencer partnerships. Each platform has its own user demographics, content formats, and engagement patterns that impact influencer rates and campaign performance. Here‘s a breakdown of spend across the top platforms:


– 82% of brands use Instagram for influencer marketing (Tapinfluence)
– Brand investment in Instagram influencer marketing hit $8 billion in Q4 2020 alone (MediaKix)
– Average cost per post based on follower count (ShareLove):
– Nano influencers (1K-10K): $10-$100
– Micro influencers (10K-50K): $100-$500
– Mid-tier influencers (50K-500K): $500-$5,000
– Macro influencers (500K-1M): $5,000-$10,000
– Mega influencers (1M+): $10,000+
– Instagram influencer earned media value (EMV) averages nearly $10 per $1 spent (Tapinfluence)

Instagram has long been the leading platform for influencer marketing, thanks to its visual focus and highly engaged user base. However, as the platform has become more saturated and pay-to-play, many brands are diversifying their influencer mix to include rising stars on newer platforms.


– 71% of marketers will increase their spending on TikTok influencer partnerships in 2023 (Linqia)
– Suggested rates from TikTok‘s Creator Marketplace:
– 5K-9K followers: $500-$800 per video
– 10K-19K followers: $800-$1,500 per video
– 20K-49K followers: $1,500-$3,000 per video
– 50K-99K followers: $3,000-$5,000 per video
– 100K-499K followers: $5,000-$10,000 per video
– 500K+ followers: $10,000+ per video
– TikTok drives the highest engagement rate (6.7%) compared to Instagram (0.97%) and YouTube (0.94%) (Fanmeter)

TikTok has been the breakout star of the social media world in recent years, particularly among Gen Z audiences. The short video app is a hotbed of viral trends and challenges that savvy brands can leverage for massive reach and engagement. However, TikTok users are highly sensitive to inauthentic content, so brands need to find the right creator partners who can seamlessly integrate products into their signature style.


– The average cost per YouTube video sponsored by a brand is $4,500 (IZEA)
– Videos mentioning "sponsored" have increased by over 40,000% since 2009 (Google)
– The average number of viewers on a sponsored video is around 1.8K (WebFX)
– YouTube influencer marketing ad spend reached $6.8 billion in 2022 (IZEA)

While not the buzziest platform, YouTube remains a powerhouse for in-depth product reviews, tutorials, and integrations. The longer video format allows influencers to showcase products in action and drive stronger consideration and conversion than a quick mention. However, high production costs and slower turnaround times mean brands need to be extra strategic with their YouTube partnerships.

Emerging Influencer Platforms to Watch

While the Big 3 (Instagram, TikTok, YouTube) command the lion‘s share of influencer marketing dollars, brands are also experimenting with newer platforms to reach engaged communities aligned with their target customers:


This ad-free, anti-filter app asks users to post one unedited photo a day, directly from their phone‘s front and back cameras simultaneously. As an antidote to the hyper curation of Instagram, BeReal is inspiring a new wave of raw, authentic influencer content.


This live-streaming platform popular with gamers is expanding into new verticals like music, sports, and talk shows. Twitch creators foster highly loyal fan communities who trust their opinions and recommendations, making it an appealing channel for brands in the gaming, tech, and entertainment space.


The professional networking platform has seen a surge in B2B influencer marketing, as industry thought leaders and executives build their personal brands through in-depth content. Partnering with credible voices in your space can help establish brand authority and credibility with hard-to-reach decision-makers.

How Top Brands Approach Influencer Marketing Budgets

Now that you have a high-level view of influencer marketing spend benchmarks, let‘s take a look at how some of the world‘s leading brands are investing in this channel for maximum impact and ROI.

Estée Lauder

The iconic beauty brand invests a whopping 75% of its marketing budget (over $4.4 billion) in influencer marketing, spread across 60,000 influencers globally (Glossy). By partnering with a diverse mix of makeup artists, dermatologists, and everyday consumers, Estée Lauder has built a powerful network of authentic brand advocates.


The athletic giant has shifted its marketing strategy from celebrity sponsors to micro influencers, focusing on "local heroes" who have between 1K-10K followers. These niche creators have stronger connections with their audiences and can create content that feels more relatable and trustworthy than a glossy celebrity shoot.


The world‘s largest ecommerce platform is also one of the top spenders on influencer marketing, with an affiliate program that drives an estimated $1 billion in revenue per year (JungleScout). Amazon influencers earn commission on any products purchased through their custom storefronts or affiliate links, incentivizing them to organically promote their favorite finds.

Secrets of Influencer Marketing ROI

For all the hype around influencer marketing, measuring its impact and ROI remains a major challenge for many brands. In fact, 76% of marketers cite measuring ROI as their top influencer marketing headache (Tapinfluence).

But with the right approach, influencer campaigns can deliver significant returns for your brand. Here are some key strategies for maximizing ROI:

  1. Set clear goals and KPIs upfront.
    Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, or boost sales? Define your objectives and identify the metrics you‘ll use to track progress, such as reach, engagement rate, clicks, conversions, or revenue.

  2. Focus on engagement, not just reach.
    A larger following doesn‘t always translate to better results. Micro influencers with 10K-100K followers typically have higher engagement rates and drive stronger brand affinity than mega celebrities. Look for partners who have an active, loyal community that aligns with your target audience.

  3. Negotiate fair compensation.
    Influencer rates vary widely based on factors like platform, following size, content type, usage rights, and exclusivity. Use industry benchmarks as a starting point for negotiation, but be willing to pay a premium for top-tier talent who can deliver quality content and measurable results.

  4. Give creative freedom.
    Influencers know their audience best, so trust them to create content that will resonate while integrating your key messaging. Provide a clear brief with talking points and guidelines, but avoid overly scripted or controlled content that will feel inauthentic.

  5. Track the full funnel.
    Use unique links, landing pages, discount codes, and other trackable mechanisms to attribute website visits and sales driven by each influencer partner. But don‘t neglect harder-to-measure indicators of success like brand sentiment, earned media coverage, or user-generated content.

The Future of Influencer Marketing Investment

As influencer marketing continues to mature and evolve, expect to see brands refining their partnership strategies for a stronger focus on performance metrics, niche creative talent, and sustainable relationships.

Some key trends and predictions to watch:

  • Tighter alignment with ecommerce, as influencers take center-stage in "social commerce" on emerging platforms like Instagram Shops, TikTok Shopping, and Shopify.
  • Increasing interest in nano (1K-10K followers) and micro (10K-100K) creators who have highly engaged, niche communities around a particular passion point, from skin care to cycling.
  • Dedicated influencer marketing budgets and strategic integration with broader media plans, vs one-off campaigns managed by social or PR teams on an ad hoc basis.
  • Expanded brand ambassador and "always on" programs, vs single sponsored posts, to build deeper connections and a steady content pipeline.
  • Use of AI and advanced analytics to automate influencer discovery, streamline campaign management, and optimize performance.
  • Stricter guidelines around ad disclosures, data privacy, and child protection as regulators play catch-up on wild west of influencer marketing.

While influencer marketing is still a relatively young discipline, it has already dramatically reshaped the way brands connect with consumers in an increasingly ad-free world. But unlocking its full potential requires a thoughtful, data-driven approach, clear alignment with broader business goals, and genuine partnerships with the right creative talent.

By staying on top of the latest trends and benchmarks, continuously optimizing your influencer mix, and measuring meaningful business results, you can turn this powerful channel into a sustainable competitive advantage for your brand.