Influencer Orchestration Network

Do Microinfluencers Really Work? Brands (And Results) Say Yes

It may seem counter-intuitive, but brands are finding power in thinking small.

Microinfluencers are the epitome of “quality over quantity”—allowing brands to reach a very niche, but highly-engaged audience. It may seem counterproductive to aim for a smaller audience, but in many cases, brands have found strength in smaller, more effective numbers.

Opinions vary across the marketing industry as to what constitutes a microinfluencer, but most can agree that the term applies to someone with less than 100,000 followers.

When it came time to market Haste, a service that reduces lag for online gaming, Mark Konigsmark—Haste’s VP of marketing—knew that they wanted to work with microinfluencers not because it was easy, but because it was niche.

Konigsmark is no stranger to influencers, especially within the world of video games. As the former VP of marketing for peripheral manufacturer, KontrolFreek, he has worked with an estimated 450 influencers at any given time. One such influencer was Ali-A, who boasts over 8.7 million YouTube subscribers.

“The benefits of working with smaller influencers [between 50,000 and one million followers] include deeper fan engagement, which is what everyone talks about,” Konigsmark told ION. “Their fans often have a deeper, more personal connection to the influencer that can translate into a very positive experience for the brand. For example, Haste often sees higher conversion rates from smaller influencers. The brand can also build a stronger more personal relationship with these influencers which can result in richer, more authentic storytelling. I often find that because the smaller influencers are eager to grow and prove themselves that they are more entrepreneurial and more creative in their approach. They’ll often go the extra mile to make sure the brand is satisfied.”

Not everyone has been convinced by the data. An article recently appeared on Digiday in which an anonymous influencer marketing exec “confessed” that microinfluencers are a scam created by influencer marketing platforms.

“Everyone talks about how these “microinfluencers” have such high engagement, but who cares about a 20 percent engagement rate on a post when only 10 people liked it?,” the exec complained.

He went on to express major concerns about the effectiveness of working with “super small influencers who will do anything for a $100 gift card,” but claims the reason for working with them is that they’re “easier to recruit” than say, a Kardashian.

Microinfluencers tend to disagree—in fact, the most common misconception brands have about them, according to a 2015 study by CrowdTap, is that they will work for free or for samples alone.

When a brand seeks an influencer to partner with for a campaign, the focus should not be on “easy,” but rather the “right fit.” A brand partner needs to share the core values, interests and audience of the company he/she partners with for mutual success—if that process is random, it results in a scenario described by the anonymous marketing exec:

“All [working with microinfluencers] does is start a cycle where brands are working with a network of hundreds of tiny influencers that are totally hit or miss,” said the exec. “That means you’re losing quality, too. There’s no chance all of them are going to be an actual fit for the brand.”

Stacy Place, known to many of her fans as OneDizzyPenguin, has a little over 10,000 followers on Instagram and just shy of 30,000 YouTube subscribers. She may not have the fame of PewDie Pie, but Place has been approached by a number of brands because of the subscribers she does have—namely, young girls who love horses.

“Brands that focus on a very specific audience are always looking for very specific marketing requirements, which can’t always be emphasized on a grand scale,” Place told ION on her brand partnerships, which includes Star Stable. “This level of influence is similar to wanting to share items or experiences with friends or someone you look up to, rather than someone you idolize or has become less of a person and more of a symbol or unreachable celebrity. Brands and their audience connect on a much more intimate and manageable level. It’s personal!”