Micro vs. Macro-influencers: Who has more marketing influence?

May 23, 2017

Micro vs. Macro-influencers: Who has more marketing influence?

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This is where micro-influencers are coming in and grabbing a lot of the business, charging exponentially less than stars and influencers with 10x more followers. These micro-influencers are bringing in the business because they create more engagement and an increased return on investment (ROI) for companies. Let’s look at why and how.

First, let’s define what a “micro-influencer” is:

Micro-influencers are defined as “highly creative individuals with expertise in a specific topic area, and a highly engaged audience between 10,000 and 1,000,000 followers.” Entrepreneur found that the sweet spot for influencers is in the 10,000 to 100,000 follower range because as the number of followers increases, the engagement rate decreases. A study done by Markerly found that influencers with 1K-10K on Instagram have an engagement rate of 4 percent and ones with more than 10M have a rate of 1.6 percent.

*It’s important to note that Instagram is overwhelmingly the most popular platform for micro-influencer marketing programs.  Instagram most popular for micro influencers

Micro-Influencer Engagement

Engagement can be represented by how many people interact with a particular post whether it’s from likes or comments. If people are interacting with your posts, it means they care at least a little bit.

Instagram Likes and Comments vs Followers

The Y axis represents the “like” percentage rate. The peak “like” percentage happens around 1k or more followers and then swiftly drops as the number of followers goes up.

Likewise, the number of comments a micro-influencer receives is determined by the number of followers. As an account has more than 10k followers, the engagement level drops off substantially.

Engagement goes down when there are more followers because the audience has become broader and less concentrated. More followers also means that influencers cannot respond to and interact with as many followers because they have so many. Still, word of mouth is a powerful tool to use and Experticity found that micro-influencers have up to 22.2 times more conversations each week regarding recommendations on what to buy versus an average customer.

The return on investment (ROI) for brands from using micro-influencers is much higher than those with a larger following, too. Celebrities and macro-influencers can charge $75,000 for an Instagram post. While they can drive a good amount of sales, micro-influencers usually charge $1,000 or less for a post. In fact, Blog Lovin’ found that 97 percent of micro-influencers charge less than $500 for an Instagram post. For that price, marketers can hire 25 different people to advertise for them, which means their product is getting shown to the loyal followers of those 25 influencers. Experticity’s study also found that 82 percent of consumers who were surveyed said they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro influencer.


If we want to look at specifics, Influencer Marketing Hub has created an Instagram “Estimated Earnings Tool,” which gives influencers an idea of how much money they can make per post. Let’s compare.

Let’s say you work for a clothing company and you’re looking for an influencer or celebrity to work with to show new clothing. One option is a fashion or lifestyle blogger. Let’s look at Em (she doesn’t give her last name), also known as TheLipstickFever on Instagram. Em has only 17.4K followers, with an engagement rate of 4.54 percent. The tool puts her estimated earnings per post at $84.75 – $141.25. Chances are that her followers care about fashion, so they will be interested in the clothing.

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 3.04.20 PM.png

Soho coffee dates ☕️http://liketk.it/2rrL8 #liketkit @liketoknow.it

A post shared by Em • NYC 👉🏻Brooklyn (@thelipstickfever) on

Not a sponsored post, but go through the comments and look at how she interacts with her audience. She responds to almost everyone that comments-by name. She may not have a huge following or be a major celebrity, but you can bet that type of personal interaction breeds loyalty.

Now let’s take a look at someone with a bit more of a following, Kim Kardashian. The reality television star turned mogul is always traveling around the world, so you may look to her for a sponsored post. Kardashian has 99.9 million followers, but her engagement rate is only 1.72 percent, which is less than half of Em’s rate. Also, many of her followers could care less about where she got her outfit because they followed her for other reasons. With her estimated earnings per post at $149,998 – $249,996, you could opt to work with thousands of micro-influencers who are fashion or lifestyle bloggers, all with higher engagement rates than Kardashian.

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 2.18.34 PM.png

Finally found @fittea shakes for protein, fiber, and probiotics. Perfect after my workouts 💪🏼 Fit Shakes tastes amazing #ad

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

This is an example of a sponsored post from Kim Kardashian. On this post (at the time of publishing), she has more than 1 million likes and over 6 thousand comments. Think she will personally interact with any of them? Also, how many of those comments are people just trying to advertise for their own account or attract new followers for something completely unrelated? Take this comment for example,

perryfitnesslife💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻 I train celebs check out me out


If you have the money to spend $150-250k per post, why not spend the money to get 2 million pairs of eyeballs on each post. In order to get that same engagement from a micro-influencer, you would have to spend about twice as much. BUT, and this is kind of a big deal, you would also get twice the loyalty and could diversify your audience by hiring many, many different influencers.

We’re not saying that working with macro-influencers is a bad idea. Brands have seen a good amount of conversions from posts and campaigns done by macro-influencers. We are just trying to show that you can still dive into the world of influencer marketing without completely breaking the bank by investing in micro-influencers.

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