Micro influencers VS macro influencers? Which works best and what’s worth your while?
First up, let me just explain the difference between a micro and macro influencer.
Micro influencers are ‘normal’ people, so to speak. Most of the time they have less than 10,000 followers.
A micro influencer will often ‘apply’ to become an influencer. Platforms such as Tribe and Takumi are communities of individuals who pride themselves on aesthetic social media accounts. These kind of people usually have a good eye for photography. How it works: brands submit tailored briefs to these online influencer platforms for accepted and relevant influencers to respond to.
Macro influencers are famous, known by the many, a household name. These kind of people are often celebrities who have followers in the region of tens of thousands or millions.
Macro influencers are often approached first hand by a brand. A brand will ask them to feature their product or service on their social media profiles, with a contextual caption mentioning the brand. By using macro influencers, a brand is positioned in front of millions of people. It’s great for visibility and awareness.
So, now you know the difference, lets go through the pros and cons of both. These are important to know, especially if your brand only has time, or the budget for one.
The Pros of Micro Influencers
+ They are authentic.
People believe them. Micro influencers work in a similar way to word of mouth. When they share a photo on Instagram of them enjoying a nutri-bar snack after a workout, you don’t question it (even if their photos are sometimes a little staged). It is often easy to believe a micro influencer has actually bought or used a featured product. They tell you the nutri-bar is delicious and it’s high in protein, so you make a mental note of the brand. This kind of authenticity attracts engagement, awareness and brand recall. So, the next time you go to buy a snack, you remember that extra yummy brand name you saw on Instagram.
+ It’s cheap.
Well, cheaper than macro influencers that is. On average a micro influencer costs around £130 per post on Instagram. But, only do some influencer platforms give the brand rights to use the content thereafter. Takumi for example gives the brand full rights to usage after the photo has been posted. Where as other platforms such as Tribe charge the brand an additional fee to keep and use the image in other forms of marketing.
+ A micro influencer campaign is easy to execute.
Easy to use, free online platforms such as Takumi.com and Tribegroup.co allow in house marketers to take the lead.
The Cons of Micro Influencers
- Capped visibility and reach.
Micro influencers don’t have as vast followings as macro influencers. With most influencer platforms setting a 10k follower limit, the visibility and reach of content is capped. This isn’t to say this kind of content isn’t engaging. HubSpot published stats demonstrating how micro influencers on average receive 0.10% high engagement rates than macro influencers. (Source: www.hubspot.com).
- Brands have less control over a micro influencers output.
Often, the way influencer platforms work is that brands submit a brief stating what product needs to be featured, some information about the product and a general sense of how it should be represented. Don’t get me wrong, these briefs are detailed and should give the influencers an in depth idea of what the brand is all about. For example, an organic makeup brand might write a brief that explains their product should never be shown in the environment of bold and brash colours or plastic materials. They may instead state all photographs must be taken in natural light, outdoors and must only feature neutral colours.
However, once this brief is written up, approved and sent to micro influencers via platforms such a Tribe and Takumi, that's it. The power is out of the brand's hands. They often have little control over outputs. A micro influencer is trusted to post a quality piece of content, without any form of sign off from the client. In many cases, you put your trust in the quality of influencers recruited by an influencer platform and ‘get what you’re given’.
- A monetised ROI is often hard to prove.
Performing a micro influencer campaign is great for getting your product in front of lots of different people. Visibility, reach and engagement can all be easily measured and reported on, but it’s often hard to directly attribute influencer engagement to direct sales. This is because influencer posts are great for driving awareness, but not so much direct site traffic (especially as Instagram doesn't allow links to be posted in captions).
The Pros of Macro Influencers
+ Brands have more control when running a macro influencer campaign.
A brand can often chose the exact celebrity and give them precise instructions on what to post, meaning the outcome can be almost predicted. This control also allows brands to build a stigma or reputation around their product. For example, a cast member of Made in Chelsea may support the ‘luxury’ representation of a product. Where as an Olympian may support strong, robust and professional connotations.
However, this can go wrong; take BooTea for example. The diet brand asked Scott Disick to feature their product on his Instagram (see below caption).
A campaign that results in something like this shatters a brands authenticity. It could be argued that Scott Disick did this deliberately, to demonstrate just how staged this kind of content can be.
+ A monetised ROI in a macro influencer campaign is often easy to define.
(Well, easier to define than that of a micro campaign, at least.) This is because many brands will set up a unique offer code for a macro influencer campaign. The influencer will post this along with their content. See example below.
This makes it easier to attribute sales to a precise post or macro campaign as brands can easily track how many times an offer code was used online.
The Cons of Macro Influencers
- People don’t believe or trust macro influencers.
Product placement is often obvious and thus unauthentic (see Scott Disick above!). People can see through a devised Instagram post and therefore trust the content less. While this kind of marketing is great for reach and awareness, as macro influencers have huge followings, people often don’t trust the influencer really uses the product. Instagram now also requires all macro influencers to openly state paid partnerships which lessens trust further.
- Macro influencer campaigns are more expensive.
Often celebrities will require a greater payment than micro influencers. On average you might expect one piece of content from a celebrity influencer to range from £1.5k to a whopping 30k (depending on their status and follower count). If you’re thinking of getting the Kardashians involved, you better have a spare £500,000 knocking about. Believe it or not, these endorsements makes up around 25% of the Kardashians income, demonstrating just how expensive they can be! (Source: www.HarpersBazaar.com)
Although their following might be bigger and your content will likely acquire a higher reach, you may only get one piece of content from a macro blogger, in comparison to ten micro bloggers for the same budget.
- Macro influencer campaigns are a little harder to execute.
They will often take longer to organise and may often require a PR agency. Getting hold of a celebrity or their manager is one thing, standing out amongst many other requests, is another. Celebrities can be picky with which brands they endorse, so proving to them your product will raise their profile and person brand is important.
So, which one?
Both macro and micro influencer campaigns have pros and cons but for me, I’d choose a micro campaign; every time. Authenticity is so important to me, and as mentioned in our previous post, The Millennial Consumer, we crave it.
If you have the budget I’d suggest trialing both a micro and macro influencer campaign, starting with micro to access a response. Report on which does better in order to develop your future strategy. Assess your KPIs and choose accordingly.