Luke adds that many stars of that caliber have management protecting their interests, and that their accounts are run more like a corporation—thus their rate is fixed and set independent of fluctuations in engagement numbers. For example, HighKey Enterprises recently reached out to Kim Kardashian to work with her on a giveaway only to discover that her going rate is around $600,000 for a single Instagram post—a number that is non-negotiable even if her actual level of engagement and audience reach doesn’t support that figure. “The reason celebrities can justify these higher costs is because they work and get brand deals with Fortune 500 companies that will say yes to practically any price point,” Luke explained. But when it comes to B-list stars and lower, to say nothing of aspiring online personalities, Jordan explains that drop in engagement can be a killer. He estimates that it could decrease one of their smaller client’s paychecks by as much as a third, making a potential career as a professional influencer almost impossible to attain.
So even though Kim and Kylie are complaining right alongside the rest of us, Jordan explains, “They’re genuinely just annoyed [with Instagram], it’s not hitting their money.” Luke suggests that one way the Kardashian family might be vulnerable to these changes in the algorithm is via their many lifestyle brands that are dependent on the platform for sales, with up to 75% of their business being driven by Instagram, he speculates. “Them not getting as much engagement or viewership is in direct correlation to how much traffic they can drive to their own brands, which is massive,” Luke says. Engagement rates could, at the end of the day, impact sales.
But there too, it seems the Kardashians actually have nothing to worry about. Bergley’s company coined the metric EMV, or Earned Media Value, which is used in influencer marketing to quantify the value of a piece of social media content. And according to this metric, “On the whole,” Begley says, “the Kardashian-Jenner empire is on solid footing.” According to Tribe Dynamics’ data, in the first half of 2022, Kylie Cosmetics has held steady at a $48.8 million Earned Media Value, a 4% year-over-year improvement, which may not sound like much, but that means it’s also far outperformed the top 10 beauty brands’ average 19% year-over-year decrease. Meanwhile, Skims closed the first half of the year with $10.2 million EMV, marking 56% year-over-year growth, and the recent launch of her skincare line, SKKN by Kim, also “proved wildly successful,” Begley says, “suggesting the Kardashians remain royalty in the online beauty world.” Ranked by EMV, SKKN by Kim was the number one skincare brand in the U.S. for June, generating $15.3 million EMV across 2,100 posts from 606 creators.