A new study analyzing 500 of Instagram's top influencers found that those who post more sexually suggestive sponsored content earn higher pay. Professor Sonia Gaenssle of Erasmus University Rotterdam classified images with over 50% skin exposure as semi-nude. She found that on average, one additional nude photo resulted in a 4% revenue boost per post for influencers. With top stars earning up to $16,000 per sponsored post, that translates to over $1,600 more per nude image.
The pay bump held true for both male and female influencers. However, men tended to command higher prices per post while women scored more brand deals overall. The study indicates consumers’ demand for sexualized Instagram content. Businesses capitalize on that appetite by paying influencers thousands extra for skin-baring shots. The findings raise ethical questions around objectification and idealized body image promotion. But for influencers, sex clearly sells when leveraged for sponsored content.