Are micro influencers better for retailers than macro influencers?
Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from Retail Dive, an e-newsletter and website providing a 60-second bird’s eye view of the latest retail news and trends.
When a brand begins its search for the right influencer to partner with, the size of a potential following is usually the first rubric by which value is measured. But experts say that this formula doesn’t necessarily deliver results.
“The two main questions to ask for [when] forming a successful relationship would be, ‘Does this influencer share my values?’ And, ‘Are this influencer’s readers my target market?'” said Sam Cinquegrani, founder and CEO of ObjectWave, a digital marketing and services provider. “It’s not just about the size of the influencer’s following.”
A subset of influencers, called micro influencers, may prove more beneficial to retail brands looking to connect more deeply to their target clientele.
Ray Hartjen, director of marketing for RetailNext, said that these micro influencers, who have neither too few followers nor too many, may be the most valuable kind of influencer for marketers. But the concept, which seems counter-intuitive, can be a hard sell. “Many marketers get caught up in the vanity metric of the number of followers,” said Mr. Hartjen. “But repeated studies have shown that community engagement decreases as the number of an influencer’s followers increase.”
A celebrity with millions of followers might only get a one to two percent engagement on even their best posts, he said. By contrast, micro influencers might get close to 10 percent. “Because of scale, the big celebrity will bring in big numbers, even at a low conversion rate,” said Hartjen. “But they’re expensive. It comes down to a numbers and analytics game.”
Of course, influencers with substantial followings are still the goal for many retailers.
“Top influencers have audiences in the millions,” said Jeremy Shih, head of marketing at Mediakix. “Top YouTubers can get over five million views per video.” But Shih says there are benefits to both kinds of influencers. “Earlier in the year, we conducted a study between top brands who marketed concurrently with both micro and macro influencers,” said Shih. “[We found that] macro influencers may perform better for certain types of brands including beauty and fashion.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What factors should play the biggest role in the decision to work with influencers? What general advice would have around working with online influencers?