Micro vs Macro Influencers: The Important Differences

Can you really compare micro vs macro influencers? There are many ways in which macro and micro influencers overlap. Both are content creators that work to build their brand and increase their influencer reach. Both types of influencers are willing to work with brands and agencies to create sponsored content for campaigns, and influencers and brands may be able to develop longterm relationships regardless of network size. The influencers can help brands through word of mouth campaigns.

But there are differences between micro and macro influencers, and understanding these differences is key to choosing the right partners for an influencer campaign.

Macro Influencers Have a Larger Audience

An influencer with between 50,000 and one million followers is typically considered a macro influencer. In comparison, a micro influencer usually has less than 50,000 people in their network and may even only have 1,000 fans! This may reflect the amount of time that these people have spent as influencers; although, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes micro influencers focus on such specific niches that they’re bound to have fewer followers than macro or mega influencers. For companies that want to advertise to a specific target audience, that focused niche can be beneficial. Macro influencers may have many followers, but not all of those followers are relevant to a brand. Irrelevant content can lead to incredibly low engagement rates (which you’ll read about next), or even a backlash from consumers.

Who Typically Earns More Engagement?

When you compare the engagement rates of micro influencers vs macro influencers, you might be surprised to learn that the latter have higher engagement rates (see also page: What Is an Influencer). In fact, engagement rates have dropped for most influencers except for some micro influencers. This includes likes, comments, click-throughs and conversion rates of links shared by the influencer.

It makes sense… After all, a smaller audience means that micro influencers can develop closer and more direct relationships with their followers than macro influencers can do. They can engage in back-and-forth conversations and even develop friendships with those people who follow them. For this reason, micro influencers may be seen as more credible than macro influencers whose influencer status is always obvious.

There are obvious benefits to this highly engaged audience to companies that wish to sponsor an influencer, notably a higher ROI (Return on Investment). This is especially important when you consider the following.

Micro vs Macro Influencers: Who Charges More?

User receiving payment on their phone with micro vs macro influencer campaign

Those influencers who have hours every day building their brands, sometimes for years, have earned the right to charge more. Many more people will potentially see sponsored content created by a macro influencer than a micro influencer. Companies have spent upwards of $100 thousand on a single influencer in the past, and while factors such as how long a brand and influencer have been working together and engagement rates may impact price, brands need a larger budget to work with macro influencers.

On the other hand, micro influencers don’t just charge less; they often accept more creative payment options. For example, an influencer might talk about a company in exchange for a product, service, or a social share. They may be willing to work with brands that have affiliate programs for influencer marketing campaigns rather than for direct payment. Gift cards can also be appealing to micro influencers.

Both the lower prices and creative repayment structures of micro influencers can make it possible for brands to have more influencers post on Instagram and share a piece of content to raise brand awareness than if they just went with a single macro influencer. Up-and-coming brands with smaller budgets don’t have to write off influencer marketing, either, thanks to the affordability of micro influencers. And because an influence campaign with micro influencers typically sees a higher ROI when compared to macro influencers, it may be more effective to go this route.

Although it might sound like micro influencers are a better choice all around, that’s not always the case. First, macro influencers may be well-known to most people, and some brands may prefer that name power when picking influencers to be brand ambassadors. Some brands also prefer working with macro influencers who have developed a more professional manner. Depending on the brand’s own industry, a broader audience may be preferable and result in better engagement with an influencer’s followers.

Furthermore, it can be harder to start working with micro influencers simply because not all of them are listed on influencer platforms. Some platforms don’t allow influencers with networks under a certain size, and micro influencers may not even realize some brands would want to work with them.

Thanks to the Coovy app, you can now easily carry out micro influencer campaigns, no matter which campaign size and budget.

Both micro and macro influencers may fail to optimize sponsored content by using generic messaging and failing to describe the purpose, benefits, and experience of a product or service. Although, micro influencers may be more likely to describe their experience in detail because they have the time to do so.

Finally, the risk of fake followers is higher with micro influencers, so brands must beware of these risks when choosing which influencers to work with. Fortunately, the Coovy app offers an analysis tool so that influencers who have fake followers can be sorted out.

There are pros and cons to both micro and macro influencers. A brand’s needs for a particular campaign might better fit with an influencer whose name is well-known and audience is large. But the credibility and engagement rates of micro influencers means that brands shouldn’t overlook them, either. Like any marketing strategy, research helps brands find the right solution for each specific case.

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