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Even though it’s a fairly new marketing strategy, influencer marketing got a lot of attention in recent years. The reason is simple - it’s incredibly effective when you do it the right way. However, choosing that “right” way is the hardest part.
When it comes to influencer marketing, there are two main types of influencers: macro and micro. Macro influencers have a large following (usually 500,000 to a million followers), while micro-influencers have smaller follower bases (usually between 10,000 and 50,000 followers).
So which type of influencer should you use for your next marketing campaign?
Let’s take a closer look at both types of influencers and see what each has to offer.
Let’s see what defines micro- and macro-influencers and what you should expect from each.
Macro-influencers have large followings, usually up to a million people. Although they have fewer fans than celebrities, they still have a considerable reach.
And they use this reach to grow their social media accounts fast.
That’s a considerable advantage for brands with the following campaign goals:
Micro - influencers are types of influencers with a smaller but more dedicated following. They typically specialize in a specific niche, such as fashion, beauty, or travel.
Unlike celebrity influencers, who often have millions of followers, micro-influencers have a more personal relationship with their fans. This allows them to create content that feels more relatable and trustworthy to everyday people.
As a result, micro-influencer marketing can be very effective. As people become increasingly inundated with marketing messages, they are more likely to pay attention to recommendations from people they know and trust.
Companies often work with micro-influencers because they:
Micro-influencers have the ambition to grow faster than macro-influencers, so they strive to improve their reach and engagement.
Think of it this way:
A person with little recognition in traditional media will not have this preset number of people willing to follow them on social media just because their name rings a bell.
They will have to work to get to that point, meaning that they will:
Official statistics prove this idea:
Other numbers show that:
Dr. Chris Lee is a digital creator interested in neuroscience and stress management, with 44.7K followers on Instagram.
Some of his posts have over 700 likes, such as this one below:
That’s a 1.7 engagement rate, the average industry standard. But if you use an engagement rate calculator, you’ll notice his average engagement rate is 1.07%.
That’s not bad for a content creator.
But it could get better.
Using the inBeat app, you could source a more engaged content creator in the same niche. Notice the array of filters and keywords that help you narrow down your search.
That's how you can streamline your influencer marketing campaigns.
But just using one keyword, “mental health,” brings us to this profile:
So, although Andreita Levin has fewer followers, her engagement rate is obviously better.
By comparison, Jason van Ruler is a licensed therapist with a following of 128,000 people.
Notice the increased number of followers and the higher average number of likes and comments. This means that this mental health specialist has a wider reach, although a lower engagement rate compared to Andreita Levin.
Does that mean you can’t get more engaged macro-influencers?
No. Actor and model Damian Pastrana offers a good example with his 18.38% engagement rate:
Where does that leave your company?
The benefits of working with an engaged micro-influencer may outweigh the advantages of reaching a larger audience if you want to:
A macro-influencer may have a lower engagement rate, but they can still reach a wider audience. Therefore, working with a macro-influencer is best for visibility and notoriety.
If you want the best of both worlds, like Damian Pastrana, you have to:
That brings us to the following point:
Macro-influencers have a more amplified reach compared to micro-influencers. But how much exactly depends on the platform where they create content.
Macro influencers have:
We noticed that Dr. Van Ruler has a larger following and an average of 2,600 likes per post. That’s three times as many likes as a micro-influencer in the same niche.
Reach should also be gauged depending on the social media platform.
For example, Conquer Driving (UK-based driving instructor Richard Fanders) amasses 454,000 subscribers on YouTube. Some videos get around 40,000 views, but most jump over 100,000.
That would mean macro-influencer Richard Fanders has an engagement rate of 10-25%.
The same person has just 2,358 followers on Instagram, which would put him in the nano-influencer zone.
Besides, his posts receive an average of 48 likes. Although his engagement rate is good enough at 2%, his reach on Instagram is much lower than his YouTube reach. Richard Fanders also has a more engaged audience on YouTube.
Micro-influencers have fewer followers, but these people are usually more engaged if they have chosen the right channel.
In this case, their reach will grow naturally, especially if they continue to offer relevant content.
What does that mean for you?
It’s no secret that some social media users inflate their follower counts by buying fake accounts or using bots to follow other accounts. And while this might not seem like a big deal at first glance, it can actually have a major impact on an influencer’s career.
First of all, fake followers are just that – fake.
They’re not real people who are engaged with an influencer’s content. Therefore, they’re not going to like, comment, or share anything, which can make an influencer look less popular than they are.
Second, fake followers can negatively impact an influencer’s relationship with brands.
Brands often partner with influencers based on their engagement levels, so if an influencer has a high percentage of fake followers, it could damage their reputation with brands and make it harder to get partnerships in the future.
Since macro influencers have more followers, they are also bound to have more fake followers. There aren’t any statistics to prove this point, though; these are just the macro rules of probability.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find micro-influencers with bot accounts.
Let’s start with a celebrity: Will Smith.
Using the fake follower checker above, you can notice how 30 million out of his 33.7 million followers are inactive. That gives him a “good” score.
Victoria is a macro-influencer on Instagram. Her score is “excellent,” but notice that 88,000 out of her 282,000 followers are inactive.
That could be a sign of bot accounts following her. However, she does get a high number of comments and likes, which could assuage suspicions:
Here’s what an amazing-rate profile looks like (also for a macro-influencer):
Micro-influencer Nicole has just an “ok”-rated profile, with 7,050 real followers and 12,700 inactive ones.
So there are plenty of times when micro-influencers can have fake followers. That’s why you should always use a trustworthy calculator before onboarding any content creator. In other words, don’t take any number for granted, no matter who it’s coming from.
In general, macro-influencers are more expensive than micro-influencers. However, the precise numbers depend on variables like:
So a 30-minute YouTube video produced by a macro-influencer can cost less than a 10-second TikTok challenge on a highly engaged macro-influencers’ account.
Here’s what you can expect:
Assuming the average influencer works 24 hours per week (e.g., 96 hours per month), you get a ballpark price of:
Data at inBeat suggests that micro-influencers receive an average of $150 per post. If they promote a high-tech product, that fee can rise to $500.
By comparison, macro-influencers fees can be four times that amount.
According to NY Times, macro-influencers charge:
And according to Shopify, micro-influencers charge $100-$500 per post, whereas macro-influencers ask for $5,000 to $10,000 per post on Instagram.
The TikTok costs outlined in this Shopify article are:
Let’s assume you want to work with an Instagram macro-influencer. Their following is 500,000 people, and they ask for $5,000 for one of your sponsored influencer posts.
A micro-influencer with a 50,000 following will likely ask $150 for that same single post.
To reach 500,000 people, you would need ten micro-influencers, which would require a total of $1,500.
That means you can reach the same audience size and with:
Macro-influencer campaigns are more expensive, but they can give you access to a larger pool of people. And you’re only signing one contract.
If you’ve done your research correctly, this one macro-influencer can have an enviable engagement rate, even up to 20%.
And you can reach millions of people.
By comparison, working with multiple smaller social media influencers may be cheaper and allows you to diversify your investment. If one micro-influencer doesn’t produce the desired results, the others may.
The downside is finding, negotiating, and signing ten people instead of one.
inBeat can help you with both sourcing the top content creators and managing your relationship.
That entails signing the contract, sending the creative brief, offering incentives, and monitoring the campaign’s progress.
So, which type of influencer should you try for your next campaign? The answer to that question will depend on what you’re looking for.
If you want high engagement and authenticity at a lower cost, go with micro-influencers. However, if you don’t mind paying more for reach, macro-influencers are the way to go.
Whichever route you choose, do your research and measure results to learn what works best for your brand.
At Inbeat, we have the tools you need to find an influencer for your next marketing campaign. Sign up today to get started!