How Influencer Popularity Dictates Your Brand Campaign ROI

We’ve touted the success of influencer marketing since the beginning of Acorn’s history, and if the results of our campaigns are anything to go by, we know our influencers are creating content that drives ROI.

But are all influencers created equal? We’re often asked how we define an ‘influencer’ – is it their audience size, engagement metrics, blog content? Here’s some (not all) of the key qualifiers we use to recruit people to our influencer network:

  • Audience Size: Must be above a certain threshold of followers to make a visible impact with their content.
  • Content Quality: Our clients expect the best, and so do we, so we only recruit influencers whose content is informative, visually appealing, and entertaining.
  • Content Engagement: Having a large audience doesn’t qualify someone as an influencer unless that audience is actively interacting with them. We measure engagements, impressions, and conversations between influencers and followers to see whether they will meet our client expectations during a campaign.
  • Client Alignment: Not all influencers meet the needs of brands. We check whether the content they publish would suit the kind of content our clients look for.
  • Content Type: Are they bloggers, Instagram exclusive, or all-rounders?

Checking yes to all of the above might qualify someone as an influencer, but how can we accurately estimate the results we’ll get from each person if their audience size, and engagement varies?

Micro Influencers & Critical Mass

It turns out that there’s a trade-off between audience size and engagement. Once a social media influencer reaches a certain follower size, the audience engagement starts to decrease.

A survey, which analyzed 2 million social media influencers, showed that Instagram influencers with less than 1000 followers have a “like” rate of around 8% while Instagram influencers with an audience of between 1000 – 10000 followers have a 2.4% “like” rate. Influencers with a 1 million – 10 million follower range see a 1.7% “like” rate.
Data clearly indicates that there’s a sweet spot for audience size to engagement on the Instagram platform. Influencers with an audience size between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, are called “micro-influencers” but the results they drive are far from micro.

Micro-Influencer Return On Investment

Why would a smaller audience generate higher engagements? The secret is in the relationship between the influencer and their followers. When an influencer has a follower size between 1k and 10k they can respond to comments, and understand what kind of content they want to see far better than when their audience size numbers in the millions.

The audience of a micro-influencer are also more likely to share mutual interests with the influencer, and with each other, than a larger audience of millions. It’s important to nurture these mutual interests so that the content stays relevant and the audience remains engaged. So brands who want to drive long-term customers through influencer activation should pick micro-influencers who are already aligned with their campaign before being picked.

Beyond Micro-Influencers

Does that mean that influencers with an audience above 100,000, or celebrities who have millions of followers, can’t generate ROI? Not at all. Each influencer campaign is custom designed by the brand, and every influencer brings with them a different kind of audience. Using a mixture of influencers, with both big and small audiences can reap the best rewards in terms of ROI.

Next Steps

Acorn Influence has had the pleasure of working with some of the biggest, and best, brands in the world. Our case studies page features examples of how influencer marketing is providing true ROI for agencies, and brands alike.