Influencers: Macro vs Micro

Which side should you take?

The argument today is micro vs macro influencers. Should you go with prominent figures or take your chances on relatively unknown personalities?

What are Micro/Macro-Influencers?

Micro-influencers are small social networking figures that have built a dedicated following by curating content in a specific niche area, such as fitness, food, fashion, cosmetics, travel or sports. A micro-influencer usually has about 10,000 to 50,000 followers (range varies based on market size).

Macro-influencers, on the other hand, have followings that can go up into the millions. It is argued that they are better simply because of their vast reach, which lets them convey their message to a wider, more diverse audience.

Let’s put them to the test!

Engagement Rate

Most of the time, micro-influencers have a higher engagement rate than macro-influencers. One of the reasons for this is that micro-influencers’ content seems to be more authentic as they do not have production and PR teams behind them helping them to craft posts. Although some of their posts may be staged to appear nicer, they are still solely creations of the influencer themself.

Their posts are also often specifically catered to appeal to their niche audiences. For example, a fitness influencer’s posts on workouts will appeal to his/her following as said following will mostly comprise people that are interested in the influencer’s fitness-related content and want to learn more about fitness. This will result in a higher engagement rate as followers will like and comment on the post to show their liking for the influencer.

Breakdown of comments on an influencer’s post.

Due to the smaller size of their audience, micro-influencers are better able to reply to comments on their posts by their followers. This two-way communication encourages followers to continue providing engagement in the form of likes and comments, resulting in higher engagement rates. The pie chart on the right shows the comments breakdown on a post by a micro-influencer with a staggering 20% engagement rate. As you can see, he replies to almost every comment on his posts.

In the infographic below, we take a look at the engagement rates of two athletes who are from the same team, play the same sport and are of the same nationality, but with different audience sizes.

We can see that Athlete Y, with a smaller following has a much higher engagement rate compared to Athlete X. This means that if a brand pays an influencer proportionally for their follower count, they stand to have a lower cost per engagement with Athlete Y!

Effectiveness of Influence

Due to the relatively smaller size of their followings, user may find micro-influencers more relatable. Instead of being seen as popular figures, they may seem like friends sharing about their lives and recommending products/services that they like. Hence, marketing through micro-influencers is more likely to be effective in convincing consumers to purchase products, which is the end goal for most brands.

Reach

Due to the sheer size of their followings as a result of their fame, macro-influencers have a greater reach compared to micro-influencers, and thus, can penetrate a larger number of communities. Despite having a greater engagement rate, it will be extremely challenging to find a micro-influencer that is able to match the absolute engagement (i.e. total number of likes and comments received) of a macro-influencer.

Instead of hiring a macro-influencer, however, it is also possible to hire several micro-influencer to match the absolute engagement received by a macro-influencer.

Audience Demographic

Micro-influencers have audiences from certain niche groups, so it’s highly likely that the demographics of the followers are very similar. On the other hand, macro-influencers’ due to their immense popularity, have followers from many different demographics.

Take a look at the infographic below on the country breakdown of the followings of the two athletes mentioned previously.

The worldwide fame of Athlete X is evident from the breakdown of his followers’ countries. Most popular macro-influencers have significant multinational followings while the converse is often true for micro-influencers.

Cost

For businesses on a budget, hiring micro-influencers is a more scalable way to adopt an influencer marketing strategy due to the smaller price that micro-influencers command. Some micro-influencers may even not require a fee but simply products from the brand to try out and review. If the influencer marketing strategy yields positive results, brands can increase their influencer marketing efforts by hiring more influencers to increase their reach.

Large macro-influencers, on the other hand, such as Kim Kardashian can demand huge fees of up to $500,000 USD per post which is a huge outlay for brands who are only testing the waters with influencer marketing.

Conclusion

Before choosing an influencer, you have to ask yourself what you wish to achieve with your brand. Do you want to gain international exposure or continue solidifying your position locally? Are you very ambitious and confident of your influencer marketing strategy or would just like to try it out on a small scale with a small budget? Do you want to reach out to a diverse audience or a niche audience that you feel your product will be able to cater to?

Well, the answers to these questions will help you decide whether you should employ a macro or micro influencer. Other than just the size of following, do consider other metrics of an influencer before hiring, such as percentage of inactive/fake followers, audience growth, etc.


The data in this article was generated using Popular Chips’ proprietary software.

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