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Instagram Influencer Marketing

What the Instagram Verified Badge Means for Marketers

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Many celebrities, professional athletes, and public figures have a verified badge next to their username on instagram. While it may not be the first factor marketers think about when identifying influencers for their campaigns, this little blue check is not to be ignored.Although influencers who are part of this exclusive club charge a premium for their celebrity, they have access to members only instagram features that can be game changers for your next influencer campaign.

What is a Verified Badge?

According to the Instagram website, “A verified badge is a check that appears next to an Instagram account's name in search and on the profile. It means that Instagram has confirmed that this is the authentic account for the public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents.”Although there is no minimum follower count to acquire a verified badge, not just anyone can requests to receive this status symbol. In fact, Instagram has a reputation of being the hardest social channel to get verified on.There is little information readily available regarding the exact process to acquire a verified badge on Instagram. All that is known is one cannot simply request or buy this check. Those who wish to protect their recognizable name and be easily found must be represented by an agency who will then go through the process with Instagram moderators, or have a name that Instagram feels needs to be distinguished from others.

Exactly how much are celebrities and verified influencers charging for sponsored posts?

In general, the average amount of engagement, or in Instagram’s case “likes”, an influencer receives should be the first thing brands consider when determining how much they should pay an influencer per post.In our ebook, What to Pay for a Sponsored Instagram Post, we analyzed thousands of influencer collaborations and found that sponsored instagram posts cost on average $0.10 per average engagement. So, if an influencer averages 5,000 likes on their content, expect to pay to least $500 per post.However, we found that when an influencer or celebrity is verified, their price per post is generally much higher than the industry standard.Usually, verified influencers and celebrities have agents who negotiate prices that have little to no correlation to their client’s average amount of engagements. That being said, the industry standard can be a great place to start when estimating a verified influencer’s fee but it does not account for the premium associated with an individual’s celebrity status.

For example, Selena Gomez, the most followed person on Instagram, averages around 4 million engagements per post. If you estimate the cost of her sponsored posts according to the industry standard, you may expect to pay around $400,000. However, according to MediaKix, the singer reportedly charges upwards of $550,000 per post.Why are verified influencers charging above the industry standard? Besides their broad audiences and massive amounts of influence, verified celebrities and influencers have access to features on Instagram that are not available to the general user.

Exclusive perks that affect marketers

Keep in mind that there is no minimum follower count to acquire a verified badge so verified badge is not always associated with a higher reach. However, if brands are partnering with celebrities with a substantial follower count, they should expect to see tremendous increase in social follows and awareness.

Probably the most tangible perk of working with a verified influencer is the ability for clickable Instagram stories. A new Instagram feature allows verified influencers to share clickable URLs in their Instagram "stories". When clicked, the link takes users to whatever web page the creator has specified without leaving the Instagram app.Creators’ inability to link their audience directly to a website has always been a cause of discontent for marketers. However, this exclusive feature means for the first time on Instagram, verified influencers can point consumers directly to a website!

So should my brand prioritize celebrities in my influencer marketing budget?

If you are debating between working with 10-20 micro influencer vs. one huge celebrity, consider your brand's budget and goals.While verified influencers are more expensive to collaborate with, they do not necessarily produce higher engagement rates or drive more conversions than high quality unverified influencers. In fact, engagement rate and follower count have a negative correlation.If you have the budget and wish to target a large, broad consumer audience, then collaborating with celebrities has the potential to produce a great return on your investment.If premium prices are not within your budget, or if you are targeting a niche audience, micro-influencers with high engagement have the potential to drive sales as well because of their reliability, specialized content, and strong connection with their audience.

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