Instagram is not only one of the biggest social media platforms, it’s also one of the most profitable for high profile creators.
Despite having fewer users than platforms like Facebook and YouTube, Instagram’s higher engagement rate gives it one of the highest advertising costs. In 2023, average ad prices on Instagram were estimated at $3.56 cost per click, ahead of every platform except LinkedIn.
For the celebrities with the most followers on Instagram, and the brands trying to profit from their followers, that translates into million-dollar costs for some sponsored posts. Visual Capitalist's Pallavi Rao and Pablo Alvarez has visualized Instagram’s biggest accounts, and their estimated earnings per sponsored post, using HopperHQ data from September 2022.
Calculating The Earnings Per Sponsored Post
It’s easy to assume that the most followed Instagram accounts make the most money on sponsored posts, but that appears to be only partially true.
In conducting research for the dataset, HopperHQ utilized both publicly available data and reports and privately researched statistics to measure the impact of different factors:
Number of followers
Levels of engagement (legitimate views, likes & comments)
Influencer’s category (sports, music, acting, etc.)
Influencer status (previous endorsements, number of endorsements, etc.)
And though the number of followers was the biggest influencing factor, some stars earned more from followers than others.
Costs of the Most Followed Instagram Accounts in 2022
The most followed person on Facebook and Instagram, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo leads the list of the most expensive Instagram accounts in 2022 for sponsored content.
It’s estimated that the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star was able to charge an estimated $2.4 million per sponsored post in 2022. With 442 million followers at the time of calculation, Ronaldo was estimated to charge nearly half a million dollars per post more than the next person on the list.
|Name||Category||Followers||Earnings Per Post|
|Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson||Celebrity||315,999,932||$1,713,000|
|Neymar da Silva Santos Junior||Sport||174,248,989||$945,000|
Kylie Jenner, the world’s “youngest self-made billionaire” according to Forbes, was second with earnings of $1.8 million per sponsored post on Instagram. Jenner, a member of the Kardashian–Jenner family with five of the top 20 most followed Instagram accounts, is also the youngest person among this cohort of big earners on Instagram.
But the most commonly followed celebrities in the top 20 were musicians with household names, including Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift. They accounted for 45% of the most followed accounts.
The Biggest Earners per Follower
Though almost all of the most followed accounts were estimated to cost more than those with lower follower counts, Katy Perry (Rank: 16th) stands out.
Perry was estimated to better utilize Instagram’s reach and earn more in total than #17-19, despite tens of millions fewer followers. In fact, she was calculated to earn more per follower than all of the top 20.
|Rank||Name||Earnings per Follower|
|2||Neymar da Silva Santos Junior||$0.0054233|
|7||Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson||$0.0054209|
The earnings per follower round up to just under a cent each, but tens of millions of followers make a sizable impact. In addition to Perry, Neymar (Rank: 18th) and Miley Cyrus (Rank: 19th) had the highest earnings-per-follower, ahead of accounts with hundreds of millions more followers.
But a new year can bring a lot of changes. The most followed Instagram accounts have already been reshuffled, with Lionel Messi now the second-most followed and Selena Gomez overtaking Kylie Jenner as the most-followed woman. How will potential earnings be impacted this year?