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Ever Wonder How Much Money The Highest-Paid Social Media Influencers Make? Here's A Complete Breakdown

By Ella Carroll-Smith··  6 min read
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Love them or hate them (or maybe you love to hate them), there’s no denying that social media influencers have a lot of sway in today’s culture. But have you ever wondered just how much money they make off their content?

If they have a large enough following, content creators can make a lot of money. You’ve probably noticed that some of your favorite influencers often enjoy the finer things in life, and with good reason! We’re all spending more time on social media these days, and marketing teams around the globe know that. In the current world of advertising, running ads on television shows is out and social media ads are in. 

Social media ads also make it easier for companies to target their core demographics. You’ve probably noticed that as soon as you like one post for something, you start seeing more ads related to that topic. You’re also more likely to respond to an ad if you don’t even realize it is one, which is where influencers come in. Hearing about a product directly from someone we’re familiar with and respect (even if we don’t know them personally) will make us far more likely to buy. So much so, that brands are shelling out big bucks to score endorsements from those with the biggest online followings. Let’s dive in and see just how many bucks, exactly. 

Celebrity Influencers

Because celebrities who became famous prior to social media have an unfair advantage, we’re splitting this list into celebs and non-celebs to make it more interesting. Here are the top five highest-earning celebrities:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is one soccer star that even ladies who hate sports will probably recognize. While he’s an excellent soccer player, he’s also excellent at making it onto multiple “Sexiest Man Alive” lists. It’s pretty obvious why so many people follow Ronaldo on social media. He has 464 million Instagram followers. That’s a lot of eyes on his posts, which is why it’s understandable that he makes an estimated $673,528 - $1 million per post.  

2. Kylie Jenner

This might come as a surprise to some, but Kim Kardashian actually isn’t the top-earning member of the family when it comes to social media content. Entrepreneurial Kylie Jenner, who launched her own beauty brand, Kylie Cosmetics, is one of the most well-known figures not only in popular culture, but within the beauty industry as well. She has 335 million Instagram followers and rakes in an estimated $673,528 - $1 million per post. 

3. Leo Messi

Leo Messi is one of the most well-known professional soccer stars in the world. While he’s arguably not quite as famous as Ronaldo, he’s still doing pretty well for himself with his 344 million Instagram followers. If you’re unfamiliar with Messi, he hails from Argentina and often posts pictures of his adorable family. When he’s not posting wholesome photos of his kids, he often collaborates with well-known food and fitness brands, to the tune of around $651,957 - $1 million per post. 

4. Selena Gomez

While we were first introduced to Selena Gomez thanks to the Disney Channel and her role on the extremely popular show Wizards of Waverly Place, she’s come a long way since then. Gomez is now an internationally-renowned singer, actor, and influencer. Gomez has a whopping 332 million followers on Instagram, and when she’s not busy palling around with her BFF, Taylor Swift, she uses the platform to make an estimated $636,320 - $1 million per post. 

5. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Back in the late ‘90s, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was making a name for himself in WWF, could anyone have predicted that he would go on to become one of the top-earning and most recognized actors in Hollywood? It seems like Johnson is everywhere you look these days: kids movies, action films, network dramas, TV commercials, and – of course – social media. Johnson boasts an impressive 325 million Instagram followers and receives around ​​$628,429 - $1 million per post. 

Non-Celebrity Influencers

We can’t let the celebrities have all of the fun! Non-celebrity influencers didn't have the advantage of prior fame when it came to building their followings and many grew their fan base from nothing to get to where they are today. Here are the top five earning influencers who've made a name for themselves on social media:

1. Lele Pons

Venezuelan-American star Lele Pons rose to popularity on Vine before the short-form video platform closed its doors in 2016. Now, she’s even more well-known as a YouTuber, singer, podcaster, and general all-around internet celebrity. While she’s undeniably gorgeous, Pons’ 49 million Instagram followers love her for her real-ness. She’s unafraid to post pictures of her cellulite or photos from unflattering angles. Brands love it too, and they dish out about $180,000 per post. 

2. Charli D’Amelio

18-year-old Charli D’Amelio became famous for her dance moves on TikTok, where she boasts 143 million followers. Charli is one of the youngest influencers on the power list, and it must be genetic because (spoiler alert) her older sister Dixie is on this list as well. They even starred in a (widely panned) reality show together. Over on Instagram, Charli has a very respectable 48.8 million followers and can pull in around $173,000 per post. 

3. Addison Rae

Like Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae also rose to fame for posting dances on TikTok, where she has 88.1 million fans. She’s only 21 years old, but has already made quite a name for herself across the internet and even on the big screen. Last year, she starred in the Netflix film He’s All That. She has 40.4 million Instagram followers and can earn about $156,000 per post. 

4. Sommer Ray

Fitness model Sommer Ray also posted her way to prominence on social media. Her 26.5 million Instagram followers enjoy her healthy lifestyle and workout content. The 25-year-old is also an entrepreneur and launched her own activewear brand, Sommer Ray Shop. Quite the businesswoman, Ray often partners with brands over on Instagram where she pulls in about $108,000 per post. 

5. Dixie D’Amelio

Like her younger sister Charli, 20-year-old Dixie D’Amelio is also a social media star. While her sister’s a dancer, singing is Dixie’s artistic medium of choice. She just released her debut album, A Letter to Me, and is currently on tour with the band Big Time Rush. Dixie has 34.6 million followers on TikTok and 25 million on Instagram and earns an estimated $100,000 per post. 

Closing Thoughts

Social media has changed our lives in many ways. There are a lot of negatives, but it has also fostered an entrepreneurial spirit among younger generations that sets them apart from their peers. Social media certainly has its dangers and we should remain cognizant of them, but it can also be used for good. It’s pretty cool to think that with the power of an iPhone alone, anyone can theoretically post their way to millionaire status. 

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