Paid vs Gifted – What to consider with your Influencer Partnerships

When it comes to influencer marketing campaigns, 2024 looks set to be the year of meaningful creator and brand partnerships that feel authentic and collaborative, rather than forced and transactional. In a perfect world, influencers will be part of the campaign process from the ideation phase, ensuring they’re part of the brand journey and creating content that aligns seamlessly with the campaign and the content style their engaged audiences expect.  

When considering influencer marketing campaigns, the biggest question is often around paid versus gifted partnerships.

What is a paid partnership?

Paid partnerships are when the influencer is paid a fee in return for creating content to promote a product or service.

What is influencer gifting?

Gifted partnerships are those where the influencer has been gifted with a product or a service in the hope that they will be inspired to create and share content on their social media channels.  

How to work with influencers on a gifting basis

If budgets don’t stretch to paid partnerships, there’s often huge value in gifting selected influencers with products. Rather than a scattergun approach, time and energy are needed to carry out research and compile a list of relevant influencers whose own brand, audience and content style align with your product or service. Be realistic with your research, however, and aim for micro to mid-level influencers who are more likely to post in return for a gift, rather than expect payment. 

That said, on more than one occasion we’ve sent products to influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers because our research showed us that they would likely be interested in the product, and we’ve been rewarded with some really strong coverage on their social channels. There’s an element of luck at play, yes, but it’s also down to that important research piece to unearth those creators who are most likely to sit up when your product or service lands in their post box or inbox.  

It’s important to note here that you have very little control over the content that goes live through gifted partnerships. The influencer is under no obligation to post, and if they do, they can say what they like. You can share your messaging as part of the gifting process, but after that, it’s up to them. Of course, if you’ve gifted a high-value product or service then this usually brings a little extra certainty that at the very minimum, they will post something about it, even if it’s just an Instagram story. This all goes back to what I said earlier about putting the time into research and compile a suitable list of relevant influencers who are more likely to be interested in your offering rather than sending it to the masses and seeing what sticks. There’s less risk. Unless they simply don’t like the product, in which case the likelihood is that they just won’t post about it. However, if they do post a negative review, that’s when your agency partner can support the best course of action. 

How to work with influencers on a paid basis

Paid partnerships are a whole different ball game. First and foremost, you have far more control. When fees are being exchanged, you can share a campaign brief, negotiate deliverables and posting times, and you can even ask for videos to be re-filmed or photos to be shot again if they’re not right the first time around. Through paid partnerships, the influencer is under contract once negotiations are carried out, so content posting is guaranteed. 

Through paid partnerships, you can work with creators with much bigger follower numbers, budget-dependent. There’s also an opportunity for usage rights to be agreed at the negotiation stage – often at an additional cost – so that their content can be syndicated across owned channels such as your own social media and website.  

Another big difference between gifted and paid partnerships is agents are the middle people. Influencers with large follower numbers, whose full-time job is creating content for social media, often have agents looking after their business affairs, so It’s likely initial outreach and negotiations as part of paid partnerships will be conducted through these agents rather than with the creators themselves. Roughly 80% of the paid partnerships we manage are conducted through an agent. 

How much do paid partnerships cost? This can vary hugely and there’s often no rhyme or reason when it comes to influencer fees. One influencer might charge £800 to create and post an Instagram Reel, while another with the same follower numbers might only charge £500. This is why the negotiation stage is so important. We know how tight budgets are and we’ll always try to get the best value from our influencer partners.  

Influencer Marketing Trends 2024

  • 2024 is the year creator partnerships will feel more authentic and meaningful. By all means share a brief, but the most effective partnerships are those where the influencer is given creative licence to produce content that best aligns with their personal brand style. 
  • Put the time in to source influencers whose content style and audiences align with your campaign, product or service. 
  • If budgets allow, consider paid partnerships so that you have more control over the content, especially if there’s very specific messaging you need your influencer partners to communicate. But remember to give them enough of that all-important creative freedom. ! 
  • Gifted partnerships can be incredibly effective but it’s important to put in the time and compile a list of influencers who are likely to pay attention to what you have to offer. 

The creator economy is going nowhere and there are huge opportunities for brands to drive awareness and sales through effective paid and gifted partnerships. From engaging niche audiences and micro-communities to partnering with the big spenders and big hitters, authentic influencer partnerships play their part when it comes to supporting you with your brand goals. 

We’ve listed our top five influencer marketing trends that will dominate the creator space this year below.


Five influencer marketing trends that will dominate the creator space this year!💥 Do you agree? #Influencermarketing #trends #creatoreconomy #2024predictions #socialmedia #agencytok #londonagency

♬ Funk It Up – John Etkin-Bell

If you’re interested in discussing an influencer marketing campaign for your brand that will drive real impact, get in touch with our team of experts today.

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