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Influencer marketing has been embraced as one of the most effective channels for driving a higher ROI. 80% of marketers find it effective and 71% of them say that it helps them drive high-quality traffic and customers.
Are these reasons enough to convince you to invest in influencer marketing? They should be.
While marketers started leveraging the power of influence with celebrities, micro-influencer collaborations are rising in popularity.
Are you planning to launch an influencer marketing campaign?
Along with crafting an effective influencer marketing strategy, you need to find the right influencers for your campaign. 61% of marketers struggle to do so.When looking for influencers to partner with, you should consider the quality of content they produce, their audience demographics, engagement rate, authenticity, and reach.
You can choose to work with macro-influencers, who have massive reach, and typically charge thousands of dollars per post. Or, you can partner with micro-influencers, who have limited reach but higher engagement rates. And they charge just a few hundred bucks for a sponsored post.
Micro-influencer marketing or macro-influencer marketing? Which works best and which is worth your time and money?
Let’s discuss the two of them in detail to understand their key differences and identify when you should work with each of them.
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?
Read on to identify and compare the differences between choosing micro-influencer marketing and macro-influencer marketing.
I’ll also discuss the unique benefits micro and macro-influencers have to offer to help you maximize the ROI of your influencer marketing campaign.
1. Micro vs. Macro-Influencers: Engagement
One of the most significant differences is the fact that micro-influencers have much higher engagement rates than macro-influencers.
A study by SocialPubli showed that micro-influencers generate 7x more engagement than the average generated by macro-influencers. They are not just the fastest-growing but also the most engaging category of influencers in the industry.
Sure, they 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.
This study also 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 comments than macro-influencers. Posts from influencers with 1,000 followers or less get comments 0.5% of the time. But those from influencers 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.
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.
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%.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.
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-Influencers: Reach
One thing that macro-influencers have that micro-influencers don’t is massive reach. Although micro-influencers have a decent number of followers, their reach is nothing like that of macro-influencers.
According to Mavrck, macro-influencers are individuals with 10,000 to 1 million followers, and micro-influencers have 500 to 10,000 followers.
However, some people define them as people with 100K or more followers, and micro-influencers as those with 1K to 100K followers.
Regardless of the exact numbers, these 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.
So, if the goal of your influencer marketing campaign is to increase brand visibility and raise awareness about your products, macro-influencers may be a better option.
YouTuber, Jack Douglass, has over 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-Influencers: 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, who have limited influencer marketing 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 the influencer 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, they 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.
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 them 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 them 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 multiple micro-influencers at the same cost.
4. Micro vs. Macro-Influencers: Relevance
Another notable benefit of working with micro-influencers is their ability to connect with a highly-relevant audience. This can help you improve the ROI of your influencer marketing 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 smaller audiences, the people who follow them are actually interested in those subjects.
Therefore, they are likely to generate more qualified leads and easy conversions when compared to macro-influencers.
As for macro-influencers, they might also be real subject matter experts or mere entertainers. Often, they are seen promoting products or services that are completely irrelevant to their expertise and niches.
For example, let’s talk about the sponsored video Jack Douglass created 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 their new restaurant. It may not be ideal for them to work with a macro-influencer like Jack Douglass. Because Jack isn’t relevant to their business.
Instead, the restaurant owner should choose to 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 the food domain. She regularly posts inviting images of delicious food. And because her followers are interested in food-related content, her posts receive a lot of appreciation and engagement too.
The restaurant owner should leverage influencers in the food domain to reach people who are more likely to be interested in their venture. And, since it’s a restaurant, they should partner with influencers based in their city to attract good crowd.
5. Micro vs. Macro-Influencers: 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.
Consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from an individual. This means that influencer marketing campaigns can help your brand establish an authentic connection with your audience.
Image Source: TapInfluence
If you compare both the 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 you compare them to micro-influencers, their created sponsored content is not as 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.
Who Should You Choose to Work With?
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 are the rising stars of the influencer marketing space.
They are more cost-effective to work with, generate more engagement, are more relevant, and are seen as authentic and trustworthy.
All of these qualities make up for their low reach. You can always partner with more number of micro-influencers if you want to generate more reach and also engage users at the same time.
This approach will help you, especially businesses with budget constraints, grow your brand through influencer marketing.
Now you have a better understanding of how micro-influencers can help you achieve your influencer marketing campaign goals. And that also, for just a fraction of the cost involved in working with macro-influencers.
But this doesn’t mean that you should avoid working with macro-influencers. If you have the budget and you find a macro-influencer relevant to your campaign, you can partner with them.
But if cost-effectiveness and gaining high ROI are your main priorities, you should focus on micro-influencer marketing.
Would you like to share any additional tips about working with micro vs. macro-influencers? Please feel free to leave a comment below. And don’t hesitate to reach out to me for influencer marketing consulting.
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.