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  • Ankit Uttam

How much money do Influencers and Finfluencers in India make?

A study conducted by Kofluence, an influencer marketing agency, reveals that social media influencers in India have monthly earnings ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,00,000. This income bracket encompasses micro-influencers who boast followers numbering between 10,000 to 1,00,000 on various social media platforms, with an engagement rate falling within the range of 1.5-2 percent.


How much money do Influencers and Finfluencers in India make?

The engagement rate reflects the proportion of the audience that interacts with the influencer's content through likes or comments.


Factors such as the influencer's social media following significantly influence their potential earnings from brand collaborations. However, the type of content they produce and the viewership numbers it attracts are also critical determinants.


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How much influencers in India earn


Anatomy of influencer earnings


Fashion influencers typically earn between 40 to 60 paisa per view, while lifestyle influencers charge around 30 to 50 paisa for each view. They employ cost per thousand views (CPV) as a standard metric for establishing pricing.


Specialized content creators, for example, a medical professional focusing on health content, might charge Rs 1-2 per view. In contrast, those producing financial content can command between Rs 3-4 per view.


How much influencers in India earn

Earnings for influencers vary significantly across different platforms. A 2024 study by Kofluence highlighted that on Instagram, mega-influencers can earn Rs 3 to 5 lakh for each short-form video content, such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, which is notably higher than what YouTube influencers make for similar content, with their earnings ranging from Rs 1.2 to 3 lakh.


Influencers are categorized based on their follower count. Nano influencers have 100 to 10,000 followers; micro-influencers have 10,000 to 100,000 followers; macro and mega influencers boast 100,000 to 1 million followers and more than 1 million followers, respectively.


Celebrities on Instagram, who rank above mega influencers, can earn between Rs 7 to 15 lakh per video. In comparison, celebrity earnings on YouTube fall between Rs 1 to 5 lakh per video. Micro-influencers see consistent income across platforms, earning Rs 20,000 to 50,000 per video on Instagram and Rs 20,000 to 39,000 on YouTube. Macro influencers on Instagram bring in Rs 60,000 to Rs 1.6 lakh, whereas on YouTube, they earn approximately Rs 40,000 to Rs 1 lakh, as per the report.


Economy of influence in India

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Economy of influence in India


In India, the landscape of content creation encompasses approximately 25-35 lakh individuals, out of which around 1,50,000 creators successfully generate revenue from their content. The influencer marketing sector is experiencing a robust growth, with a 30 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Moreover, the proportion of creators who are able to monetize their content is projected to increase by 15-20 percent, as per insights from Kofluence.


Kofluence points out the emergence of two distinct trends within the industry. The first trend is an increase in the number of creators who are monetizing their content. The second is the expanding opportunity for creators across the spectrum, from micro to mega influencers, to secure more brand collaborations.


It was common for a YouTuber who uploads weekly to engage in one or two sponsored activities a month. Nowadays, it's becoming typical to witness brand integrations in every piece of content they produce. However, this trend is nuanced, presenting a potential risk as audiences primarily seek content, not advertisements.


Additionally, niche content creators are witnessing significant growth. Brands are recognizing the value of hyper-targeted marketing efforts facilitated by these creators, according to Kofluence.


"While lifestyle, fashion and beauty will drive the growth of influencer marketing, BFSI, auto and sustainability are emerging as big spenders for influencer marketing" -- Vijay Subramaniam, Group CEO and Founder, Collective Artists Network

Top categories spending on influencer marketing.

Top categories spending on influencer marketing.


Top categories spending on influencer marketing

Digital-first companies, such as the direct-to-consumer brand Mamaearth, which has leveraged influencer marketing to carve out its market niche, allocate up to 70 percent of their digital marketing budget to influencer collaborations.


With an average Indian spending 4.4 hours daily on social media and checking platforms like Instagram about 20 times a day, the audience's presence on these channels is undeniable. Consequently, brands are keen to engage where their audiences are most active. Many established brands, deriving 15-20 percent of their sales online, are now acknowledging the critical role of influencer marketing. However, the investment in influencer marketing varies by industry.


For example, a Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company might allocate around 5 percent of its digital marketing funds to influencer marketing, whereas a brand in the beauty and personal care sector might invest between 10-15 percent.


Furthermore, even brands traditionally focused on television advertising are incorporating influencers into their marketing strategies, progressively increasing their investment as they recognize the influencers' efficacy in reaching and engaging target demographics.


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Top platforms brands prefer for influencer marketing.

Influencing is still a part-time gig in India

While more Indians are  becoming influencers, it is still not a full-time job for many.


A 2024 report by EY, titled 'State of influencer marketing in India', highlights that about 73 percent of Indian influencers invest less than 10 hours a week in their endeavors, a stark contrast to the up to 39 hours seen in other countries.


Typically, content creators in India spend about 10-20 hours weekly on their content. The ecosystem in India harbors relatively few full-time content creators, attributed mainly to the unpredictable nature of income generation at the onset of their careers. For many, influencer activities are considered a side job, unlike in other parts of the world where content creation is often pursued as a primary profession.


The necessity for many influencers to maintain traditional employment limits the time available for content production. While influencer income outside of India is generally higher due to more substantial brand investments and a more developed market, India is progressively narrowing this gap.


The curse of one-million followers: Why Finfluencers want to stay small


There was a time when amassing a million followers was a significant achievement for a financial influencer, a veritable symbol of success and influence.


Now it is a burden.


Why?


The reason is two-fold: a significant regulatory change and the availability of more cost-effective partnership options have led brands to steer away from collaborating with such high-profile influencers.


Why Finfluencers want to stay small

A financial influencer, choosing to remain anonymous, shared their experience: "Where once finfluencers could boast up to 20 brand partnerships, many now manage only two. A colleague, previously securing a new brand deal daily, has seen this frequency diminish to just one or two a month."


This downturn was catalyzed by the "Revised Code of Advertisement for Stock Brokers," published by financial exchanges on February 2, 2023.


According to regulation 5 of this document, advertisements must not feature celebrities, a category that now explicitly includes influencers with a follower count exceeding 10 lakh (1 million).


Stock brokers, who once were the primary collaborators with such influencers, are now barred from doing so if the influencer has more than a million followers. And typically, these brokers were among the few who could afford the high collaboration fees.


Previously, influencers with large followings, referred to as Category-A influencers, could command up to Rs 10 lakh for a five-minute video, given their extensive reach.


However, newer companies, such as those behind credit apps, are now opting to distribute their marketing budgets across multiple Category-B influencers or even dozens of nano influencers for the same cost as a single collaboration with a Category-A influencer.


Regulatory change has made it hard for the biggies to survive.

Workaround

Financial influencers, categorized based on their follower counts, fall into various groups: Category-B influencers have 300,000 to 800,000 followers, Category-C possess 50,000 to 300,000 followers, and nanoinfluencers have fewer than 50,000 followers.


If regulated entities are doing any paid collaborations with any of these smaller influencers, they have to get them cleared by the exchanges before publishing them.


In response to regulations impacting those with over a million followers, many finfluencers are creating new channels to continue brand partnerships.


One such finfluencer mentioned plans to shift focus to an English language channel once his subscriber count nears 9 lakh, deliberately limiting content on his regional channel to manage growth and stay below the regulatory threshold.


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Finfluencers have an audience for very specific content. For example, some are followed for their financial explainers while ot hers are followed for personal-finance advice. To decelerate the growth of their subscriber base, some influencers are posting content they know that their target audience won’t appreciate much. To deliberately slow their channel's growth, some have started to diversify their content, introducing topics they know may not resonate as strongly with their core audience.


Insiders note a trend among the larger finfluencers diversifying their income sources amid these challenges.


There’s a marked increase in selling online courses, and even those who previously opposed creating Telegram channels for sharing stock tips and trading calls are now venturing into such platforms.

The price point

In addition to regulatory changes, brands are also reassessing their partnerships with top-tier financial influencers due to diminishing returns on their investments, according to an industry insider.


This insider highlighted the issue of artificial engagement, noting that it's possible to purchase bots that inflate viewership, comments, and even app downloads. He provided a comparison: a finfluencer with fewer than a million followers managed to secure 1,500 actual conversions for a brand with just one video. In contrast, a more prominent finfluencer, with ten times the followers, achieved 200,000 downloads but only 14 genuine conversions.


financial influencers

The insider remarked that the lavish spending seen during the pandemic years is no longer the norm. Brands are demanding more value for the same expenditure; what previously covered the cost of a single video might now also need to encompass two additional Instagram reels. This new expectation is reportedly causing discomfort among larger finfluencers, who view it as undermining their worth.


Furthermore, nanoinfluencers, typically young adults in their early twenties, are driving their prices down even more aggressively. Some are now charging as little as Rs 2,000 per video, making them an increasingly attractive option for brands seeking to maximize their marketing budgets.


Finfluencers ‘renting’ analyst licenses for a fee after Sebi whip on advisory services


In response to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairperson's hint at action against unregistered investment advisors, these advisors seem to have discovered a loophole.


Finfluencers are now ‘renting out’ research analysts’ (RA’s) licences for a fee. The ‘rent’ is around 20 percent of the fee they earn by providing stock tips and trading calls.


This workaround has become a popular solution among finfluencers, many of whom face rejection of their applications due to various issues such as lack of credibility and the stringent nature of RA regulations.


One notable adjustment observed is in the description of certain finfluencer-led groups, now including an RA license number, albeit belonging to someone not previously associated with the finfluencer.


A director at brokerage firm explained that while someone without an RA license can be employed by a registered entity, advice must be provided under the name of the licensed entity, a regulation currently being circumvented by finfluencers using rented licenses.


Currently, the finfluencers are citing an RA license that they have ‘rented out’ but it is still the unregistered finfluencer, who is giving the advice, which is against the regulations.


Even to be working with a registered RA, individuals are required to hold a postgraduate degree or a professional certification, along with a minimum of five years of market experience—criteria many finfluencers do not meet.


However, as one finfluencer candidly shared, such credentials can be fabricated or can be bought in the market… if you want an experience for a job, you can reach out to an uncle, who runs a shop and ask for a certificate.

Finfluencers argue that the current regulations lack clarity and are too restrictive for active traders.


One of the bigger finfluencers said that many of them have been trying to get an RA license for the past few months but are being rejected because of a lack of credibility.


“Every finfluencer has broken at least one RA rule,” he said.

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Furthermore, some have attempted to bypass these restrictions by registering as training entities, which allows them to offer stock tips and trading advice indirectly through educational workshops.


However, this approach is becoming increasingly untenable as regulatory scrutiny tightens.


For example, there is a company that tried to get a license, but they are registered as a training-learning company with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. So they can’t give advisory under that. Therefore, they have to set up a whole different company now and then apply for an advisory license.


This process could delay the registration by months.


The third issue is that live trading is the lifeblood of the finfluencer economy. A registered RA is not allowed this.


First-time traders need handholding and live trading sessions. Without these, and the tips and calls, people won’t come for the workshops and classes. - said the finfluencer.


These issues underscore the complex relationship between finfluencers and regulatory bodies, highlighting the ongoing struggle to balance effective regulation with the dynamic nature of the influencer-led financial advice landscape.





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About

My name is Ankit Uttam

I'm an Author (20+ books- A few of them have been on bestsellers charts too), and I'm a solopreneur who is trying to learn each day about how to navigate this growing space and also help a few people along the way.

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