Micro vs. Macro Influencers: Which Is Best for Your Brand?

Jan 11, 2022 — Justin Kline, 5 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

These days, if you want to make any real headway with your social media marketing, you have to use influencers. But when it comes to choosing which influencers you should work with, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Understanding micro vs. macro influencers is an important part of determining who is a good fit for your brand.

At first glance, you might be tempted to think that follower count is the end-all be-all for achieving a successful influencer marketing campaign. Quite often, however, brands will be better served by smaller micro influencers than major celebrity endorsements.

By understanding the types of influencers that work best for your unique audience, you’ll be able to produce high-quality, cost-effective content that helps to grow your brand.

Here’s what you need to understand about micro vs. macro influencers.

What Are Macro Influencers?

Micro vs macro influencers: person browsing through an influencer's posts

When it comes to separating micro vs. macro influencers, the number of followers is the starting point that we focus on.

Macro influencers generally have between 100,000 and 1 million followers. These people aren’t necessarily celebrities in the traditional sense. Instead, they are thought leaders in a specific niche, or people who would qualify as “internet famous.” Think popular TikTok creators or your favorite travel or fashion blogger.

Thanks to their popularity on the platform, internet users expect macro influencers to produce high-quality Instagram posts. Their popularity also puts them in high demand for influencer marketing campaigns from major brands.

While a large audience can be great for brand awareness, it’s important to remember that a single post isn’t going to reach every one of the influencer’s followers. With a larger audience, a post may only get engagement from 2% of their followers. Still, 2% of 1 million people is 20,000! Kim Kardashian could easily have more reach than 200 micro influencers.

Of course, you can go beyond macro influencers with mega influencers who have over 1 million Instagram followers. At this point, you’re not really talking about a popular blogger who has built their own influencer platform. You’re looking at traditional celebrities. While these individuals may sometimes still be willing to do a sponsored post, they’re typically booked for big-time brands with big-time budgets.

One thing to watch out for with macro and mega influencers is the risk of fake followers. Some influencers buy followers or use bots so they can appear more popular and charge higher rates for sponsored posts. If an influencer gets few comments on their posts, or the comments are all very generic, or their followers seem unrealistic, they may have a lot of fakes.

In addition, while macro influencers have a very large audience, these audiences tend to be more broad in their needs and interests. A sponsored post can greatly increase your brand awareness, but not everyone who sees it may be a good fit for your products or services.

What Are Micro Influencers?

Micro vs macro influencers: person taking a photo of her food using her phone

As the name implies, micro influencers have a smaller following than other influencers (typically between 1,000 and 100,000 followers). While a smaller audience may seem like a bad thing at first, experience shows this isn’t the case. 

Though micro influencers may not have as many Instagram followers, they tend to have higher engagement on their content thanks to their approachability and relatability. Those who do follow these influencers tend to be more likely to comment and like content. They’re also more likely to see the influencer’s posts in their feed in the first place.

Micro influencers generally target a more niche audience. Their followers share similar interests, and have similar problems. As a result, when you use micro influencers, you can have greater confidence that the people who see your posts are going to be interested in your brand.

Not surprisingly, research indicates that micro influencers can produce a much higher conversion rate than macro influencers. Most micro influencers already have some level of experience with influencer campaigns. However, because they are more niche, they tend to be in less demand, allowing you to develop a campaign quicker.

Within the micro influencer world, you can go even smaller with nano influencers. However, with fewer than 1,000 followers, the potential reach is greatly diminished. While nano influencers may be willing to do a sponsored post in exchange for free products, brands need to perform due diligence to ensure that the influencer can actually create quality content.

Micro vs. Macro Influencers: Which Is Right for You?

Influencer recording a video of herself

It has become common knowledge that large influencers provide lower rates of engagement. However, many assume that’s OK because the super large influencers have so much more reach—and they don’t charge proportionally more when compared to micro influencers, right? 

Not true.

Many brands assume that influencers charge what is essentially a flat rate that is in line with their number of followers. However, if you look at price per engagement, larger influencers often charge as much as double the price that micro influencers charge for a post. In reality, brands should be looking at how many engagements or conversions they will get from a post to determine its actual value.

Reach isn’t the only factor that determines whether a campaign is successful. Which is better in the end—a macro influencer post that reaches 250,000 people and gets 5,000 conversions, or a micro influencer post that “only” reaches 30,000 but scores 10,000 conversions?

Better pricing and availability can make micro influencers the better choice for brands looking to leverage social media. They also tend to be more collaborative than mega influencers, giving you greater control over the content that gets produced on behalf of your brand.

What makes a micro influencer strategy difficult is the volume of influencers that you’re required to work with to reach the same number of people as you would with macro influencers. Strong systems are needed to adequately manage the volume of influencers that you’re partnering with. It can be surprisingly easy to lose track of campaigns and influencer relationships if you’re not careful.

Regardless of whether you work with micro or macro influencers, it’s worth it to do your research before reaching out about a possible partnership. Follow influencers in your niche so you can get an idea for the type of content they produce. This can also help you see if they create content that lines up with your brand messaging and target audience. 

Let Markerly Show the Way

Social medial "likes" concept

Wherever you stand on the micro vs. macro influencers debate, there is no denying that social media influencers should be accounted for in every modern marketing budget.

The problem for many brands, of course, is understanding how to find the right influencers who will have the biggest impact on their target audience. Even after you’ve found the right influencer, how do you go about creating a partnership that pays dividends for your marketing strategy?

That’s where Markerly comes in. We’ve been building influencer marketing technology and running influencer campaigns since 2012. We know what works and what doesn’t, and we can build tech to fit bespoke execution strategies. That’s something most influencer agencies aren’t able to pull off.

We would love to chat and brainstorm about some of your out-of-this-world ideas. Hit us up, and let’s make something happen!

Want more content like this?

Influencers, brands and marketing are our passions, and sharing our perspective is our way of starting a conversation! We'd love to have you follow us, and more importantly, engage with us. Sign up to be the first to hear what's making an impression on us!