- Q4 is typically the busiest season for an influencer’s business.
- But with a looming recession, this season has brought mixed results.
- Here are the trends in Q4 marketing deals and ad rates this holiday season.
The last quarter of the year is typically the busiest season for influencers, with holiday campaigns and end-of-year deals leading to lucrative payouts. But with inflation soaring in the US and a looming 2023 recession, many influencers are seeing mixed results this year.
Insider spoke with six creators and five industry insiders about trends in 2022 Q4 spending. While some are seeing brands spend more than ever, others say the number of deals — and the dollar amounts — have held steady compared to last year. And three sources said the Q4 rush is slower than in years past, showing that the fourth quarter no longer means a reliable income boost for all influencers.
Overall influencer marketing spend is not supposed to drop this year, with brands expected to spend a total of $5 billion on the marketing practice this year, up from $3.9 billion last year, according to an August survey from Insider Intelligence.
This influx of cash is apparent to some in the industry.
“This is the busiest my company has ever been,” said Mackenzie Gaston, CEO of influencer management firm 1AM Management. Her firm recently hired two more employees to deal with the influx in work this quarter.
Carolyn Moneta, WME digital-commercials partner, points to the fact that creators can cost less than traditional celebrities — a win for advertisers looking to spend less.
“Our top creators win in that sense,” she said Carolyn Moneta. “Not necessarily because they have lower rates, but because production costs are lower since creators are the ones actually producing the content in many instances.”
A second talent agent, who spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity to preserve their relationship with brands, said that companies are spending around the same as last year.
Yet, for some, the season hasn’t been as fruitful.
Thomas Johnson, managing director of the talent management firm Shifted Digital, said his company has seen lower budgets overall this quarter.
And Nate O’Brien, a personal-finance influencer with 1.2 million YouTube subscribers, said some brands are paying less for a 60-second video integration than they have in years past.
“Those have gone down considerably,” O’Brien said. “I was getting offers from $20,000 to $30,000; now I see offers in the $10,000 range, sometimes a lot less.”
Deals were slow to come this year
In a normal Q4 season, brands begin reaching out to influencers around late summer to pitch Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday-themed branded content deals. In 2020, for instance, some holiday campaigns began as early as August.
Johnson said typically his team begins working on holiday campaigns in early to mid-September. But this season, pitches for holiday deals weren’t sent until early October, he said.
“It feels like everyone is scrambling to get their campaigns together for holiday this year as we navigate a turbulent market,” Johnson said.
Alessandro Bogliari, CEO and co-founder of the Influencer Marketing Factory, echoed Johnson, and said that this year some brands waited to the last-minute before pitching new deals. In particular, holiday-specific campaigns were slow to come to the agency, he said, because brands weren’t clear on their budgets.
Advertising revenue may be the quarter’s bright spot
While some creators are seeing fewer companies reach out for branded content deals this season, they are almost unanimously reporting that advertising revenue is steady.
So far, YouTube’s creators haven’t appeared to be impacted by the platform’s Q3 advertising slowdown — and some creators have even flourished, like personal finance influencer Joshua Mayo.
Mayo, who has 259,000 subscribers, earned $55,580 in October from AdSense alone, according to documentation viewed by Insider.
“The only place I’ve noticed a major decline, which it didn’t affect me that much because I don’t make a lot of crypto content, was crypto companies,” Mayo said, adding that the only company to cancel a sponsorship with him this year was the troubled crypto-trading platform FTX.
YouTubers Jake Carlini and O’Brien said their ad rates have remained steady year-over-year.
Still, Carlini, who has 395,000 subscribers on YouTube, said he is pushing off his investment plans, like buying rental properties, until the economy improves. Instead he’s investing into a retirement plan.
“I had all these goals,” he said. “I have to push a lot of plans off until things start to change.”