What’s the Impact of a Micro vs. Macro-Influencer Strategies on Instagram

Influencer marketing lies somewhere between the word-of-mouth colleague you trust and the paid advertisement you put on a website. Influencers often have the great ability to build awareness but range in their ability to influence prospects on a purchase decision. While it’s a more deliberate, engaging strategy to reach your core audience than a banner ad, influencer marketing continues to skyrocket in popularity.

However, there’s a conflict on whether your investment in influencer marketing is better spent as a large lump sum to a few superstars – the macro influencer, or whether your investment is better spent on more niche, highly focused influencers – the micro-influencers.

A large budget for a macro-influencer may fall flat and be a huge gamble. A large budget spent between micro-influencers may make it difficult to manage, coordinate, or build the impact you desire.

What is a Micro-Influencer?

I’d be classified as a micro-influencer. I have a niche focus on marketing technology and reach upwards of about 100,000 people via social, web, and email. My authority and popularity don’t extend beyond the focus of the content that I create; as a result, neither does the trust of my audience and the influence to make a purchase decision.

What is a Macro-Influencer?

Macro influencers have a much wider impact and personality. A well-known celebrity, journalist, or social media star can be macro-influencers (if they’re trusted and liked by their audience). Mediakix defines this segment about the medium:

Mediakix analyzed over 700 sponsored Instagram posts from 16 top brands working with macro and micro influencers to assess which strategies were more effective.  They’ve produced this infographic, the Battle of the Influencers: Macro vs. Micro, and come to an interesting conclusion:

Our study shows that macro influencer and micro influencer performance is approximately equal when evaluating based solely on an engagement rate. Additionally, we found that macro influencers win out in terms of total likes, comments, and reach.

I contacted Jeremy Shih and asked the glaring question – return on investment (ROI). In other words, looking beyond engagement and likes, was there a measurable difference in key performance indicators like awareness, sales, upsells, etc. Jeremy responded honestly:

I can say that economies of scale are definitely at play here in the sense that it’s easier (less time and bandwidth intensive) to work with fewer, larger influencers than attempt to coordinate hundreds or thousands of smaller influencers to achieve the same reach. Furthermore, CPM tends to decrease as you work with larger influencers.

Jeremy Shih

Marketers must keep this in mind as they look to influencer marketing. While extensive coordination and a fantastic micro-influencer campaign might significantly impact the bottom line, the effort necessary may not be worth the investment in time and energy. As with anything in marketing, it’s worth testing and optimizing with your campaign strategies.

I think it’s also essential to remember that this was purely based on Instagram and not other mediums like blogging, podcasting, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. I believe a visual tool like Instagram could skew the results of an analysis like this significantly in the favor of the celebrity.

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