You’re planning to launch an influencer marketing campaign. You already know that influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels. You’ve set aside a budget, and started to plan your campaign.

Now you want to know how to get the most bang for your buck, and maximize the effectiveness, and ROI of your campaign. To ensure that every penny is put to good use, you need to find the right influencers, and carefully plan your strategy.

How much you spend on your campaign depends largely on the type of influencers you choose to work with. You have a couple different options. You could go with macro-influencers, who have a massive reach, and typically charge thousands of dollars per post. Or micro-influencers, who have a smaller reach, but only charge a few hundred bucks for a sponsored post.

Micro vs Macro: Who’s Right for Your Influencer Marketing Campaign?

Not sure which type of influencers will be the most effective for your campaign? Below, we’ll compare the differences, and unique benefits of macro and micro-influencers to help you maximize your influencer marketing ROI.

1. Micro vs Macro – Engagement

One of the most significant differences is the fact that micro-influencers have much better engagement rates than macro-influencers.

Sure, micro-influencers have fewer followers than macro-influencers. But their followers are people who have a genuine interest in their content. Their followers are, therefore, more likely to engage with the content they post, even when it’s sponsored.

A 2016 study by Markerly found that the engagement rate of influencers decreases as the number of followers increases. They researched approximately 5 million Instagram posts from more than 800,000 users.

Based on this study, micro-influencers drive higher engagement than macro-influencers. It found that influencers with 1,000 followers or less get likes on their posts 8% of the time. But posts from influencers with over 10 million followers only get likes 1.6% of the time.

When it comes to comments, micro-influencers get 13 times more than top influencers. Posts from influencers with 1,000 followers or less get comments 0.5% of the time. But those from users with 10 million followers or more only get comments 0.04% of the time.

Let’s test this ourselves by examining three beauty influencers on Instagram. First, let’s take a look at the account of Amadea Dashurie, a beauty and fashion blogger with 581,000+ followers.

Amandea Dashurie Instagram - Micro Influencer

If you check out her posts, you see that most of them have somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 likes. One of them, shown in the screenshot below, has 7,205 likes. That may seem like a significant amount of likes, but if we compare it with her total number of followers, the percentage of likes is only 1.35%.

Amandea Dashurie Instagram account - Influencer

Now let’s look at another beauty and style influencer, Paola Mathé, who has about 102,000 followers. Many of her posts generate somewhere between 1,500 and 4,000 likes.

Paola Mathé Instagram account - Macro Influencer

Let’s check out one of her posts related to beauty. The one below has 1,992 likes, which seems much lower than the 7,000+ likes by the first influencer.

But considering the number of followers Paola has, the post generated 1.95% likes. Many of her other posts have 3,000+ likes, which is more than 3%.

Paola Mathé Instagram

For the last one, let’s look at beauty blogger, Tiffany, who has 16,000 followers. There’s some inconsistency in the number of likes she generates. But many of her makeup-related posts manage to get more than 1,000 likes.

One of her posts, shown in the screenshot below, generated a massive 5,000+ likes. That’s an impressive 32%.

She doesn’t get that many likes on all of her posts, but most get more than 1,500 likes. That means her average engagement rate is about 9.4%. That’s a huge difference from the 1.35% engagement rate of Amadea Dashurie.

Tiffany Instagram account - Middle Influencer

This is just one example of how engagement rates are much higher for micro-influencers when compared to macro-influencers. Although the exact rates are not the same for every influencer, you can see how micro-influencers beat macro-influencers in terms of engagement.

2. Micro vs Macro – Reach

One thing that macro-influencers have that micro-influencers don’t is massive reach. Although micro-influencers have a significant following, their reach is nothing like that of macro-influencers.

In fact, their following size is what defines them as “macro” influencers. There are a few differences in what people consider “macro.” According to Mavrck, they are individuals with 10,000 to 1 million followers. And micro-influencers have 500 to 10,000 followers. But as their popularity increases, the number of followers a macro-influencer has may be well over a million.

Some define micro-influencers as people with anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 followers. And macro-influencers as those with 100,000 or more followers.

Regardless of the exact numbers, macro-influencers have the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of individuals at a time. With so many followers, they can promote a brand’s marketing message to a large audience with a single post.

You may need to partner with several micro-influencers to reach the same number of people as one macro-influencer. If your main focus is to build brand visibility, and raise awareness about your products, macro-influencers may be a better option.

YouTuber Jack Douglass has more than 2.6 million subscribers, which qualifies him as a macro-influencer. He recently created a sponsored video for Ancestry, for which he asked his subscribers, “What Makes You You?” He used their responses in the sponsored video, which was part of his YIAY (Yesterday I Asked You) series. The video amassed more than 1 million views, 51,000+ likes, and 26,000+ comments.

Ancestry would likely have to use at least 20 micro-influential YouTubers, (with 10,000 to 100,000 subscribers), to generate a similar level of reach.

3. Micro vs Macro – Affordability

Despite the high level of reach macro-influencers offer, the cost of working with them makes them less accessible. Especially for startups and small businesses with limited budgets.

According to The New York Times, a top influencer with 3-7M followers charges $187,500 per YouTube video. For a post on Instagram or Snapchat, they charge an average of $75,000, and for a Twitter post, approximately $30,000.

The same article reported that macro-influencers, who have somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 followers, charge a lot less than mega-influencers. For one sponsored YouTube video, they normally charge $2,500. The cost of a sponsored post on Instagram or Snapchat is around $1,000. And for one Twitter post, macro-influencers charge around $400.

At the time of the report, popular Snapchat influencers like Shaun McBride, (otherwise known as Shonduras), were charging brands around $10,000 for a story. Shonduras has worked with top brands like Disney and AT&T. He had around 700,000 Snapchat followers, and currently has 900,000+ YouTube subscribers.

Shonduras Youtube channel - Micro-Influencer

In the case of micro-influencers, however, the cost of launching a campaign is much less expensive. For Instagram sponsored posts, 84% of them charge $250 or less. And according to Bloglovin’ 97% of them charge $500 or less. For a sponsored blog post, 87% of micro-influencers only charge about $500, and 96% of them charge $1000 or less.

Image source: Bloglovin

For Facebook posts, 90% of micro-influencers charge $250 or less, and 97% charge less than $500. Twitter is even less expensive, with 83% of micro-influencers charging less than $150 per post, and 96% charging less than $200.

What do these differences in cost really mean for your influencer marketing campaign?

Let’s say an Instagram macro-influencer with 300,000 followers charges you $1,000 for one sponsored post. For the cost of that one post, you could work with four micro-influencers with around 100,000 followers each. That means you could reach 100,000 more people by choosing to work with micro-influencers.

4. Micro vs Macro – Relevance

Another notable benefit of working with micro-influencers is their ability to connect with a highly-relevant audience. This could improve the cost-effectiveness, and performance of your campaign significantly.

Micro-influencers are usually subject matter experts such as beauty bloggers, fashion bloggers, fitness Instagrammers, and gaming vloggers. So even though they have a smaller audience, the people who follow them are actually interested in those subjects.

As for macro-influencers, they may also be subject matter experts, or they may simply be entertainers. And in many cases, you see these influencers promoting products or services that are completely unrelated to their niche.

For example, the previously mentioned sponsored post Jack Douglass did for Ancestry. The video was brilliantly executed to fit in with Jack’s usual content. But the promotion of DNA ancestry tests wasn’t particularly relevant to his followers.

Let’s say a restaurant owner wants to promote her new restaurant. It may not be ideal for her to work with a macro-influencer like Jack Douglass. Because Jack’s not relevant to her business. Instead, she could work with a foodie micro-influencer, like One Hungry Girl, who has 6,000+ Instagram followers.

Although One Hungry Girl doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of followers, she does specialize in a specific niche. She regularly posts inviting images of delicious food. And because her followers are interested in food-related content, her posts are met with their appreciation.

One Hungry Girl Instagram account - Influencer

5. Micro vs Macro – Trust and Authenticity

According to TapInfluence, the ROI of influencer marketing is 11x higher that of traditional advertising. Why? Because consumers prefer to hear about products and services from “real” people rather than brands. And they are more likely to trust promotions and recommendations from an individual. Which means that an influencer marketing campaign can help your brand establish an authentic connection with your audience.

Image Source: TapInfluence

If you compare micro-influencers and macro-influencers in terms of trust and authenticity, micro-influencers win, hands down. When influencers reach the “macro” level, they already have hundreds of thousands of followers, and are basically celebrities in their own right.

Brands have been using celebrity endorsements in traditional ads for decades. But according to Collective Bias, only 3% of consumers would consider buying a product that was endorsed by a celebrity. And 30% would consider purchasing a product that was endorsed by a non-celeb influencer.

That doesn’t mean macro-influencers are as inauthentic as traditional advertising. They’re still a much better option than celebrities when it comes to winning the trust of an audience. But when it comes to macro versus micro, sponsored content from a micro-influencer is more authentic and trustworthy.

In fact, research funded by Experticity, and conducted by the Keller Fay Group and Dr. Jonah Berger, found that 82% of consumers consider a micro-influencer’s purchase recommendations to be trustworthy.

The Bottom Line

It’s clear that the benefits of working with micro-influencers outweigh those of macro-influencers. Based on this comparison, you can see that micro-influencers beat macro-influencers in almost every way. From engagement and relevance to affordability and authenticity.

The cost-effectiveness of working with micro-influencers makes up for what they lack in reach. And you can often partner with several micro-influencers for the cost of one macro-influencer.

This approach will ensure that you reach a more relevant audience, with more authentic content. An audience that will be more likely to engage with that content.

Conclusion

Now you have a better understanding of how micro-influencers can help you achieve your influencer marketing campaign goals. And for a fraction of the cost of macro-influencers. Whether you’re a startup, small business, or on a tight marketing budget; micro-influencers can deliver the most bang for your buck.

That doesn’t mean you should avoid working with macro-influencers. If you have the budget, and if you’re able to find relevant macro-influencers for your campaign, you can partner with them instead of, or in addition to micro-influencers. But if cost-effectiveness and high ROI are your main priorities, you should focus your efforts on micro-influencer marketing.

Do you have any questions about the points discussed here? Or would you like to share any additional tips about working with micro- or macro-influencers? Feel free to leave a comment below. And don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally if you need some guidance to launch your influencer marketing campaign.

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.