Move over, Facebook: the social media platform to beat seems to be Instagram, and it doesn't look like that's changing anytime soon. Sure, Facebook owns Instagram and all, but if you're trying to keep up with your favorite celebrities, chances are you're doing it through Instagram since that's where they'll be sharing their personal photos. Nowadays, you're just as likely to see celebrity gossip based on an Instagram post as you are from the paparazzi to the point where celebrities are basically their own paparazzi now. Some celebrities have even managed to turn their Instagram accounts (and other social media accounts) into full blown money makers of their own. A select few celebrities have managed to turn their Instagram accounts into million dollar money machines and rise as the highest earning members of the platform.
While some celebrities who make a lot of money off of their Instagram accounts have hundreds of millions of followers, others don't have a lot of followers at all, at least compared to other celebrities. Some earn money by endorsing products and creating posts that promote those products, while others earn their money in other ways. Many of the men and women who made this list actually know each other and are even related to each other, but there are others that are a surprise for everyone. You might have seen their names online or in the papers before, or you might have never heard of these social media millionaires at all. Here are 15 of the highest earning sell-ebrities on Instagram and how they make their money.
15 Poppy Delevingne - 1.2 million followers
For those who are unaware of who Poppy Delevingne is, she's Cara's older sister. She doesn't have as many followers as her little sister, but her decidedly British style has caught the eye of brands like Chanel, Jo Malone and more. She makes something like $26,000 per post, which seems crazy considering how few followers she has compared to say, Cara. However, that's not really what determines your money making power on Instagram. "The biggest misnomer is that the more followers you get, the more influence you have,’ says branding authority Jeetendr Sehdev. ‘But it’s much more about the unique appeal of the celebrity and how that complements the brand." As long as Poppy keeps remembering to explicitly mark her sponsored posts, she should be fine.
14 Suki Waterhouse - 1.2 million followers
Suki Waterhouse makes $26,000 per sponsored post, meaning that even though you haven't heard of her, she's making more money on social media than most could ever dream of. While she can count her big break into notoriety on her relationships with Bradley Cooper, Diego Luna, and Richard Madden, she's also an English actress, model, and businesswoman. She also runs an accessories brand called Pop & Suki, which a ton of celebrities have been seen wearing. Part of why brands pay her to rep their products is because of her unique style: she's approachable, more so than other models, and she has a brand of her own that she launched on Instagram.
13 Karlie Kloss - 6.8 million followers
Karlie Kloss is best known for being part of Taylor Swift's legion of friends. However, she's also known for being one of the highest paid models in the world. If it weren't for Instagram, she probably wouldn't be as well known as she is. She's also a fixture on YouTube for her channel Klossy. For her, Instagram is all about showing her fans her real self. "Obviously, as a model, being in the pages of Vogue is one of the pinnacles of your career, but it’s not always a reflection of me. But it's actually me on my YouTube channel - you actually see me, you hear me." She's done ads for companies like Donna Karan, Nina Ricci, Chloe, Lacoste, Sportmax, and Alexander McQueen. She makes something like ten million dollars a year from this.
12 Blac Chyna - 13.3 million followers
Blac Chyna is unique in the sense that she's a brand new type of celebrity. She didn't get famous because she's an actress, singer, or model. She does model, but she's not the same kind of model as say, Heidi Klum. Rather, she's made her name from selling her own persona. She first entered the mainstream consciousness after her longtime partner and father of her child Tyga left her for the then 17-year-old Kylie Jenner, but before then, she was a reasonably high profile stripper who'd get name-dropped by rappers all the time. She ended up using her considerable social media presence to command an impressive fan base of her own, and it's that social media presence that allows her to be as big of an earner as she is. Back in 2016, it was estimated that she earned as much as $3,000 per post depending on how long it was up for, so nowadays, the sky is the limit.
11 LeBron James – 32 million followers
LeBron James is unique out of everyone on this list. For one thing, he's a man, and for another, he's not a model or singer. Out of the top 10 earners on Instagram, he's one of two men. He earns something like $120,000 a post on Instagram if you can believe it. If you're following him on Instagram, chances are you're in to keep up with his life outside of basketball. This is in addition to the boatloads of money he's constantly swimming in. He's the first athlete in the history of Nike to sign a lifetime contract, which is worth over a billion dollars. Chances are you're going to be seeing a lot more of LeBron James as time goes on outside of basketball. In early August 2017, it was announced that James would be producing a comedy show for HBO about a sneaker store, which actually sounds like it would be a great show. The show doesn't have a set premiere date yet, though.
10 Gigi Hadid - 34.7 million followers
Gigi Hadid's Instagram situation is pretty interesting considering she signed a contract with Maybelline in 2015, so we have no way of knowing if her Instagram posts are built into her contract or if those deals exist separately. Her All-American looks and famous family basically guaranteed her status as a supermodel, but it's her use of social media that has endeared her to her many followers. She's also got a contract with Tommy Hilfiger thanks to her social media presence. When the collaboration between her and Tommy Hilfiger debuted, it led to a 900% rise in traffic to Tommy Hilfiger's website within the first two days of the launch. This just goes to show how effective this kind of deal is. She makes approximately $120,000 per post.
9 Cara Delevingne – 40.4 million followers
Cara Delevingne makes $150,000 per post, which is more than the majority of the American population earns in a year. However, she doesn't just get paid in money for her posts. Recently, she was given an entire island in the Maldives for a week in exchange for Instagram posts with her friends. This sounds like the most awesome job in the world, and it shows how much influence this model/actress commands. Why does this girl command this level of social media clout? "She’s cool and candid," says Jeetendr Sehdev, a branding authority who talked to the Daily Mail. ‘She knows perfection is passé and that her flaws make her fascinating. She embraces difference, and brands wanting to shed old skins would do well to work with her.’" Anyone who follows her on Instagram could probably attest to that.
8 Kourtney Kardashian – 57.8 million followers
Kourtney Kardashian earns approximately $250,000 a post on Instagram, which is around the same amount as her younger sister Khloe. While Kourtney certainly isn't the most private of the Kardashian sisters, she's not the least private either. However, her personal life is just as likely to be newsworthy as that of her younger sisters. In early August 2017, much was made of her ex Scott Disick (himself quite the earner on Instagram) unfollowing her on Instagram because he didn't want to see her posting pictures of her vacation with new boyfriend Younes Bendjima. “Scott is having a tough time and is really struggling with watching Kourtney fall for a young guy like Younes,” an insider told HollywoodLife. “Scott can’t stand watching the mother of his kids chase Younes all over the world." She also uses her account to promote different products and brands, much like other celebrities do, but many of her followers just want to keep up with her.
7 Khloe Kardashian – 68.6 million followers
Khloe Kardashian earns $249,000 a post for Instagram, the same amount that older sister Kourtney does. If you check Khloe's name for trending news about her right now, chances are it's going to lead you to her Instagram account. Unlike the other Kardashians, Khloe is more of a fitness mogul than anything else right now. Her brands are a lot more likely to be fitness and health related than fashion related. Out of everyone in the family, Khloe struggled most publicly with her weight and her fans often get tips on how to lose weight and keep the weight off. She's hosted talk shows and even a reality TV show on how to gain a "revenge body." The show garnered a lot of controversy for its content and the way it approaches weight loss, though.
6 Kendall Jenner – 81.7 million followers
Kendall Jenner, despite being part of the Kardashian clan, earns money on Instagram much in the same way as other supermodels do. She earns $368,000 per post on Instagram, which is a huge step up from what she was earning in 2015. Former casting director Frank Spadafora, who's also the founder and CEO of D’Marie Archive, an analytics group that essentially puts a tangible value on a specific influencer's social power, estimated that supermodels like Kendall Jenner were earning anywhere from $125,000 to $300,000 for a single post from any one of their social media accounts. Essentially, they use the apps we use to share memes to make more money than most of us will ever see. However, because models like Jenner use social media to share their projects with other brands, it's often hard to tell what's a paid post and what isn't. A safe bet: any celebrity promoting a specific brand was probably paid for it unless they indicate otherwise.
5 Kylie Jenner – 95 million followers
Jumping up several thousand dollars, we find the youngest Kardashian sister, Kylie Jenner, who makes $398,000 per Instagram post. She promotes products and brands, including her own, the Kylie Lip Kit brand that's basically stormed the nation. People often forget that Kylie wasn't always the big-lipped, rapper dating makeup entrepreneur she is now. It's because of her age that her physical transformation is seen as the most dramatic when the actual most dramatic Kardashian transformation is probably Kim's or Khloe's.
She was a regular ten-year-old when she started showing up on the family reality show, and no one thought much of the younger kids, more interested in the older kids. As she grew up, she started off looking a lot like Kendall (her only full-blood sibling out of the Kardashian-Jenner kids), and she even went through a bit of an awkward teen phase. She suddenly became the most notorious out of all of them when she suddenly emerged with much bigger lips than people remembered her with and a reputation for dating previously little-known rappers.
4 Beyonce - 99.1 million followers
While Beyonce isn't a member of the top 10 Instagram earners, she earns a spot on this list because any Beyonce post is worth something like a million dollars according to D'Marie Analytics. She's not the most followed celebrity on any social media platform, but she is definitely the most valuable. Back in February, she posted a pregnancy announcement that quickly became the most liked post on Instagram. She also promotes brands, but she's much more discreet about it than say, the Kardashian sisters. She's never had to peddle a product in her life, so when she does promote a brand, most likely it's Ivy Park. “Her limited release of exclusive, curated content…causes such frenzy from her audience,” said chief executive of D’Marie, Frank Spadafora in an interview with MoneyIsh. “These days less really is more.”
3 Cristiano Ronaldo – 108.3 million followers
Cristiano Ronaldo earns a whopping $400,000 per post, which is incredible considering if you don't follow soccer, you might not have even known he exists. That is an incredible amount of money to post on social media. The Real Madrid player is really good at what he does, but what does he do to garner that amount of money doing what supermodels do? The answer: the same thing, basically. He promotes products from brands that he's partnered up with. Aside from Instagram, he made something like 93 million dollars last year! He doesn't just post branded content either: his 100 million plus follower got a photo of his newborn twins in June 2017. He came back from international duty in Russia to spend time with them. He already has a son, but like the twins, we have no idea who the mother of these kids is. Even weirder, he has a partner who's set to give birth to a girl in October.
2 Kim Kardashian – 100 million followers
It's not surprising that Kim Kardashian makes way more money on social media than the rest of her family, but what is surprising is how influential she is to the platform itself. She asked Instagram to add a feature that allows for tagging in galleries that have already been posted and the platform actually listened. She vanished from social media after she was robbed in Paris but came back after four months with a ton of photos that were filtered to look darker. For her, this was just what she liked at the time, but as she was posting them, entire think-pieces were written about this.
Eventually, she got tired of the darker look and asked her fans how she could add more consistency to her feed, and her fans came through with suggestions. People following her were invested in the overall aesthetic of her Instagram feed, which goes to show how people are following her for more than product placements. Despite how everyone seems annoyed with the Kardashians everywhere, she's considered the queen of Instagram for a reason: people actually care about what she does.
1 Selena Gomez – 124.7 million followers
While Selena Gomez isn't really the queen of Instagram or the most liked, she's certainly the most followed celebrity on Instagram and makes the most per post. She makes an astronomical $543,000 per Instagram post, which is insane. The only Instagram account that beats hers in terms of followers is the actual, official Instagram account. Everyone is just obsessed with her Instagram feed and no one really knows why. It's not all that different from any other singer's: it's actually a bit basic and there are points where she isn't posting at all. She's also not the most popular celebrity in the world or achieved unparalleled notoriety either. She doesn't even post branded content that's all that special. Unfortunately, the universe doesn't have to make sense, so the reason why Selena Gomez's Instagram feed is this special has remained hidden.
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