The Rise of Micro-Influencers: Is Small the New Big?
Posted on October 27, 2017 | By Christina Fakhry

With influencer marketing on the rise across the Arab region and worldwide, brands are often caught up in a ‘bigger is better’ paradigm when it comes to selecting relevant influencers. And while it may seem natural for modern-day marketers to gravitate towards the most popular accounts, namely those of celebrities and mega-influencers, to help promote their products, recent studies appear to refute this sacred rule of numbers.

Following an analysis of over five million Instagram posts, award-winning influencer marketing firm Markerly unveiled a clear downward correlation between follower size and post likes. “The key finding of our data is that as an influencer’s follower total rises, the rate of engagement (likes and comments) with followers decreases,” the data report reads.

Building upon these findings, Markerly reported that influencers in the 10k-100k follower range, otherwise referred to as micro-influencers, have the best combination of engagement and broad reach, with like/comment rates exceeding those pertaining to their more widely followed counterparts, whom brands are otherwise more likely to approach. 

Another study by HelloSociety, a social media marketing company that was acquired by the New York Times in 2016, similarly found micro-influencers with 30k followers or less to be more beneficial for marketers to collaborate with. According to the study, micro-influencers are 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than influencers with larger followings, which makes them more cost effective.

And while these niche influencers may not enjoy the same recognition as prominent celebrity influencers, they have reportedly garnered more targeted/loyal audiences that they are able to engage with on an intimate level, thereby making them a smarter (let alone significantly less expensive) investment for marketers looking to build awareness around their brand.

But as more and more brands continue to seek out the endorsement of coveted celebrity influencers at any cost, it becomes all the more imperative for lucid marketers to enlighten their clients on the statistical significance of the aforementioned findings and subsequently redirect their strategy towards a significantly more valuable/accessible resource represented by micro-influencers. 

The rationale behind this due shift is pretty simple, and it is about time that brands ultimately take it up as their go-to influencer marketing alternative for achieving higher brand engagement. The pace at which such a shift will take place, however, largely depends on modern marketers’ eagerness to push for it among their clients.

Does this mean micro-influencers are on the way to dethrone celebrities in terms of online influence? Not necessarily (nor is this the point, at the end of day). But it surely does imply that their customized influence is more apt to meet brands’ needs in today’s over-saturated social media environment.