Dealing with Diversity in Influencer Marketing

A recent report on influencer marketing in the US caught my attention this week in terms of diversity within the industry. There were a lot of very interesting facts and figures; some shocking, some expected. The report was titled, “The State of Influencer Equality™” by IZEA and was published in January of this year.

The results were all very top-line, but some of what I did come across, raised a few questions for me.

I think for marketing and campaigns in general, we are lacking in diversity. I have seen improvements, don’t get me wrong, but often I look at different ad campaigns and think, ‘Really?’.

I don’t want to name names, but I saw a recent campaign for a popular teeth-whitening company that used three influencers for their campaign. Three girls in their twenties who were white, blonde, skinny and very pretty. Are these the only people who are worthy of white teeth?

Anyhow, on the whole, I really do think things are improving and brands are being more conscious to make campaigns and press trips more inclusive and diverse. Well, if they’re not, they really should be.

So in the world of influencer marketing, where do things differ?

1. Gender

The graph below shows that men are being paid a lot more than women, when other results in the data show that influencing is a very female-dominated industry. So here we are again with the gender pay-gap.

Why is it that men are more often than not, paid more than us females? Is it because they find it easier to demand more? They know their worth better than we do? Or because they’re not afraid to be cheeky and ask for more than they should, to see what they can get?

Influencer Marketing Diversity

And why is the influencer world very female dominated? Where are all the male influencers? I actually didn’t realize just how saturated the industry is with females as I’ve always looked at the gaming industry to be heavily male dominated, the fitness industry too. From working in the beauty sector, we worked with a lot of male influencers in that field but then again, most of the time we were working with the same ones.

What do you think holds boys back from being influencers? Lack of confidence? Lack of motivation? Lack of commitment? Or maybe just lack of awareness? Perhaps a lot of boys out there just don’t know that they could be influencing, that they could monetize their thoughts, opinions and content.

I’m starting to ramble and it seems I may be able to turn this into a blog post by itself but when I think of the fitness influencer industry I think of James Smith, Diren Kartal and Ben Francis (GymShark). In the beauty industry, we have Jeffree Starr, Mitchell, Patrick Starr and Manny MUA. They are some of the biggest names in their respective industries, but below them are a sea of female influencers.

Influencer Marketing Diversity

PSA: We need more male influencers!

2. Race

These results were most surprising to me. The top percentage of influencers earning the most in the US are Asian, followed by African-American, with Caucasian being the lowest percentage.

Influencer Marketing Diversity

If we think back to the ‘basic white girl’ stereotype, it was a white girl with Starbucks in one hand and her iPhone in the other, having just finished a SoulCycle spin class. This was your typical Instagram influencer back in the day. But now? Things have definitely changed.

Even though this is only the statistics in America, the results are still very promising. Diversity within influencer marketing is a huge thing and I think most people can agree that we are tired of seeing the same influencers in the same campaigns, or a lack of diversity on press trips.

You would think that in 2020, we would be past this but it still baffles me that Tesco are the first supermarket to release different skin-tone plasters just last month. Not relevant to influencers, but still. Is it only Caucasian people that bleed?

Anyway, this is definitely a very positive statistic for the influencer marketing industry in America and it would be very interesting to see the figures in the UK because something tells me that they wouldn’t be anywhere near as diverse as these figures.

3. Age

A very intriguing one. With the biggest demographic on Instagram being 25-34 year olds, it would suggest that those between that age group should be paid the most. Yet, it would appear that the younger you are, the more you are paid.

Influencer Marketing Diversity

The most paid influencer on YouTube last year was 8-year-old Ryan Kaji. 8 years old and earned $26 million in 2019. How crazy is that? But we all know that parents let their kids watch a lot of YouTube to keep them quiet, and well, what better to watch than another kid on YouTube talking about toys?

I only have to look at some of the influencers that I follow to know that they are paid very, very well. Take Grace Beverley for example. The same age as me (22), grew her fitness business while at Oxford University studying a music degree and just renovated her own house in London that she bought herself.

A little bit older, Lydia Millen and Victoria Magrath (inthefrow) have also recently bought or built their own homes, something that will very much come from their influencer salary since both Lydia and her husband are full-time influencers and Victoria’s husband is the photographer for her brand.

There is a lot of wealth to be had in influencing, that’s for sure. But it seems the younger you begin, the more you can earn. Especially when social media is dominated by the younger generation as they are going to relate to people around the same age as themselves.

4. Niche

These results were also very surprising to me. I thought fashion or beauty would have been at the top of this list for sure. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that the sports and fitness industry is huge on social media.

Influencer Marketing Diversity

GymShark started out by sending clothes to fitness influencers and has grew to be one of the biggest sporting brands in the world, having opened their first concrete store in London’s Picadilly Circus just last week as their retail was completely online beforehand.

Another brand that works quite similar to GymShark is MyProtein. Another brand completely reliant on ecommerce, works with influencers to sell products through promo codes, advertisements and hiring social media fitness stars as brand ambassadors.

Being a fitness influencer is a very lucrative career as the likes of Siobhan O’Hagan, James Smith, Becca Gillen, Sinead Hegarty, Diren Kartal and many more, operate through online fitness coaching which allows them to travel and live all over the world while earning a living. Content creation is also a huge part of their job as they have to constantly keep their audience engaged and provide useful content that their followers will use.

One thing I didn’t expect from these results was for the family sector to be so low. I know there is a lot of potential out there for ‘mummy-bloggers’ with a lot of influencers collaborating with kidswear brands, toy brands and kids furniture brands. I didn’t think it was as niche as it was, which makes me think there are a lot of kids brands out there not yet on the influencer marketing wagon.


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