When it comes to being a successful influencer like Kim Kardashian or Jay Alvarrez, sex really sells.
In fact, a new study shows that the more Instagram stars show off their flesh while promoting products, the more money they make.
By studying hundreds of top influencers and their Instagram posts, researchers found a connection between body exposure and their salary.
Photos show that some of the top Instagram influencers have shed their clothes over time as they realized that their skin was how they made big money.
Although Instagram bans shots of “sexual intercourse, genitals, and completely bare buttocks,” celebs are pushing the boundaries by being as racy as possible.
Instagram influencers like Kim Kardashian (pictured) have gained millions of followers by showing off their flesh in their snaps
The more Instagram stars show off their full faces while promoting products, the more money they make, a new study shows. Pictured: American model and actor Jay Alvarrez, who regularly promotes brands such as Calvin Klein and Armani
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who has the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
Influencers promote products such as food, clothing brands, makeup, smartphones, home appliances and much more.
Companies responsible for the products pay influencers up to thousands of dollars per post, depending on the size of the audience.
Instagram stars are not paid by the platform, but primarily by advertisers to promote their products.
So if an influencer posts a photo promoting the product that shows a lot of skin, the post is more likely to attract attention – and in turn drive sales of the product.
How much they get depends on how many followers they have, but the study estimates an average of £14,500 ($17,993) per post.
“The results actually show a positive influence of body exposure on financial success,” said study author Sonia Gaenssle from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
“The results suggest that there is significant demand for sexualized content, but also raise questions about objectification, body image and perceptions of beauty.”
For the study, Professor Gaenssle examined 500 top Instagram stars in five categories – fashion and beauty, fitness and sports, music, photography and food – all of them people.
Although not all stars in the sample tend to flaunt their flesh in their posts, some do – including US models Jojo Babie and Jay Alvarrez.
Professor Gaenssle analyzed each account’s last 12 snapshots and the level of nudity they contained – namely bare skin such as legs, stomach, buttocks or parts of a breast.
By studying hundreds of top influencers and their Instagram posts, researchers found a connection between body exposure and their salary. Pictured: Kylie Jenner has almost 400 million followers on Instagram and regularly appears in revealing outfits
Photos show that some of the top Instagram influencers have shed their clothes over time as they realized that their skin was how they made big money. Pictured: US model Jojo Babe
Although Instagram bans shots of “intercourse, genitals, and completely bare buttocks,” celebs are pushing the boundaries by being as racy as possible. Pictured: Addison Rae became famous on the video-sharing app TikTok and now has 36.8 million followers on Instagram
Full nudity is not allowed on Instagram and the platform uses a combination of human moderators and AI to ensure people follow the rules.
Professor Gaenssle also considered popularity information, including likes and comments per post, as well as the account’s followers.
This was compared to data from Heepsy, a website that provides price estimates per Instagram post for companies looking to find influencers for promotions.
According to Professor Gaenssle, while revealing photos are not “essential to success,” they are still widely used.
She found that accounts whose posts featured higher levels of flesh had higher earnings in all genres except music.
This was particularly true for influencers promoting fitness and fashion – perhaps where displaying flesh is more expected.
“The sample clearly shows a positive influence of body exposure on financial success,” said Professor Gaenssle.
“Accounts with high levels of body exposure earn higher prices and advertising revenue than accounts with less nudity, regardless of gender.”
Professor Gaenssle also found evidence of the gender pay gap on Instagram and “potential inequality in the social media industry.”
Instagram stars are not paid by the platform but primarily by advertisers to promote their products. Pictured: British television presenter and radio DJ Maja Jama, who has 3 million Instagram followers
Pictured are some of the reports considered in the study – Jay Alvarrez and Jojo Babie (left and center), showing off their flesh, and Zeliha Küçükturan (right), a food star not showing off skin
Aside from music, the researchers found that accounts that displayed higher levels of flesh in their posts achieved higher levels of income
According to the sample, male influencers command higher prices for promoting products on Instagram compared to female influencers, she said.
“It raises questions about the societal and cultural factors that may contribute to this bias, including gender stereotypes and expectations about the value of male versus female content,” she said.
“Male content, on average, commands higher advertising rates, whereas female accounts provide more branded content and ultimately generate higher advertising revenue.”
The scientist points out that there are multiple sources of revenue on other social media platforms, not just advertising revenue.
For example, OnlyFans, which primarily offers adult entertainment content and for which users pay subscriptions, could be popular models in the coming years.
The new study was published in the journal Kyklos.
Is Instagram damaging your self-confidence? According to a study, people who spend more time on social media struggle with their body image
Instagram is often criticized for creating unrealistic body ideals, but a new study suggests our loved ones are more to blame than celebrities.
In experiments, participants reported how satisfied they were with their appearance when they saw other people’s social media posts throughout the day.
Researchers found that engaging with posts from friends and family is “more harmful” than engaging with content posted by celebrities and influencers.
It’s possible that a desirable body image from a famous person is perceived as less attainable, so we worry less about it than if it came from a friend or family member.