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Marketers who ‘think small’ may have better results, researchers find
By our News Team | 2023
Brands should not rely solely on the classic KPIs of followers and engagement rates when choosing an influencer to work with.
Mega-influencers with more than 500,000 followers have led the rise of promoting brands with endorsements by social media celebrities.
However, the number of followers alone is not always the best way for marketers to promote brands and products, according to new marketing research from Flinders University and the University of South Australia. Both are located in Australia.
Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels
Dr Naser Pourazad from Flinders University, and Drs Lara Stocchi and Shreya Narsey, from the University of South Australia, have compared the work of 180 large, medium and small social media influencers’ KPIs (key performance indicators) from a sample of 35,000 posts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter.
The findings, published in the latest Journal of Advertising Research, explored differences in followers and engagement across the popular social media platforms.
“Our research suggest that brands should not rely solely on the classic KPIs of followers and engagement rates when choosing an influencer to work with,” says Pourazad, the lead author.
“Instead, to evaluate the effectiveness of an influencer and choose the right one based on business goals, brands should use a simple model based on the maturity and growth trajectory of the social media platforms, known as ‘double jeopardy.’
Set guidelines and benchmarks for influencers
“They should also set guidelines and benchmarks for working with influencers of different sizes from different industries, depending on the platform.”
For example, micro-influencers may be more effective for improving engagement on mature platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – while macro- and mega-influencers may be more effective on emerging platforms like TikTok, which focuses on authenticity and creative expression, the researchers say.
Micro-influencers have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers, compared to celebrity-status and macro-influencers with between 50,000 and 500,000 followers. Mega-influencers have more than 500,000 followers.
A 2019 study by Influencer Marketing Hub found 89% of marketers planned to increase or maintain their investment with influencers they work with.
Dr. Pourazad cites an example of how micro-influencer Pamela Ross (@PamelaRossxo) has outperformed macro-influencer @KellysLife to garner engagement for their sponsor, popular Korean skincare range Numbuzin, on YouTube.
“If a brand wants to increase its reach, it should partner with a mega- or macro-influencer who has a large following. On the other hand, if the goal is to increase engagement, a micro-influencer with a smaller following but higher engagement rate may be a better choice,” researchers say.
“For changing platforms like Instagram, there is no clear trade-off between the number of followers and engagement rates. These patterns were consistent across different categories such as beauty and fashion, entertainment and travel and lifestyle.”
You can read more about research here.
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