How Much Are Good Instagram Handles Really Worth?
Being in the social media business, one thing which a lot of people overlook tends to be just the value of a good handle. While it’s not necessary to building a good brand, having a handle such as @Earth, @Food, @Charles or in our companies case @Restaurants, @Luxury, @India and @ComicBooks can be a gift in being able to establish a real brand presence. And hunting for good handles, I’ve just noticed a trend of people who own great handles which don’t even really have a sense of what they are worth. The number of times I’ve spoken to people with handles such as @Italian, @Caribbean, @Soul and dozens of other great ones where people don’t really seem to know what they are worth is kind of nuts. A lot of the times, I’ve tried to reach people such as @America where they have borderline no activity on the account, don’t read messages and as funny as it is, aren’t even from America. Doing all of this though, I get asked pretty often “What is my handle worth?” and for that, I’ve decided to write an article.
The most obvious thing in pointing out the value of handles is comparing the @ to the .com. Insurance.com sold for 35m in the highest purely domain sale ever made public. Other single word domains such as previously Succeed.com sometimes sit there where the brand value is hundreds of thousands if not millions. So to a lot of people, they’d see Sex.com going for millions and think @Sex should be valued somewhere in category.
This feels like it should be true, but just isn’t for a few very real reasons.
- With a domain, it’s always the domain owner who has it. No one can suspend it, take it away or anything like that. An Instagram handle just isn’t that case. Post something bad and it’s gone. Hell, just make a mistake of changing our handle name for a few seconds and it could be gone. There’s really no way to preserve it as sad as that is.
- Transferring handles is in short, a bitch. Instagram doesn’t have an easy process to transfer a handle so a person has to just change their existing handle, name their new account that handle and hope for the best. A bot could be following and beat the user to do the change. That or just something as unlikely as a bad WiFi signal letting someone see it. It’s unlikely, but even that .001% chance is enough to not value it like a domain.
- And the final point, Facebook & Instagram do not officially allow people to sell accounts. It happens every single day. There’s also ways to get around it obviously. With Fox being sold to Disney, I’d take a wild guess Disney is buying probably thousands of accounts on Instagram and Facebook with combined billions of followers. And of course with larger brands, there’s equity and more that means getting sold is part of the deal. However, this is all pretty hard to enforce in contract and unless someone can state the account or page as part of IP, it’s likely not gonna be enforced by the law or Facebook. This again seriously hurts value on accounts and handles.
Considering these three things though, handles are still worth quite a bit of money. The domain Luxury.com is likely worth a couple million, but the handle @Luxury is likely also worth an easy $50,000 to the right buyer. So while they are never going to be like .com’s, they can easily still hold their own valuation wise.
Doing that, let’s just actually talk about what really makes a good and a bad handle. The domain Insurance.com sold for 35 million. However, the handle @Insurance probably wouldn’t sell for that much. This is just due to Instagram and the internet still being pretty different animals. Owning a domain such as Florida.com is sort of limited. How many people will really take the time to login Florida.com? How many uses could possibly be for it? Why does this need to exist? Those questions exist for a domain, but a handle such as @Florida is a lot easier. It can be just pictures of a state people love and obvious revenue streams such as promotions and ecommerce. It can be a thing every resident and tourist follows. So a word such as @Florida could be heavily value for handle standards, but @Insurance, @Landscape, @News or other things that’d be great domains aren’t worth as much. Domains and handles are clearly different and the values reflect on the markets for Instagram v markets of websites.
Holding that thought on different subjects to a handle, these are just a list of the best type of premium handles a person can have and also the worst.
People’s First Names
Most Food Handles
Core Key Words To Viral Concepts
Urban Dictionary Expressions
Three letter combos that mean nothing.
Anything overly commercial
Services people don’t use
Reading that, we now get into the point of actually valuing a handle and clarifying the two types. Influencers v commodity pages. Influencers being actual people and commodity pages being just accounts focused no topics or brands.
Above is an image of the woman who I believe owns the most valuable handle for an influencer and that’s the lovely model Khloe Terae, aka @Khloe. She is a Canadian born international model doing Playboy, Maxim and other major brands. Her account with two million followers is filled with men who flood her with thousands of comments rightfully saying how beautiful she is. And while she’d probably be famous regardless, she happens to have a handle which is basically Instagram gold. Whenever people type in Khloe Kardashian who has a mega following of over 80 million followers, they’ll likely see @Khloe also pop up in results fairly quickly. It’s a prime edge and is more than just a bragging right. To any model named Khloe, it’s a blessing to have it and the beautiful Ms. Terae does.
However, while @Khloe is lucky, she’s at the top of all this. My name is Charles Peralo. I would prefer having @Peralo over @Charles, because I have an uncommon last name and like others think having just my name could look goofy. I’d gladly take it if offered at that right price, but I’d not pay over $3,000 for it. This is due to most first name handles just being really a bragging right and something easy to remember over anything else. @Khloe has 2 million followers on Instagram. While I’m sure she’s picked up a couple from people searching for Khloe Kardashian, it’s really not THAT likely many people cared. So if someone wants to find their friend Charles Smith and they were to see my profile @Charles as a result, I’d bet it unlikely they would care. This goes where having @Matt, @James, @John, @Kristen, @Savanah or whatever just aren’t as valuable and serve as vanity plates over real business builders.
For that, I’ll just keep it simple. Never pay over $10,000 for a first name handle unless really key to building a personal brand. That or if a person is like my friend @Juvoni who has sort of a rare first name and if he wanted could jump that into a brand if he wanted. It’s also something where no owner of a single word handle should ever sell for under $3,000, but practicality is key here.
Next up, commodity pages.
For this, let me go to the handle that I’d really want to buy right now and can’t even make contact with the owner @America. I look at that handle and just see a huge business. @India is a handle our company is partnered with and while it has not moved much with, the potential is huge. It’s a race of people and an ethnic group. We’ve seen offers on it for well over $50,000 and gladly passed. For @America, it’s the most famous country in the world and a country where a large percentage of its people use Instagram. Its owner who is the UK based Amy Rodriquez who jokes in post about selling the handle could right now easily sell it for probably north of $200,000. This is something where on a fresh new account could with proper imagining, marketing and branding could be a multi million dollar business and have an audience of tens of millions of followers. It could sell things as simple as flag pins, promote tourist zones, be a news brand or anything. It’s quite literally a handle I’d put in the top 25 most valuable handles on Instagram and I have drool coming from my mouth thinking of owning it.
For other handles, our company in a partnership has @Restaurants & @ComicBooks. These are our two best handles and we found them from a nice gentleman based out of Lancaster who got them pretty much by accident. He saw Instagram the first couple of months it was live and thought it could be a big thing. He was a comic book collector and loved comics. He just randomly makes @ComicBooks as his account. His girlfriend at the time loved cooking and he makes @Restaurants. Those two prime handles he had sitting there for years just casually keeping active and also was hit with messages daily asking to sell it. Eventually I found his real name, added him on Facebook and after months of talking made a deal to partner over buy. He didn’t want to sell for something like $10,000 even when offered to him, because he along with us felt they could be worth way more. For those two handles, we have @Restaurants now sitting there with 350,000+ followers and @ComicBooks empty with us making a plan to make it a mega account. We’d with no followers value @Restaurants at about $20,000, but with our current page put a valuation at probably $80,000 due to a strong following and name. @ComicBooks, we’d put without any following at $35,000 and easily over $250,000 if the account could hit a million followers.
With that, our mentality is simple words that have high name recognition behind them and could match with content people want will always have value. So just to give a more firm picture, let’s just list accounts we know, have or work with and give the values as I see them for handles alone without following.
This is to just give a generic picture on valuations. It’s not 100% accurate, but shows different fields, different types of names and different values. It’s also important to note that these valuations could be very very undervalued as Instagram grows. With IGTV and expansion of allowing stores, Instagram could be realistically in ten years a much bigger game. It could be the thing which in a lot of ways replaces the “.com”. So for that, I’d recommend anyone in business to consider investing in prime handles. If a person wants to be in cannabis, get the best pot handle. If a person loves the news, get the best handle. If the person loves sharing photos of hot girls, get the best handles for perverts. They could all within a few years have an extra 0 in value over what they have today.
For that, follow my name full name Instagram handle @CharlesPeralo before I get @Peralo or @Charles.