Micro vs Macro Influencers: which one will give you more bang for your buck?

Micro vs Macro influencers: What is the difference?

Influencer marketing is one of the new big things in the industry, and businesses that choose to side with prominent Internet personalities often don’t really know what they are doing. This $1.7 billion-worth marketing strategy is somehow still overlooked or run by unprofessional marketers who don’t understand the secrets behind influencer marketing.

Sure, everybody wants Kylie Jenner to wake up in the morning and advertise your business. Still, as we both know, that isn’t likely, and you probably can’t afford the astronomical fees this celebrity asks for a selfie anyway.

These huge brands have followers in the tens of thousands and generate a huge amount of sales with every post they make – we label these macro-influencers.

Fortunately, you don’t have to chase influencers with millions of followers to get some tremendous results. Actually, performance marketers tend to shy away from Instagram powerhouses in favour of smaller accounts with a dedicated audience, which we call micro-influencers.

Choosing between micro and macro influencers brings completely different experiences to the table and different results which you may want or not so much. 

Influencer marketing heavily depends on your business, your niche, your target audience and, most importantly, how to deal with these tiny internet celebrities – from better contract negotiation to finding out who will effectively leverage their following to support your brand.

4 metrics to take into account before choosing an influencer

As a performance marketing agency, we like data-backed actions. 

This should be done regardless of which influencer you’ll be choosing to work with.

To choose the perfect influencer, we like to look at specific metrics to fully understand the best choice for your business.

The first and most important number an influencer of any niche will have is, of course, their Return On Investment rates. We are obsessed with ROI, as you probably realise by now, simply because it’s how much money you’ll get out of your initial investment.

So obviously, the higher the better. Understanding the ROI of influencers heavily depends on the influencer’s fees in exchange for their returns. 

We provide influencers discounts, coupons and other unique tracking systems to fully understand which influencer provided the highest amount of coverage in order to calculate the revenue they are bringing to your business as opposed to the fees they are charging.

Then, on a monthly or quarterly basis, they will be reviewed based on ROI and contracted accordingly.

The second metric you should keep an eye on for your campaign is the Influencer Engagement Rate (IER), which calculates how many of the influencer’s followers actively engage with their content.

Content engagement is extremely important and directly affects ROI, website visitors, sales and every other metric, so it’s important the influencer and their followers are active members of your social media of choice – you can take it a step further and calculate engagement rates before you even open up to the possibility of a contract with them.

Brand Sentiment, albeit a direct effect of your Online Reputation Scores, which are sometimes quite difficult to calculate, is also a metric you should keep track of. 

Brand Sentiment calculates how likely it is that a customer will talk highly of your product, and often, the sentiment a follower has of their favourite influencer is also the one that will carry onto your products.

This is why it’s extremely important to connect with influencers that are devoid of controversies and don’t attract an audience you wouldn’t associate your business with.

Finally, Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is the metric we like to focus on whenever creating a performance-centric influencer marketing campaign. This characterises how much you are spending per each lead you are getting – which directly affects ROI.

We like to keep CPA as low as possible by focusing on the content the influencer is producing to ensure high standards are always kept.

Recommended read: Understanding the metrics of a successful social media campaign

Working with a macro-influencer

Influencers are considered macro whenever their followers are above the 100K mark. These tend to be celebrities and people of interest such as actors, musicians or models. Popular examples are Dwayne Johnson, Chiara Ferragni, Salt Bae, Charli D’Amelio and others.


  • Macro influencers will reach a huge number of people – thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions. This translates to a reach you’ll simply never reach with tiny influencers.
  • “Law of big numbers”: because you’ll reach so many people, it’s basically guaranteed someone will buy your product – this is good if you want some peace of mind or proof that influencer marketing works for your business.
  • They have a much higher degree of influence and are more likely to convince the consumer to take action. 
  • Whenever they use Instagram stories, they are significantly more likely to reach a follower compared to a micro-influencer. This is great if you rely on smaller, additional pieces of content in addition to a post or similar.
  • If you only want to focus on sales instead of exposure, macro-influencer are better than their smaller counterpart in practically every single way.


  • Popular influencers tend to only work with big brands – it’s unlikely Chiara Ferragni will publicise your beauty brand since they are already working with the likes of L’Oreal and such.
  • They are significantly more expensive than micro-influencers.
  • They have a lower engagement rate than their tiny counterparts.
  • The time it takes to negotiate a contract and trigger the needed process for content creation can span months, which is a costly wait if you need to move fast.
  • Big doesn’t necessarily mean better. According to Forbes, influencers with over one million followers only average an engagement rate of 1.5%.
  • Macro influencers often feel less personal than micro-influencer. This is because their followers know this is how they make a living, meaning that they are less encouraged to buy their product because they see it as just that, a product they are sponsoring.

Working with a micro-influencer

Micro-influencers are normally between 10,000 and 100,000 unique followers and tend to be closely associated with a highly-specific niche or a type of product.


  • Micro-influencers are much more accessible to small-to-medium-sized businesses both in terms of negotiation points (how likely it is they’ll pick up your brand) and costs.
  • Micro-influencers have a very dedicated audience, on average, since they work with small niches. Micro-influencers average a 33% engagement rate, as opposed to the 8% a macro-influencer will get.
  • Followers of a micro-influencer feel more connected with the page – this leads to better brand recognition for your business, and sometimes, even better brand sentiment simply because your brand is associated with someone they share a relationship.
  • Micro-influencers are more likely to have a tightly knit community and dedicate more time to replying to messages and queries – this can work spectacularly well for your brand by letting the influencer sponsor your products even via direct messages.
  • They cost a lot less than macro-influencers.
  • Some of the smaller micro-influencers will be happy to become brand ambassadors – they’ll get a cut out of any products they sell instead of an upfront payment.


  • It’s unlikely you’ll score a big win with a single micro-influencer. To get a decent result, you’ll likely have to handle multiple contracts and keep track of the performance of each, which can be costly, time-consuming and keep you from achieving a high-performing campaign.
  • If your goal is to reach as many people as possible, you simply have to hope that one of your influencers’ content goes viral.
  • If your business model relies on a high number of smaller sales, then micro-influencers may struggle to reach the numbers for you. 
  • The success rate of micro-influencer heavily depends on how well you know your niche. For example, if you sell baby products, then it’s a smart idea to target influencer with a strong following made of middle-class mothers, but not so good if the influencer works with, for example, travelling families and solo female travellers.

Micro vs Macro influencers: How to know which influencer is best for my business?

Each category of influencer comes with advantages and disadvantages that heavily affect how your campaign will perform.

Generally speaking, your budget is the single most important factor of choice when you select which influencer to work with. Of course, if you can afford it you’ll get better results with huge personalities simply because they can reach so many people, strategy often goes out of the window.

However, only a few lucky business owners can choose to work with Lebron James or Leonardo Di Caprio, leaving them to choose between reasonably macro-influencer and their micro counterparts.

This opens up a very good argument: influencer performance marketing. This is a strategy deployed by business owners who want to make as much money from their budget as possible while also ensuring very real results.

Performance marketing agencies, such as ourselves, collaborate with influencers by following a strict philosophy: the brand comes first.

This means that every contract negotiated, whether micro or macro, will be handpicked and tested against mathematically-backed metrics and algorithms to ensure results with predictability and efficiency.

To cut it short, influencer performance marketing is the strategy that works every single time. Easy as.

How does influencer performance marketing work?

If you want to focus on a performance-driven influencer marketing campaign, you will have to work with an influencer with the highest Return On Investment (which normally equals a high engagement rate) and negotiate tactfully to ensure every penny of your budget is tripled when it becomes a profit.

Performance marketing tends to prefer micro-influencers simply because they generally favour smaller budgets with big ambitions. But another unlooked benefit of micro-influencers for performance marketers is the amount of leeway you’ll get when contract negotiations start.

Because micro-influencers work with fewer contracts, you’ll be able to get more out of your budget simply because you’ll be developing a closer relationship with your influencer.

Ultimately, this leads performance marketers to develop a strong partnership with micro-influencer, which normally translates to an array of loyal partners readily available at their customers’ disposal. 

Often, these relationships go beyond the screen and move “in the real world”, which helps the influencer create better content – and thar translates into even more engagement and sales for their customers.

Getting started with influencer marketing

Influencer marketing can be quite tricky to get started with, especially if you are a new business or you haven’t quite found your footing yet. Smaller businesses tend to prefer micro-influencers, but these can be a huge waste of money if you aren’t hitting the exact niche where your products will be appreciated.

Influencer marketing can help you achieve strong brand awareness and some may argue it’s a more effective social media strategy than Paid Advertising. For sure, the campaign effectiveness heavily depends on the relationship you’ll have with your social media savvy partners, and how eager they are to promote your brand.

Influencer marketing relies heavily on smart budget allocation, and just like all effective marketing strategies, it takes time to get some big results. However, once you focus on performance and keep track of the metrics, you’ll figure out which influencer gives you the best results, giving you a more refined idea of what your marketing campaign should look like.

Performance marketing agencies such as topflight, simply enough, do all the work for you. From studying your brand to finding the exact partners for your business, negotiating contracts, constantly monitoring the campaign’s progress and evaluating metrics while also providing feedback to the influencers for better results – we simply do it all!

We also happen to be one of the first performance-driven influencer marketing services out there, but we are also blending our philosophy with it – and what happens when you mix performance marketing and an advertisement tool which is proven to be incredibly effective?

The answer is stellar results.

To get started with the only performance-driven influencer marketing agency out there, start with a simple, no-strings-attached, free online consultation.

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