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.

Influencer Marketing

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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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.