Digital Strategy

Micro influencer > Macro influencer = the new equation of success ?

Written by alexiane bouyer

When we think about “influencers” we obviously think about influencer marketing.

To define, influencer marketing refers to all the techniques based on using the recommendation or prescription potential of digital influencers. In other words, influencer marketing is ‘’the action of promoting and selling products or services through people (influencers) who have the capacity to have an effect on the character of a brand (Huffingtonpost definition, Dec 06, 2017).

This trend, which takes part in our daily lives, is based on the fact that on the decision process to buy a product or an activity, consumers trust more easily people whom they know. According to the study ” Influence4You ” led by Forbes and Musefind, ‘’92 % of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement’’ (Forbes/Musefind – Influence4you).

For this reason, when people buy a product recommended by an influencer whom they trust, they are almost buying the experience rather than the product. They want this product because his experience was good.

Besides, 3 people on 4 who bought a product after seeing it on an influencer publication said they were satisfied (Cision & Ipsos study to measure the attraction of the French internet users for influencers). And according to the same study: 75 % of the French Internet users declare to have bought a product after having seen, read or heard an influencer recommendation.

Indeed, the advice dimension that influencers can bring counts a lot to consumers. The main difference with a classic advertisement is that behind the article, the picture or the screen consumers are watching, there is a real person in real life.

Moreover, internet users have the impression to maintain a specific and unique relationship as there is a membership feeling to the influencer community. This community gives the feeling to belong a group that shares the same interests and values. That’s probably the reason why 89 % of the French Internet users following at least one influencer, assert to have discovered a brand or a product by being exposed to a post or a publication by the same influencer. On this 89%, 87% have been searching info about this product, and 75 % as said previously, purchased it (Cision & Ipsos study to measure the attraction of the French internet users for influencers).

That is why: if influencer marketing is so profitable for brands, is the size of their community a good indicator for advertisers? After all, does the size really matter?

Micro Influencers: the new phenomenon of influencer marketing

New ‘’small’’ celebrities are emerging on various platforms. These new rising influencers around 50K followers on Instagram are more reactive and closer to their public. This ‘’micro-influencers’’ can be considered as the ‘’new generation’’ of influencers.
But who are they and how to define micro – influencers?

The ‘’micro’’ category is applied to the influencer community size. It generally goes from 1 000 subscribers to 100 000 subscribers on Instagram. More generally micro influencers have higher engagement rates with their audience than macro influencers.

To explain, the engagement rate corresponds to the interactions resulting from a content on the internet (it can be an article, a video, a picture). The engagement rate changes from a platform to another as each platform as his own codes, specific contents, and specific audiences.
For instance, the engagement rate on Instagram is the result of (numbers of likes + number of comments)/ number of subscribers.
On Youtube, the engagement rate is equal to (likes number + comments number)/viewed videos number. This rate helps to quantify the interest of internet users for the content broadcast by the influencer on its publication.

But if we look at this calculation to measure the engagement rate, we could think that the higher is the volume of subscribers, the higher the volume of likes, comments or shares will be. And as a result, the high the engagement rate will be. Following this logic, it is easy to think that engagement rate should be stronger for macro-influencers than for micro-influencers.
The answer is no. In general, micro-influencers are generally engaging their community 60% more than macro influencers according to Influence marketing hub 2017 study.

What type of influencer to use and when?

– Allow to target niche markets because they are expert in their domain,
– Use only 1 social network,
– Engagement rate 60% superior to a mega influencer,
– Smaller investment cost: more accessible for the brands,
– Higher conversion rate (conversion rate = sales generated by the communication) they push 6,7 times more their followers towards a purchasing behavior than a macro-influencer,
– Micro-influencer produce 22,2 times more conversion per week than a regular consumer does with his own network,

2 inconveniences to working with micro-influencers:

– Lower reach (reach = the number of people who saw the communication),
– The advertiser has less control over the content of the influencer as the relation with the community is very strong,

6 advantages to working with macro-influencers:

– Stronger reach as the size of the community is bigger,
– The influencer is more experienced and more professional,
– The influencer choice is made faster by the company (don’t need to investigate a lot),
– Macro-influencers are diversified they talk about various different topics so the problem of ‘’brand image’’ is not appearing with their community,

2 inconveniences to working with macro-influencers:

– Higher investment cost (between 2000$ and 50K$ according to Social media Today),
– Celebrities suffer for a lack of credibility (only 3% of consumers are influenced by a celebrity when it is 75% for influencers, Collective Bias),

To conclude, we can say that the size of a community has a real impact on the engagement of a community, but the engagement rate is not proportional to the community size.
It appears that for the same product and a similar type of influencer, the engagement rate contrasts a lot.
That is why it is important to keep in mind that we live in a customer-centric business model, for this reason, the choice of influencer should not be only lead by the size of his community.

First, it is important to consider the product or the service the company wants to sell and understand if the influencer’s community can be interested and why.

Secondly, the influencer has to fit with the brand image and values of the company because promoting a product is giving viewability to the brand. As determining criteria, the expertise domain of an influencer is more important than his community size.

Indeed, if you decide to broadcast a picture to promote sugar to a large community of fit girls, there is a chance that the sugar brand won’t get a lot of new customers. Even if the first goal of advertiser and influencer marketing is to make money, the question is ‘’what is the adequate target and how to reach it ? ‘’ rather than starting with ‘’how many people to target ?’’.
Selecting the best influencer depends also on the objective of the advertiser as mentioned before on the comparison of the micro vs macro model.

Finally, in the digital marketing strategy of the brands, micro-influencers become major but make fuzzy the border between influencer and ” average consumer “. With the rise of the micro-influencers, the number of followers is not anymore an indicator of results and the game is getting more complex. But it doesn’t stop brands to invest in this new strategy because in 2017, 57% of the marketers who participated to the Influence marketing hub 2017 study, declared to have a specific budget totally dedicated to the influence marketing. 67% of them have increased this budget since last year. A strategy that is making the future …

Sources :

Forbes / Musefind – Influence4you,
Cision & Ipsos study to measure the attraction of the French internet users for influencers,
Influence merketing hub 2017 study,
Opinion Way 2016 ** Médiamétrie 2017,
https://comarketing-news.fr: réseaux sociaux, les influenceurs ont ils un impact sur les consummateurs ?

About the author

alexiane bouyer