Analysis & Opinion

The Rise of Micro-influencers

August 1, 2017 Mediahub

There’s such a thing as being too popular.

It turns out that once a social media influencer reaches a critical mass of followers, audience engagement actually begins to decrease.

Through our influencer efforts we’ve found the deeper the relationship with the following, the more powerful the influencer. This is why smaller, niche influencers can be more effective than the ‘bigger’ influencers who function as mere broadcasters and might achieve scale through mass awareness.

While there can be a place for the Kendall Jenners of the world, we’ve found what really matters in the world of Influencer marketing is engagement and it’s coming from micro-influencers. Better engagement means a higher ROI, greater retention, and deeper connections. Across retail and entertainment clients at Mediahub, we’ve seen upwards of 50% higher engagement using micro-influencers. One retail account analyzed the differences in performance YOY based on a number of activations which showed lifts in engagement based on a lower volume of followers.

Specifically, influencers with 1k fans showed an 85% higher lift than influencers with 100k fans. These campaigns have driven 10x higher efficiencies than influencers with larger followings, making them more cost effective.

A highly followed Influencer may get lots of likes, but when it comes to the most important KPIs (thoughtful comments, brand follows, contest entries, tagging friends, traffic, sales) we’ve found greater success with smaller, micro-influencers. These micro-influencers (10k-100k followers) are real people, and their content is real. These thought leaders; with smaller followings, possess interested, engaged, and connected audiences, compared to their macro-influencer counterparts. They are also cost-effective, enabling marketers to activate a host of micro-influencers for the fraction of the cost of a big name.

Followers of influencers who post about a niche topic, like street style, care about fashion cues and those who post about breakfast kabobs care about ingredients and how to prepare food, even if the influencers aren’t a top creator or celebrity name.  Once these specialists are identified, the right media should be activated from research – such as street style bloggers love getting exclusive access to new product gear while food bloggers would prefer invitations to review new local restaurants and events.

It’s also worth noting the recent changes that Instagram made to its algorithm within the past year to mirror Facebook’s algorithm. Now, posts from profiles that users follow and interact with are shown first in Instagram feeds, and authentic, quality content is prioritized over promoted content from big brands. This makes micro-influencers content more visible than content from celebrities if the algorithm determines users might be more interested in it (which they are).

In today’s advertising world, it’s all about content and influencers. And no matter the category or platform, there are always micro-influencers that can perfectly complement a brand and product story.