Should I Work With Micro Or Macro Influencers?
What is the difference between a Micro and Macro Influencer?
Whilst there is no industry recognised number of followers that constitutes whether an influencer is a macro or a micro influencer, I’d say on Instagram at least, a macro influencer has 100,000+ followers and therefore a micro influencer has anything below that. Macro influencers are generally well-known and highly visible while micro influencers could be influencers who are just starting out or from a niche interest group.
In this article, I’m going to take you through the macro vs. micro influencer debate. While there are certain advantages and disadvantages of both as a generalisation, both macro and micro influencers have an important part to play in influencer marketing.
I’m going to address these now from a cost, engagement, ROI and authenticity perspective.
When it comes to cost, macro influencers will of course cost significantly more than micro influencers, ranging between $1,000 and $20,000 a post on average. Celebrity influencers like the Kardashians or Jenners will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a post and you’re almost never going to make that back in directly attributed sales. These kinds of collaborations will be more useful for brand awareness and results in the long term.
Micro influencers on the other hand, will generally cost you less, almost always below the $3,000 mark per post, but you may need to use a greater number of them to achieve the same results as a single macro influencer and it takes a lot more time to do multiple reach outs, send outs and follow ups.
However one of the main perks of micro influencers is that you won’t always need a budget when setting out to work with them. Micro influencers are more likely to enter into your gifting, or product for post and product for content campaigns while macro influencers will almost never enter into an unpaid collaboration.
In terms of pricing, again we can refer back to the ballpark cost per post post table I referenced in our blog post on compensation but keep in mind that these costs are always increasing.
Moving onto engagement, one of the biggest benefits of using micro influencers as opposed to macro influencers is their engagement rate is significantly higher. Macro influencers often have engagement rates of between 1 and 3% while micros are often closer to 5-10% but this will vary from influencer to influencer.
It’s important to note again here that engagement isn’t always the best indicator of the strength of influencer’s relationship with their audience. Often higher engagement rates can have just as much to do with social media platforms algorithms than an influencer’s content or even influencer relationship. Social media algorithms often favour newer, smaller accounts and overall engagement rates decrease over time as followers are shown less and less of the influencer’s content which makes it tougher for macro influencers from an engagement point of view.
In terms of measuring ROI, one of the pro’s of macro influencers is that ROI is often easier to define. As we’ve discussed, this can be offering a unique discount code or a trackable link with Google UTM parameters to the post. Yes, these are possible with micro-influencers but often they’re unwilling to add discount codes and trackable links unless paid more as it looks less authentic.
Which takes us to authenticity. As we know authenticity, trust and credibility are some of the most important factors in influencer marketing. A lot of the power of influencer marketing is the way it coincides with word-of-mouth recommendations, which consumers trust at 92%. So more authenticity equals more trust. Micro influencers often post more authentic content and their feed is often less saturated with sponsored content building credibility.
This is not to say that a lot of macro influencers don’t post authentic content, in fact often this is how they’ve grown and retained their following. Macro influencers have also often been around longer than micro influencers, so will often have a more established relationship with their audience — Trust takes time to build.
What I love
What I personally love most about macro influencers is they’re a great way to influence micro-influencers. If a smaller influencer sees a larger influencer posting on your product it basically serves as an ad to them saying “this brand does influencer marketing” and they will reach out to you if they’re interesting in working with you too. So working with macro influencers is a great way to get a lot of influencer marketing requests.
So which to choose…
One way of working out whether to work with macro or micro influencers is by thinking back to our campaign goals and considering which type of influencer would work best to achieve this goal.
If your goal is brand awareness you could partner with a few macro influencers or multiple micro influencers, which will be necessary if you’re running a product for post campaign.
If creating influencer generated content at scale through a product for content campaign is your goal you’ll be looking to collaborate with multiple micro-influencers.
If your goal is driving followers through an influencer giveaway you could work with either multiple micro influencers or a single macro influencer.
And if your goal is driving sales you will be looking to macro influencers as the ROI is easier to track.
So as you can see, both macro and micro influencers should play a part in your overall influencer marketing strategy.
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