When working through proposals with prospective clients, we like to have the budget conversation as early as possible. And we are often met with disbelief at the rates that blockchain and cryptocurrency influencers are currently charging for their promotional services. We see clients doing the sums in their head, working out the cost per minute of video or considering the absurdity for paying so much for a single tweet.
One bitcoin for a single tweet?!?
On face value there is no doubt that the fees seem high, especially in the context of paying an individual for their services, not an organisation. However an important psychological step to overcome is to forget you’re paying an individual. Sure, we’d all like to be able to charge one bitcoin for a tweet, but just because an individual can do that, doesn’t mean they should be penalised for that privileged position, or that you should be swayed from working with them. Influencers have worked hard to build their reputation and their audience who look to their expertise. So instead, focus on the deliverables. What will the results look like, and how will they stack up when compared to budget spent in other marketing verticals. When you make this comparison, you will have a much better benchmark of the value of each dollar spent.
DISCLAIMER: Before we get into the detail, it is important to note that when paying for influencer services it’s imperative that you ensure the influencer discloses that they are being paid for their output. Very valid scrutiny is being placed on influencer marketing by regulatory bodies. At Block Influence, as practitioners of fully accountable and transparent operations, we insist on full influencer disclosure. You should too.
So, how much DO they cost?
Well of course that depends on the size of the influencer you’re looking to work with, what platform you’re looking to use and what content you’re asking them to deliver. Compared to other influencer markets (such as videogames, lifestyle or fashion) the crypto and blockchain space is certainly running at a premium per impression, however the returns for ICOs is potentially much greater as you’re looking at large sums being contributed to your project. Whilst platforms such as Telegram, Medium, Discord, LinkedIn and Reddit all play their part in the influencer ecosystem, two of the most used are YouTube and Twitter, so here are some examples of costs and content.
The number of crypto and blockchain content creators on YouTube is rapidly increasing, but there have been a few pack leaders with over 100k subscribers who have firmly established themselves as the go-to influencers for promotional purposes. Their rates are currently working out at a CPM (cost per mille, aka cost per a thousand views) of about $500 to $1500. If you look at an influencer’s average views for a video that has been up for a month, if they are hitting around 10,000 views, expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000.
[Just to provide some context, in the videogame marketing space, a CPM of $100 would be considered high. However in crypto and blockchain we are seeing costs of at least x5 that rate, and up to x15.]
With a mid to low tier size of content creator, the rates drop down below $500 CPMs as you will often find influencers are keen to get involved with projects at a much cheaper rate (sometimes even for free) because of the insight and access they can get for their channel.
With regard to output, the most common types of content we see offered are ICO review and interviews. Both are great ways to raise awareness of your project but don’t be afraid to suggest a different content more aligned to your objectives. Influencers are often open to new suggestions such as press trips, event vlogs or product/platform first impressions.
One final note to mention is that influencers (or at least the ones with integrity) won’t have their opinions swayed by a paying client. So they often require clients to enter into agreements with the understanding that if they don’t like a project then they reserve the right to provide a fair and honest critique. This leaves you to make a call on whether you want to expose your project to ruthless analysis and pay for the pleasure.
The influencer space on Twitter is awash with high profile accounts. From industry advocates, blockchain pioneers, and business leaders to technical analysts, news commentators and comedy “shitposting” accounts. Whilst many prominent individuals won’t enter into commercial arrangements there are plenty who will.
Remember that quote earlier one about one bitcoin for a tweet? That cost doesn’t raise my eyebrow these days. So what sort of costs are we looking at? Given they way that Twitter’s timeline works, the amount of followers a user has can provide a rough approximation of the level of engagement and impressions that a tweet will provide. So whilst using followers is not the ideal metric to use (as detailed impression rates that an influencer achieves with their tweets isn’t readily available), it is the best metric we have on face value. Current rates, as you would expect, vary between influencers, but we’re seeing a current range of between $25 and $100 per thousand followers.
A note of caution is that followers are easily artificially increased. There are a number of services out there who will deliver followers for very little cost. We’re talking numbers such as $50 for 10,000 followers. Whilst the quality of these followers is total garbage and offer no real value, they do fool marketeers who don’t do their research. So don’t forget to use one of the numerous tools at your disposal to undertake an audit before parting with your budget. For example www.twitteraudit.com gives a quick snapshot of the health of an account’s followers base.
Other factors to consider:
Don’t hit and run
Sure, Your ICO is about to launch and time is ticking to deliver some quick results to build awareness and drive funding. STOP. It’s all very well to start chucking budget at influencers to get a few promo videos and social posts under your belt. But a much better approach is to think about how you can develop stronger relationships with a few key individuals who will support you for the entire lifecycle of your ICO and beyond. You may need to apportion a slightly larger budget to a smaller number of influencers, but you’ll hit a much higher ROI by working up longterm content plans for each influencer.
Negotiate for the best value
Do remember that no fee is set in stone and there a number of ways to bring down the cost of working with an influencer. Some are willing to offer economies of scale if you ask for a bulk deal in output. Others are keen to raise their industry profile and will get involved for association with a desirable ICO or the opportunity to break news. Payment can often be made in an ICO’s token (paid after ICO completion), but do note that influencers may ask for a multiple to be applied for undertaking the risk of accepting your token.
If you decide to work with an agency, such as Block Influence, you will be able to leverage the relationships that they hold with influencers. An agency will often have a group of trusted influencers who they have strong relationships with. This unlocks many benefits that you wouldn’t be able to achieve when approaching solo.
Be wary of the sellers’ market
We are currently in a seller’s market as a simple result of supply and demand. The sheer rise in the number of ICOs arriving on the scene has saturated the market, leading to influencers able to increase their fees. As the number of influencers grows, especially at a mid-size level, and marketeers start to quantitively justify each dollar spent on influencers, the fees will most likely drop in the future, but for now expect high fees. And don’t forget, they still offer extremely good value when compared to spend in other marketing verticals.
Payment up front
In the blockchain and crypto space influencers are asking to be paid up front. This is unusual compared to other markets where brands and agencies require the output to be delivered first, but in a sellers’ market in a crypto world, influencers are calling the shots. So certainly employ risk management and add failsafes into the process. Of course once you build relationships with influencers, these stipulations will lessen as trust is built.
Getting your influencer strategy right can add tremendous value to your overall ICO strategy. However in this new and constantly evolving market, where fees and best practices are being constantly refined, be careful of how you apportion your budget. At the end of the day it is essentially budget in and deliverables out. However in the influencer sector, getting through this process requires an attention to detail. Always 1) drive for the best possible value 2) evaluate what content an influencer is offering and 3) estimate the expected output. Good luck!
This article was originally pubished on medium.com, please join the discussion there now.