Who Are the Top 10 Influencers in the World? [Updated Jan 2023]
Instagram has become one of the world’s most important social media platforms, with the most successful users generating millions of followers and eye-watering engagement on their Instagram accounts.
This online photo-sharing platform might have started out with humble beginnings, but it’s given rise to the concept of Instagram influencers and their invaluable reach and trust with audiences.
Alongside Instagram Ads, savvy brands from every walk of life can form partnerships with the ideal influencers to create stellar interest in their products and services.
If you’re ready to make Instagram a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy, consider the world’s most successful Instagram influencers and how they create and share content with their audience.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 527M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/cristiano/
Second only to the official Instagram account, Portuguese football icon Cristiano Ronaldo has the most Instagram followers in the world, with a mind-blowing 527 million followers.
You might be wondering how Ronaldo managed to acquire the most followers over popular actors, singers and models, so maybe this will clear things up:
Having risen to global prominence with Manchester United, his move to celebrated European football clubs like Real Madrid and Juventus cemented his enormous fan base.
With the looks to back up his talent on the pitch, Ronaldo commands an estimated $2.3 million NZD to endorse a product.
Thanks to his brand that screams success, world-renowned companies such as Armani, Tag Heuer, Egyptian Steel and Herbalife have all sealed sponsorship deals.
2. Lionel Messi – 414M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/leomessi
Argentinian footballing hero Lionel Messi is the next most popular account on Instagram, with a staggering 414 million followers. Frequently described as the world’s best player of the world’s most widely played sport, his goals have inspired billions internationally – especially after helping Argentina win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Emerging from the junior ranks of Catalonian giants Barcelona, he remained at the iconic club for 16 seasons before controversially transferring to French club Paris Saint-Germain in 2021. In fact, the first photo shoot at his new club generated 22.1 million likes – the ninth-most ever on the social network.
With endorsements from Adidas, Pepsi, Gillette and Turkish Airlines, Messi charges $1.7 million NZD for each sponsored post.
3. Kylie Jenner – 377M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/kyliejenner
With a personal fortune estimated in the billions, reality TV star and cosmetics empress Kylie Jenner is perhaps the star most associated with the emergence of social media influencers.
Having appeared on the hugely popular series Keeping Up with the Kardashians from 2007 to 2021, Kylie soon managed to transition from celebrity and fashion blogger to businesswoman.
Her company, Kylie Cosmetics, has proved an international success with beauty enthusiasts loving the brand’s products, which often sell out as soon as they become available.
Supported by her socialite siblings who are also top influencers, Kylie Jenner’s vast Instagram fame is hardly surprising, especially among the social media platform’s youthful audience.
4. Selena Gomez – 367M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/selenagomez
From a young age, Selena Gomez was destined to become a massive celebrity. Appearing in hugely successful Disney TV shows like Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place, these early jobs earned her increasingly prominent roles in films and television series.
Gomez has also embarked on a successful music career, releasing three albums with her pop band Selena Gomez & The Scene. Plus, a string of wildly popular solo recordings has performed on the charts, such as ‘Come & Get It’ and ‘Same Old Love.’
Beloved for her laid-back attitude and global appeal that resonates with audiences far and wide, her prominent relationships with celebrities like Nick Jonas and Justin Bieber also catapulted her to the top of Instagram’s influencers.
As one of the top Instagram influencers on the social media platform, Selena Gomez has expanded her brand and entered the lucrative makeup market with Rare Beauty – giving the likes of Rihanna and Kylie Jenner a run for their money!
5. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – 356M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/therock
Dwayne Johnson, aka ‘The Rock’, is one of Hollywood’s biggest names, having established an enormous fan base that can’t wait to catch his latest blockbuster movie.
However, his fame was already big from his days as the leading WWE wrestler during the company’s peak. With appearances in various movies and shows throughout the early 2000s, his cinematic break came in 2001 with a leading role in The Mummy Returns.
Known for his friendly persona, philanthropy and all-around charisma, Johnson is recognised as Hollywood’s highest-paid actor, while his incredible influence means social media endorsements demand a juicy fee.
6. Ariana Grande – 347M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/@arianagrande
American singer, songwriter, and actress Ariana Grande is undoubtedly one of the platform’s most influential voices. Starting out in theatre, Grande grew to widespread popularity with a role in the Nickelodeon series, Victorious.
However, it would be the music industry where her fame would achieve its pinnacle. Renowned for her impressive four-octave vocal range, her debut album ‘Yours Truly’ debuted at number one on the US Billboard charts, while four of her next five albums also achieved the same result.
Besides a high-profile relationship with rapper Mac Miller, Grande has twice been named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Just like many popular singers these days, Ariana Grande has capitalised on her name and entered the business world, specifically in the perfume industry and more recently, the makeup industry with R.E.M Beauty.
7. Kim Kardashian – 339M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/kimkardashian
Rising to fame as a close friend and stylist to iconic socialite Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian reached international success as the leading personality behind Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
With her personal life making headlines in America and around the globe, her marriage to recording artist and fashion designer Kanye West pushed the couple’s celebrity to stratospheric heights.
Across several TV series, cosmetic brands and endless endorsements, Kim Kardashian is considered the face of modern celebrity culture, with an Instagram audience of 296 million followers.
8. Beyoncé – 289M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/beyonce
Beyoncé is yet another pop icon on this list. Like many, her career has taken numerous twists and turns, since she first came to global stardom as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child – one of the all-time bestselling girl groups.
Her fame only continued to grow after turning to a solo music career, with numerous albums delivering a wealth of number-one hits as well as victories at the American Music Awards, Grammy Awards and more.
Alongside leading roles in popular films such as The Pink Panther, Dreamgirls and The Lion King, Beyoncé is undeniably an icon of her generation.
Beyoncé is no stranger to exhibiting her impeccable style in her Instagram posts either, and even recently became a brand ambassador for none other than Tiffany’s.
9. Khloé Kardashian – 287M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/khloekardashian
Like her siblings, Khloé Kardashian achieved success following Keeping Up with the Kardashians. As a beloved media personality, she has grown her celebrity by appearing on television shows like X-Factor and Celebrity Apprentice.
Meanwhile, she’s also presented several spin-off series focused on her personal life, including Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami and Khloé & Lamar.
Khloé has also earned fame on the runway, strutting the catwalk for renowned high-fashion labels such as Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Victoria’s Secret. Named one of the highest-paid models of 2018, she charges over $800,000 NZD per sponsored Instagram post.
Khloé is also the co-founder of the acclaimed denim brand, Good American – acclaimed for its high quality and inclusivity.
10. Justin Bieber – 272M Followers
Image source: instagram.com/justinbieber
Justin Bieber is one of the best examples of celebrities rising during the digital age, with his musical talent being discovered on YouTube in the early days of the platform and undoubtedly inspiring others to try and reach the same fate.
Releasing his debut pop album in 2010, the album soared to the number one spot, making him the youngest solo male act to accomplish the feat in 47 years. Nowadays, he has over 150 million global record sales.
Bieber’s reputation as a hugely influential celebrity continues across social media, with his diehard fanbase supporting every new song release and endorsement.
Bieber’s relationships have also frequently been the subject of media attention, particularly those with Selena Gomez and Hailey Baldwin (now Bieber, following their marriage).
Chat with the Experts
Whether you’re looking to partner with the ideal Instagram influencer or kickstart a lucrative Instagram Ads campaign, the marketing specialists at First Page Digital know what it takes to succeed.
With our social media team working alongside leading brands day in and day out, our unmatched expertise has skyrocketed the profiles of countless companies while generating stellar sales.
Get in touch with our talented team to find out how we can design and implement a tailored Instagram marketing strategy for your business today.