March 14, 2024

Influencer Partnership Preferences: What influencers seek in brand deals


What do influencers want? And does it vary based on how influential they are?

To help answer questions like this, Peersway provided never-before-published data from research with 604 influencers.

Read on to see data about the most and least important factors when deciding to work with a brand, most and least preferred industries to work with, partnership length preference, and if influencers prefer working alone or with representation.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Need help organizing your information about potential influencers? Try the Project Planner expert assistant in MECLABS AI (MECLABS is MarketingSherpa’s parent organization). It’s totally FREE to use (for now).

For example, when I put in this prompt – ‘These are the influencers. Put them into a table and analyze them. Write your criterion out and we will add financial projection information later. [influencer info goes here]’ – I got this chart as output (please note: I just used made up influencer info for this example)…

Marketing Chart: MeclabsAI-Chart

Before you can plan an influence marketing campaign, it helps to know what influencers want so you can build brand partnerships with them. So let’s take a look at some research.

Peersway conducted an online survey in Canada and the United States in July and August 2023.  The nano influencer platform surveyed 604 influencers aged 18 and older.

Decisive factors when an influencer chooses to work with a brand

Chart #1: What are your determining factors when deciding to work with a client? (Rank in order 1 = most important, 5 = least important)

What are your determining factors when deciding to work with a client

Here are some highlights from the data, along with advice to help you act on it:

Client/brand aligns with your brand – #1 most important for 41% of influencers, making it the overall most important factor

 “It's crucial for brands to invest time in thorough research to identify influencers who genuinely resonate with their brand,” said Arnab Majumdar, CEO and Founder, Peersway (the platform that fielded this survey).

"The key to forging successful influencer partnerships lies in understanding their priorities. It's important to align with influencers whose brand values resonate with ours," said Marco Genaro Palma, Chief Marketing Officer, PRLab.

Client/brand aligns with your brand – #2 most important for 19% of influencers

“Let influencers give you some ideas for the collabs based on what their audience will enjoy seeing rather than having a super strict brief with no wiggle room,” advised Hannah Denison, a Seattle Mom Blogger with 24,000 followers on Instagram.

The amount of money or product you will receive as compensation – #1 most important for 29% of influencers

 “Influencers do a lot of work for brands and should be treated as an asset and paid fairly,” said Lexi Fulop, a UGC & lifestyle creator with 15,000 followers on Instagram.

The amount of money or product you will receive as compensation – #2 most important for 22% of influencers

Keep in mind that compensation isn’t always monetary, and can include products. “If we are collaborating with someone, then we would provide our goods in exchange for their services,” said Shreshth Vig, Fashion Manager, Kanchan Fashion, a brand that uses influencer marketing and has 253,300 followers of its own across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

The product is something you would use or a cause you believe in – #1 most important factor of 19% of influencers

“I turn down offers where I have zero interest in the product and know that Pangpang's followers will likely have a similar outlook as I would effectively be wasting everyone's time and would not achieve the objectives of the marketing campaign,” said Dan Hampton, Social Media Creator/Influencer, Pangpang the Pug, which has 700,000 followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

The product is something you would use or a cause you believe in – #2 most important factor for 31%, making it the most frequently chosen #2 factor

“I have turned down offers from companies that I felt weren't the best solution for my followers,” said Krista Kowalczyk, a photo organization mentor and workshop host with 25,100 followers on Instagram. “I have had the best results promoting products that are in the $10 - $20 price range and offer an immediate solution to a problem.”

The required deliverables are fair and reasonable – #1 most important factor for 11% of influencers

“Do not make briefs complicated with loads of mandatory messaging! Your message will be better received if you allow influencers to be creative and tap into trends,” advised Jess Violo, a Toronto creator with 5,546 followers.

Client/brand reputation as easy to work with – #1 most important factor for %1 of influencers

“In one recent positive experience I had working with a brand, I found the team to be very responsive – often jumping on Zoom calls to confirm they were satisfied with the concept and final output. We stayed in communication throughout the process as it involved multiple posts across different platforms and, based on my experience, I'd be happy to work with the brand again in the future,” Hampton said.

Client/brand reputation as easy to work with – #5 factor for 72% of influencers, making it the least important factor overall

“Influencer marketing as an industry is maturing and that means processes across brands are getting standardized, resulting in smoother operations compared to earlier times. As working conditions become more uniform across brands, influencers prioritize factors beyond ease when selecting partners,” Majumdar said.

Influencers’ favorite and least favorite industries

Chart #2: What type of brands do you like worthing with? (Rank in order 1 = Love working with, 7 = Least favorite)

What type of brands do you like worthing with?

26% of influencers love working with beauty and fashion brands the most

The beauty and fashion industries were the industries that influencers most enjoyed working with.

7% of influencers love working with wellness brands the most

“For wellness brands, this could be a matter of safety. Influencers may be unsure of the efficacy of the product or its possible side effects. Influencers typically do not want to promote a product unless they believe in it themselves and with a wellness product, it could take weeks or months before they start to show a positive impact,” Majumdar said.

1% of influencers love working with tech brands the most

 “Tech products are sometimes difficult to explain in 15-30 seconds, so they might be better suited for long-form videos. As influencer platforms embrace longer format content, this trend might change,” Majumdar said.

0% of influencers love working with not-for-profit brands the most

Not-for-profit was the least loved sector by influencers overall. Two-thirds of influencers (67%) said the not-for-profit sector was their least favorite type of brand to work with, and no influencers ranked it as their top choice.

Brand partnership length

The survey also segmented influencers by the size of their audience:

  • Nano – Under 10,000 followers
  • Micro – Between 10,000 and 100,000 followers
  • Macro – Over 100,000 followers

The below charts show data comparing nano influencers with the combined responses of micro/macro influencers.

Chart #3: What type of partnerships do you prefer?

Chart #3: What type of partnerships do you prefer?

61% of macro/micro influencers and 62% of nano influencers prefer ongoing partnerships

“I'm a Shopify partner/affiliate and I get paid monthly,” said Vanessa Franz, CEO and Founder, Privy Review, which has 7,521 followers across TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

39% of macro/micro influencers and 38% of nano influencers prefer one-time campaigns

“This is a sign that influencers want to be very careful about what brands they want to work with on a long-term basis. Instead of getting into a long-term relationship with the brand, they want to understand how the chemistry works. Are they comfortable with the creative vision of the brand? Are they getting the creative freedom to express themselves? Are they getting paid on time? Etc. I believe influencers are still interested in building long-term partnerships with brands, but they first want to make sure that the brand is a good fit for them,” Majumdar said.

Intermediary between influencers and brands

Chart #4: Do you prefer to work:

Chart #4: Do you prefer to work:

46% of micro/macro influencers prefer working alone (most popular choice for micro/macro)

“I'm new and want to gain first-hand knowledge before considering anyone to do the work for me,” said Jules Marie Haight, who has 15,000 followers on Instagram.

54% of nano influencers preferred working with an influencer marketing agency (most popular choice for nano)

From the brand perspective, the agency model is very familiar, since brands use marketing agencies for many other marketing tactics. “If we wish to run a campaign for summer dresses, then choosing the right candidate for the shoot is done by our agency,” Vig said.

"The insight that 54% of nano-influencers prefer working with an influencer marketing agency resonates with our observations in the field. Many of our clients face challenges in [directly] connecting with nano-influencers. While these influencers often yield a more sustainable ROI, the outreach and scaling process is notoriously tricky. Additionally, there's a common concern among clients about nano-influencers' responsiveness," said Dan Ben-Nun, Founder & CEO, Adspace.

41% of macro/micro influencers prefer working with an influencer marketing agency

 “I like access to a variety of brands and campaigns, and the ease of opting in or out,” said Abigail Teixeira, an author, speaker, and coach with 16,300 follows on Instagram.

Related resources

Marketing 101: What is influencer marketing?

Attract New Customers and Increase Engagement: 3 quick case studies of brands using TikTok influencer marketing, email deliverability, and emotive blog posts to get attention and drive sales

Case study examples for each of the 4 parts of marketing

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions