Instagram Divide: Microcelebrity VS Mainstream Celebrity

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By Brittany Wiggins

This article discusses the key takeaways from the second episode of the Straddl Podcast: Double Tap.

In this week’s episode of Double Tap, I spoke with Alex and Brie about the current divide between the social media influencer and the mainstream celebrity.

On Instagram, influencers or microcelebrities (as defined by Susie Khamis), are sustaining a strong relationship with their audience. Khamis explains that microcelebrities are creating relationships that seem real to the audience through the content created and shared online. However, regardless of their strong relationship and engagement levels, when it comes to paid sponsorships on Instagram, social media influencers or micro-celebrities, are facing a pay gap.

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In August, social media analytics website, Hopper released an Instagram Rich List , revealing the top 75 highest paid celebrities and microcelebrities. The list states on average how much each instagram users is paid per sponsored post. Hopper revealed the highest paid user to be Kylie Jenner, earning an average of $1,000,000 per sponsored post. Whereas, one of the highest microcelebrity found on the list, Lele Pons only earning on average, $32,000 per sponsored post.

YouTuber, Philip Defranco broke down the average engagement levels of both Jenner and Pons Instagram accounts. Defranco found that Jenner receives on average, 3.1 million – 6.9 million likes on her photos and 3 million – 7.7 million views on video content. Whereas, Pons’ photos receive 2.5 million – 3.8 million and 6.5 – 21.6 million video views. Although both Pons and Jenner have similar engagement levels on Instagram, Pons’ is earning $968,000 less.

Here are 3 factors, Alex, Brie and I came up with as to why this pay gap may exist:

1: Differing Demographics

Pay may differ between brands and a user’s demographics.

Both Kylie Jenner and Lele Pons brand themselves differently and therefore attract different sponsorships. Pons creates light comedy and lifestyle content and partners with accessible brands like Budweiser Beer and Strike Bowling. Whereas Jenner, soon to be the youngest billionaire, appears to partner with luxury brands such as Dior.

2: Popularity Within Traditional Media

Brands may consider the popularity of a user within traditional media as an important factor.

Jenner is a prominent figure in traditional media. Her family’s television show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians reaches an audience of 1 million viewers per episodeWhereas Pons’ creates digital content for her YouTube channel, in which she reaches an average of 4 million viewers each dayTherefore, brands may view popularity within traditional media more valuable than success on digital platforms.

3: Lack of Awareness

Lastly, there may currently be a lack of awareness surrounding the pay gap between microcelebrities and mainstream celebrities. Therefore, we may see microcelebrities, digital content creators and their management, approaching brands with proof of their high audience reach and engagement.

To hear more about the current Instagram divide be sure to check out the second episode of our podcast: Double Tap and join the conversation using #DoubleTap!

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