The blogger business is booming. According to WWD, a sponsored Instagram post with a top blogger can cost a brand between $5,000 and $25,000. That’s nearly five times the going rates just a year and a half ago.
Add to that income from affiliate marketing — from which bloggers collect a fee every time they refer a customer to a retailer’s or brand’s site — personal appearances, and other corporate partnerships, including modeling contracts, collaborations, and personal product lines, and many top bloggers are now earning between $1 million and $3 million annually.
Affiliate marketing alone earns many bloggers six figures a month, and Forrester Research predicts that spending on affiliate marketing will reach $4.5 billion in 2016.
At the same time, many of the industry’s biggest bloggers are unwilling to share specifics about their earnings, so there is really no telling just how much money they could be making. Rumor has it, Kristina Bazan‘s recent L’Oréal contract will earn her seven figures a year, although neither she nor L’Oréal would comment to WWD on the exact length or terms of their partnership. Meanwhile, Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad earned $7.5 million in 2015 from footwear sales alone according to Alessio Sanzogni, group general manager of Chiara Ferragni, TheBlondeSalad.com, and Chiara Ferragni Collection.
Brands are willing to pay bloggers so much because they know they will see a return on their investment. In 2014, Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies reportedly drove $1 million in sales to Nordstrom.com during the holiday season. Last Halloween, Christine Andrew of Hello Fashion caused a 107 percent increase in “likes” and 465 percent increase in comments when she contributed to Neiman Marcus’s Instagram page. And just this December, ShopStyle‘s influencer and affiliate network, ShopStyle Collective, saw its top 100 bloggers drive over $6 million in sales in December alone, an increase of 315 percent year-over-year.
In other words, blogging is where the money is and if we were all really smart, we would just quit our jobs and devote ourselves fully to Instagram.