Are you old enough to remember when Twitter was brand new and nobody knew what to do with it? A time, even, before hashtags?
And wealth. You only need a few thousand followers to start making a buck with promotional tweets. And celebrities with millions of followers and a distinct brand (and a nonchalance about “selling out”) are making millions of dollars advertising their sponsors’ products on Twitter.
Just how many millions? Top Dollar used WayBack Machine to track the follower growth of Twitter’s top celebrities since they started tweeting. And we used this Twitter money calculator to figure how much they were earning per #ad each step of the way.
These are the celebrities that have earned the most from Twitter ads since the birth of the internet’s definitive microblogging site.
Kevin Hart and Demi Lovato Rule #Ad Twitter
Our study found Kevin Hart way out in front as Twitter’s top-earning celebrity. The actor and comic has made $13,965,550 from 46 promoted tweets since joining Twitter in 2009, according to our calculations. Now, this figure doesn’t allow for how much money Hart’s controversial tweets have cost him, but on balance, Hart seems to be doing fine. Hart’s Twitter portfolio includes everything from promoting his shows to selling toothbrushes.
Child-star-turned-pop-culture-phenomenon Demi Lovato joined Twitter a month before Hart, when they were just 16. Today, they are the celebrity with the most Twitter money: $10,148,656 from just 23 promoted tweets. Lovato’s Twitter “work” includes promotional tweets for Kate Hudson’s fitness brand, designer watches, and PayPal – but it’s their #SorryNotSorry tweet for their Jaguar F-Type that most embodies the millionaire lifestyle.
Eight of our top 10 earners are in Film & TV or music. The other two? Soccer players. Kaka has netted $5m and Cristiano Ronaldo $4.7m – from just 10 ads.
Pokimane Tops Gaming’s Twitter Ad Leaderboard
The gamers in our study had the highest average number of sponsored posts for any category (64). And gamers occupy eight of the top 10 spots for “most active advertisers.”
Imane Anys, better-known as pokimane, is gaming’s biggest earner by almost a million bucks, totting up just under $4m, mostly selling gamer swag. Pokimane has made a considerable 160 promotional tweets but is out-tweeted by Fortnite player DrLupo, who’s made $2.8m from 212 ads.
Big-Name Soccer Players Net Top Ad Hauls
Big-name athletes have long topped-up their paltry salaries with sponsorship deals. And Brazilian soccer player Kaka may have retired in 2017, aged just 35, but he needn’t worry about his pension. We reckon he’s netted just over $5m from his 22 promotional tweets, cushioning an estimated wealth of around $90m.
Ronaldo’s Twitter ad earnings are only half a mil behind Kaka, and for fewer than half the tweets (22 vs. 10). Stephen Curry is the top athlete outside of soccer, with $2.7m from 33 ads.
Film and TV Twitter Bossed by the Jenner-Kardashian Dynasty
Half the top ten highest-earning celebrities on Twitter are from the world of film and television. And fully half of the top ten film and TV celebrities are Kardashians or Jenners. Between them, Kim, Kendall, Khloé, Kourtney, and Kylie have made $18,451,291 from Twitter ads – still only $5m more than number one Kevin Hart has made on his own ($13,965,550).
TV presenter Steve Harvey is another stand-out figure. He is the second-most active advertiser in our whole study, with 171 tweets – more than three times the number of any other film and TV personality.
Lauren Conrad Earns Double the Income of Other Beauty Influencers
Beauty influencers have the lowest average haul from Twitter ads: around $200,000 each from an average of 20. However, even this low average is dragged up by beauty’s top earner, Lauren Conrad. The designer and co-founder of The Little Market has posted 95 ads, making $3m and change. That’s more than double the rest of the top 20 beauty influencers altogether.
By contrast, second-placed Becky G has marginally more followers than Conrad (3.15m v.s 3.01). But she has made just $248,437 from 18 tweets.
Lady Gaga Reluctantly Earns $4m from Twitter Ads
The second top-earning celebrity in our study is music’s biggest earner: Demi Lovato, whose 55m followers have helped them net just over $10m from 23 tweets. Also notable is third-placed Lady Gaga, who has made $4.08m from just five tweets – the joint lowest number of tweets it took to get into our study.
“I really don’t like selling these fragrances, perfumes,” Gaga told the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. “It feels shallow to my existence. I have a lot more to offer than my image. I don’t like being used to make people money.”
Twitter Advertising – the Last Refuge of Honest Tweeting?
Twitter has become a hive of grifters and big-mouths – and some are using it to nefarious ends. In such an environment, it’s actually refreshing to see the #ad hashtag and know that someone’s trying to sell you something.
But Twitter ads are a sensitive matter to those who use them. The right sponsorship doesn’t just bring in the bucks – it reinforces the celebrity’s brand. The wrong association can distort the brand, impact the future selling price – and leave a distinct sense of selling-out.
Check out our full data in the table below to see how your favorite celebrities measure up.
METHODOLOGY & SOURCES
Lists of celebrities and influencers across categories were assembled from a variety of sources, including Forbes celebrity rich list, SocialBlade’s top gaming YouTubers, and FriendOrFollow’s most-followed Twitter accounts (full source list below).
For each celebrity, we looked at their official Twitter account and counted the number of tweets they’ve posted under the hashtag #ad or #promoted since their account was created. With the help of Wayback Machine, we then looked up how many followers these celebrity accounts had in the year (month where possible) when their #ad or #promoted tweets were posted.
Using Influencer Marketing Hub’s Twitter money calculator, we estimated how much a given celebrity could be paid for posting a sponsored tweet using the average estimated price per follower. Applying these calculations to the celebrities and their followers in the years when they were posting tweets using hashtags #ad or #promoted, we tallied up their potential earnings over the years.
Friend Or Follow. (2021). Most Twitter Followers. friendorfollow.com
Forbes. (2021). The World’s Highest Paid Celebrities. forbes.com
The numbers. (2021). Highest Grossing Stars of 2020. the-numbers.com
YouGov. (2021). The most famous contemporary TV personalities in America. yougov.com
A&E. (20121). 100 Top Beauty Influencers in the U.S. To Follow in 2020. amraandelma.com
Social Blade. (2021). Top 100 Youtubers Games Channels Sorted by Subscribers. socialblade.com
Social Blade. (2021). Top 100 Most Followed Twitch Accounts (Sorted by Followers Count). socialblade.com
ChartMasters. (2021). Most Followed Spotify Artists. chartmasters.org
Forbes. (2021). The Highest Paid Athletes In the World. forbes.com
Cash, M. (2020). The 16 most influential athletes on the planet with the biggest social media followings. insider.com
Wayback Machine. (2021). Way Back Machine. web.archive.org
Twitter Money Calculator. (2021). Twitter Money Calculator. influencermarketinghub.com