Deciding on the perfect influencer has proven to be one of the most difficult parts of creating a successful influencer marketing campaign. Location, audience psychographics, age, gender — these are just a few of the qualities you have to take into account when choosing the right person to represent your brand. But before you can look for any of those aspects, you have to decide if your influencers will be micro, macro, or mid-level. You might think the biggest determining factor to choosing between a small or large influencer is going to be your budget, but there are many other aspects to take into consideration as well. It is important to know that reach is not the only difference between these three types of influencers. Here are the biggest benefits and drawbacks to micro, macro, and mid-level influencers.
Micro-influencers are influencers with a reach of about 2k-25k followers. They can have a specific interest that they share with their audience or they can be hyperlocal and garnered their following based on their location (You can check out our article on hyperlocal influencers here). They may be micro because they are just starting a career as a blogger or they may only do this on the side and be professionals in another field.
One of the biggest pros for micro-influencers is their engagement. Where we see an average engagement of around .5% – 2.0% for bigger influencers, micro influencers can bring engagement of around 6%-10% on average. Since these influencers may only be starting out in this career, you don’t see a lot of sponsorships on their page. They don’t post ads every other day, which means when they do, it comes across as real and authentic to their audience. Semi-professional accounts, or influencers just doing this on the side, also do not depend on this job for money. This means they are more picky about the ads they do since they have the authority to choose and usually only work with brands they really love. And of course, one of the biggest benefits is the cost. Rates for micro-influencers range from only $100-$250, with some even accepting the product as payment.
One of the biggest cons of micro influencers is that they are not professionals in the field, not yet at least. Because they may not be dependent on this career they can ask to take over full creative control of the campaign because they see you as needing them more than they need you (learn more here). The more staged and specific you want content to be, the more you might want to steer away from micro influencers. Since they may not be familiar with a lot in the industry, there is also room for mistakes when working with micro influencers. FTC regulations may not be met, or content may not come off as professional. Another aspect on price: just because they’re inexpensive may not necessary mean they are cost-effective on a cost per engagement basis. And because they’re inexperienced, cost can be very inconsistent, unlike larger influencers who usually know the going rate for someone with their metrics.
Macro influencers are the biggest influencers on the platform, excluding celebrities. They have a reach of 500k and above. Usually, macro influencers are full-time bloggers, IG models, or just professional influencers.
Obviously one of the most compelling selling points of macro influencers are the impressions you get. They can reach millions of people with just one post. If your goal is based on creating awareness rather than engagement, macro influencers might be the way to go. They are also pros and create polished, well-composed content. You can count on their images to be quality, stylish, and professional. There are usually few edits that need to be made when working with macro influencers. Most macro influencers also have a diverse audience. They have worked hard to build a large audience that has grown beyond a particular niche or interest. They may have started as a fashion influencer or food blogger, but their popularity has given them a large and diverse audience outside of just that field.
A diverse audience, however, can be a drawback. If you are fashion brand, you may only see engagement from a small percentage of their audience that actually has an interest in fashion. Remember, the larger the reach, the smaller the engagement rate (usually). It is also important to keep in mind that they are professionals, so they are getting multiple programs throughout the month. This means it may be hard for your product to come off as authentic when the influencer works with a lot of different brands. Most macros work through an agent, which can be a pro or a con, but most always complicates programs because you can rarely talk directly to the influencer
Finally we have mid-level influencers, those with a reach of 25k-500k. They can be professional or semi professional. Mid-level influencers usually have a particular style or interest around which their account is focused. And, interestingly, they make up the majority of influencers on social media.
Mid-level influencers are some of the most effective influencers to work with. The benefits of mid-levels can go on and on, because these influencers take the good qualities from both micro and macro influencers. Mid-level influencers are eager to make the campaign work. They strive to stay authentic, but they listen and let the brand take some control. Since they have made this their career, they are professional with the content they create and the way they communicate. They have the reach AND the engagement. They are big enough to be considered truly influential to their audience, but not too big to not still engage with their followers. Oftentimes, you can engage multiple mid-levels for the price of one macro, and achieve higher and more tightly targeted engagement.
There are not too many cons when it comes to mid-level influencers. As with any influencer, if they are trying to grow in the field it is important to have the technology to vet them and make sure none of their followers are bought. (Learn more about Fake Followers).
Of course, another option is to mix and match the influencers to optimize and stretch the impact of your campaign. Say you want to spread awareness then focus on converting a more targeted audience. In this example, you could lead your program with one macro influencer then follow with several micro influencers over a longer timeframe. Planning and measuring key performance indicators for your campaign is critical to optimizing it for the maximum impact.
The choice of your influencers has many more factors to take into consideration than budget. Basing your decision on reach can be short-sighted and often results in a yawning outcome. Decide what your goals are. Are you focusing on awareness and a diverse reach? Look to macro influencers! Maybe you are location based, and really focusing on engagement rather than impressions. Micro influencers could be perfect! Or maybe you are striving for both and want to try out mid-level influencers. Whether an influencer is small and just starting out, or big and basically a celebrity on the platform, they each bring different results, and are useful in many different ways. Use the ones that will serve your campaign goals.
MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.