If ever a career embodied ‘survival of the fittest’, it would probably be today’s influencer industry. The cut-throat marketing business, currently valued valued GroupM Influencer Marketing Will Be INR 900 Cr Market In India By The End Of 2021 Read more  at Rs 900 crore ($120 million) in India, awards success to a small minority that manage to bluster, charm, and entertain their way into people’s social media feeds. And there’s no guarantee of continued success even after one has earned it. 

Highly capable of swaying people’s decisions in real-time, influencers build up a ‘personal brand’ that they can eventually monetise. If you’re a brand selling, for instance, organic protein powder, chances are you’d get better traction if a popular fitness trainer offhandedly mentions it online rather than if you ran an old-fashioned TV advertisement. 

It’s not unfathomable. According to the Broadcast Audience Rating Council (BARC) Council (BARC) Business Standard TV-owning households in India grew 6.9% to 210 mln in two years: BARC Read more , India had as many television-owning households as it did Instagram users in 2021—210 million. The country had over 800 million 800 million Business Standard Internet users up nearly 4% to over 825 million in Q4 of FY21: TRAI data Read more  internet users in March 2021 and that number is only about to grow. 

Influencers are keenly aware of the power they hold. Popular fitness trainers could charge brands anywhere between Rs 50,000 ($660) to Rs 2 lakh ($2,600) for that passing mention, if the results of a survey conducted by The Ken are anything to go by. 

It only goes up from there; there are different prices for paid partnerships, sponsorships, marketing blitzes, and based on the medium of communication like posts, videos, and hashtags. In some cases, brands offer influencer-specific discount codes that customers can use. 

The Ken’s survey had responses from 114 influencers from a mix of social media platforms—such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, social commerce app Bulbul Bulbul The Ken Bulbul and simsim’s video bridge between rural India and e-commerce Read more , Trell, short video apps Moj, Roposo, MX TakaTak—influencer ‘tiers’, and genres—from choreographers and singers to makeup artists, skincare enthusiasts, and stylists.