Costs of social media marketing and contracts: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

  1. How much has been spent on social media marketing, if possible broken down by which channels i.e. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and any other similar platforms that have been used.
  2. Who has this money has gone to? For example, has it gone to companies, if so, which ones? And has it gone to individual “influencers”? If so, how much has gone to each influencer for their role in social media marketing for Scottish Government activities and policy related content and which influencers were used and on which social media channels?
  3. Is a procedure in place for any such marketing contracts. i.e. how are these influencers or companies selected, how are the marketing campaigns or posts planned: for example, does ScotGov give a specification of the post to be put out, or is this at the discretion of whoever the marketer is? If a spec is given, roughly how this is designed and decided upon by ScotGov? Alternatively, if no spec is given and it’s at marketers' discretion, is advance notice or a sample of the marketing content given to ScotGov for sign off before being made public and if this is the case, who is responsible for signing this off?


1. Table A provides figures for paid social media marketing during the time frame requested.

Table A

2019 2020  2021 2022  2023 (Jan

Meta (Facebook
& Instagram) 

£332,194 £1,297,951   £2,303,016 £1,180,210 £109,165  £5,222,536
LinkedIn       £3,100    £2,966  £74,943  £3,516    £0   £84,525
Twitter £100,869     £455,795    £1,013,506   £377,704    £3,141    £1,951,015
Snapchat    £13,822   £101,088   £70,766   £76,700   £485  £262,861
 TikTok       £0  £71,179  £127,371    £112,507  £7,321    £318,378
YouTube     £77,165    £484,384  £747,432    £324,665    £33,049   £1,666,695
Twitch         £70,000   £30,000  £83,460    £121,495    £0    £304,955
Reddit         £0    £8,955   £14,587    £0  £0    £23,542
Total           £597,150    £2,452,318    £4,435,081  £2,196,797   £153,161   £9,834,507

2. Paid-for-media Scottish Government marketing activity is commissioned through the Marketing and Media Services Frameworks. The Scottish Government do not directly pay individuals or media organisations. Payment is made directly between the appointed Scottish Government media or marketing agency to the recipient.

Table B shows the total spend on influencers during the time frame requested. A detailed list of the influencers used, in which year, and on which social media channels is attached with this response. Individual agreements and contracts with influencers are negotiated between the appointed marketing agencies and the individual and approved by the Scottish Government. These individual fees cannot be disclosed by the Scottish Government as they represent commercially-sensitive information.

Table B

Total influencer spend by year
2019         2020  2021   2022    Total
£14,225            £59,245   £59,056  £25,530  £158,056

3. Marketing activity is planned on a campaign-by-campaign basis. Once the strategy is agreed, the appointed media agency will recommend the most effective mix of paid-for-media channels to deliver the campaign objectives and reach the target audience cost effectively. This might include paid-for social media adverts. These posts are created by the contracted agency in collaboration with the Scottish Government, who ultimately sign them off.

In addition, influencers can be commissioned to create posts and share them organically on their social media channels depending on the nature of the campaign and target audience. Consideration is given to what a celebrity/influencer involvement will achieve, with a detailed brief agreed on expected outcomes and requirements. The marketing agency then works with the influencers to develop content promoting the campaign while remaining true to the influencer’s own style and voice. Influencers develop content themselves, which is reviewed by agency partners and the Scottish Government before posting.

Influencer remuneration and contracts are managed directly by the appointed marketing agency.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202300337969 Annex A - influencer list


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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