Influencer marketing works because consumers typically respond better to influencers than to traditional advertising. For example, 84% of consumers claim to trust peer recommendations, compared to only 62% claiming that they trust traditional advertisements. With these stats in mind, there is no denying that influencer marketing can work. The secret to influencer marketing is to find the right influencers and manage the risks and rewards that come with marketing through individuals as opposed to larger business entities.
Within the influencer space, three distinctive categories have started to form:
• Mega influencers: Celebrities and Models
• Macro influencers: Social Media Celebrities, Professional Bloggers, and Thought Leaders
• Micro influencers: Everyday Influencers and Brand Advocates
Each of these categories comes with a different risk and rewards profile. The mega and macro influencers offer the reward of reaching a large audience quickly, but also come with the risk of a huge influencer saying something negative to their audience, should things go wrong. Companies can opt to work with many micros influencers instead of a few mega or macro influencers in order to decrease this risk.
Textbook example: Fyre Festival.
Fyre Festival provides a textbook example of how micro influencers can often be more trustworthy than mega and macro influencers. Fyre Festival was marketed as a “wealthy millennial” music festival located in the Bahamas put on by Ja Rule and Billy McFarland. Celebrities and models including Kendall Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, Kris Jenner, and David and Victoria Beckham heavily promoted the festival over social media, promising extravagant beachside adventures and music. At the actual festival, attendees were shocked by rabid dogs, missing luggage and “luxury cabanas” looking more like a disaster relief camp. Quickly after, social media became littered with images and statuses of rich millennials stranded in the Bahamas with minimal water and food.
Nearly all the mega influencers made a big mistake. They never disclosed any financial or promotional ties to Fyre Festival within their respective social posts. Since then, over 90 Instagram influencers that were tied to the festival have received warnings and threats from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The only influencer that disclosed the “#ad” messaging within her post was Emily Ratajkowski. This shines a light on the risk that major brands and apps take when they put their brand reputation into the hands of the mega-influencer sphere. Fyre Festival is still reaping the backlash of influencer marketing gone wrong.
Benefits of working with micro influencers
Recent research suggests that it can be optimal for brands to work with micro influencers. The maximum impact for micro influencer campaigns falls within a following of the 10,000 to 100,000 follower range. In some instances, micro influencers were driving engagement rates as high as 25%. On average, micro influencers are driving two to five times more organic engagement per Instagram post, compared to mega and macro influencers.
Benefits of a diversified approach
Not every mobile campaign should be entirely comprised of micro-influencers, but we are starting to see a much greater shift to the micro influencer sphere as a whole. Often times, brands are finding that a mix of micro and macro influencers is a diversified approach that backs out to a positive ROI. Like any campaign in mobile, it is a case by case basis. It will be interesting to see how micro influencer marketing continues to grow in an ever-changing space, while companies still try to find the secret recipe to success in influencer campaigns and how to mitigate risk along the way.