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How Much the Most Followed Instagram Accounts Earn on Posts



A graphic showing the most followed instagram accounts and their earnings per sponsored post.

Most Followed Instagram Accounts and Sponsored Post Costs

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. 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.)
  • Audience makeup
  • 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.

NameCategoryFollowersEarnings Per Post
Cristiano RonaldoSport442,267,575$2,397,000
Kylie JennerCelebrity338,626,294$1,835,000
Lionel MessiSport327,954,875$1,777,000
Selena GomezCelebrity320,082,515$1,735,000
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ JohnsonCelebrity315,999,932$1,713,000
Kim KardashianCelebrity311,685,198$1,689,000
Ariana GrandeCelebrity311,302,908$1,687,000
Beyoncé Knowles-CarterCelebrity256,957,282$1,393,000
Khloé KardashianCelebrity243,609,638$1,320,000
Kendall JennerCelebrity237,977,121$1,290,000
Justin BieberCelebrity236,391,845$1,281,000
Taylor SwiftCelebrity210,659,702$1,142,000
Jennifer LopezCelebrity208,469,193$1,130,000
Virat KohliSport200,703,169$1,088,000
Nicki MinajCelebrity190,264,361$1,031,000
Kourtney KardashianCelebrity177,874,659$964,000
Neymar da Silva Santos JuniorSport174,248,989$945,000
Miley CyrusCelebrity171,147,090$928,000
Katy PerryCelebrity163,620,880$1,029,000
Kevin HartCelebrity143,895,754$780,000

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.

RankNameEarnings per Follower
1Katy Perry$0.0062889
2Neymar da Silva Santos Junior$0.0054233
3Miley Cyrus$0.0054222
4Beyoncé Knowles-Carter$0.0054211
5Taylor Swift$0.0054211
6Virat Kohli$0.0054209
7Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson$0.0054209
8Kendall Jenner$0.0054207
9Kevin Hart$0.0054206
10Selena Gomez$0.0054205
11Jennifer Lopez$0.0054205
12Cristiano Ronaldo$0.0054198
13Kourtney Kardashian$0.0054195
14Ariana Grande$0.0054192
15Justin Bieber$0.005419
16Kylie Jenner$0.005419
17Kim Kardashian$0.0054189
18Nicki Minaj$0.0054188
19Khloé Kardashian$0.0054185
20Lionel Messi$0.0054184

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?

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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How Long it Took for Popular Apps to Reach 100 Million Users

Threads reached 100 million users in just five days. Here is a timeline of how long other popular platforms took to reach the milestone.



A line chart showing the time it took popular apps to register 100 million users on their platforms.

How Long it Took for Popular Apps to Reach 100 Million Users

Of Twitter’s many new rivals, Meta’s newest social media platform Threads has established its presence with a bang.

According to Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, Threads took only 5 days to reach the key threshold of 100 million users. It achieved this milestone through organic demand—and no paid promotions required—smashing all previous records.

But how long have other popular platforms—TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to name a few—taken to build their user base? Pulling data from PwC and Yahoo, we rank how long it took popular platforms to get to 100 million users.



Ranking Every Apps Journey to 100 Million Users

In first place, Threads has a significant lead over the rest of the pack with its five day achievement, and may have built a significant moat in holding on to this record.

Firstly, its launch coincided with Twitter’s viewing limit decision, and rode the wave of dissatisfaction aimed at Twitter’s current owner, Elon Musk.

Secondly, new users on Threads need an Instagram account to register, thus eliminating sign-up barriers and leveraging Instagram’s 1.2 billion-strong user base.

Here’s the journey length of popular platforms to attaining 100 million users:

RankPlatformLaunchTime to 100M Users
1Threads20235 days
2ChatGPT20222 months
3TikTok20179 months
4WeChat20111 year, 2 months
5Instagram20102 years, 6 months
6Myspace20033 years
7WhatsApp20093 years, 6 months
8Snapchat20113 years, 8 months
9YouTube20054 years, 1 month
10Facebook20044 years, 6 months
11Spotify20064 years, 7 months
12Telegram20135 years, 1 month
13Twitter20065 years, 5 months
14Uber20115 years, 10 months
15Pinterest20105 years, 11 months
16Google Translate20066 years, 6 months
17World Wide Web19917 years
18LinkedIn20037 years, 11 months

Ranked second, Open AI’s ChatGPT launched in November 2022 and hit 100 million users by the start of the new year. ChatGPT introduced the incredible capabilities of large language models to the masses, prompting a rush of sign-ups, and reviving old conversations around the potential consequences of AI.

Coming in at third place, ByteDance’s TikTok took just 9 months to reach 100 million users after its launch in 2017. Like Threads, TikTok benefited from another app, accessing popular lip syncing app’s existing user base after it was acquired and folded into TikTok.

WeChat and Instagram round out the top-five, also with interesting advantages. WeChat, an instant messaging platform similar to WhatsApp, benefited from its unique access to China’s notoriously closed internet market of 500 million users in 2012.

Meanwhile, Meta acquired Instagram when the photo-sharing platform had 30 million users, and more than tripled that number past 100 million in just one year.

And while Facebook ranks solidly middle-of-the-pack for fastest to 100 million users, it remains the platform with the most monthly active accounts, at nearly 3 billion. In fact, Meta’s lessons learned from Facebook have been well-leveraged, and the company owns 4 of the fastest apps to register 100 million users.



So What Does Threads Success Mean for Twitter?

Coming back to Threads’ incredible feat, however, it’s still early days whether an en-masse switch from Twitter is on the cards for Meta’s newest platform.

For one, Threads has faced significant criticism due to its intensive data collection practices and lack of accessibility features. It also is missing some key features from its rival, including trending topics, hashtags, and direct messages.

Meanwhile Elon Musk has been less than pleased with Threads’ success, deeming it a copy of Twitter and even threatening legal action.


So where does this leave the increasingly-crowded social media space? The next decade will set the stage for either more platform consolidation, or even further audience fragmentation.

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