Instagram 'micro' and 'nano' influencers have become a powerful force for marketers, but data suggests only a small fraction of them are doing brand deals

  • New data from Socialbakers, a social-media marketing company, suggests that "micro" (10,000 to 50,000 followers) and "nano" (under 10,000 followers) influencers make up the majority of brand collaborations on Instagram.
  • Together, they consisted of around 70% of brand collaborations in 2020 as of July, Socialbakers found.
  • Still, only a small fraction of micro and nano influencers overall used #ad or other tags indicating a post was sponsored in the first quarter of 2020. This suggests there are many influencers who could potentially be making money from brand deals who currently are not.
  • Other research in 2020 has shown that some brands are shifting their budgets more toward micro influencers because of high engagement and ability to drive awareness and sales.
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In a growing trend in influencer marketing, many brands are hiring influencers with smaller followings, generally referred to as "micro" and "nano" influencers.

These influencers often have high engagement rates because of their smaller audiences that they've built strong bonds with.

"Their audience is so loyal and it's easier for them to convert to the website or drive purchases for brands," said Brittney Turner, a micro influencer and content creator coach. 

In March, the influencer-marketing agency Linqia reported that 77% of 192 marketers it surveyed said they were shifting toward working with influencers with between 5,000 and 100,000 followers in 2020.

Now, new data from Socialbakers, a social-media marketing company, sheds light on some recent trends in the micro and nano influencer space.

Here are some key takeaways from the Socialbakers data:

  • As of July, nearly 40% of all brand collaborations on Instagram in 2020 were with "micro" influencers with a follower count between 10,000 to 50,000.
  • "Nano influencers" with fewer than 10,000 followers made up about 30% of brand collaborations on Instagram during the same period.
  • Together, that means micro and nano influencers made up around 70% of sponsored posts.
  • Still, only a small percentage of influencers with smaller follower counts overall used #ad (or other tags indicating a post was sponsored), from May to July of 2020. The rates were 1.3% for influencers with fewer than 10,000 followers, 4.5% for those with 10,000 to 50,000 followers, and 7.4% for those with 50,000 to 100,000 followers. This suggests there are many influencers who could potentially be making money from brand deals who currently are not.
  • Socialbakers also found that in July, cooperations between brands and influencers of all sizes grew, suggesting the market for sponsored content deals has begun to rebound after crashing due to the pandemic.
  • In general, Socialbakers found that influencer marketing was most efficient for "extra small" brands that had fewer than 10,000 followers on Instagram. Socialbakers defined efficiency as the "ratio of average interactions on an influencer's post mentioning the brand compared to a post published by the brand itself."

Socialbakers sourced the data from its internal database, which includes over 8 million business profiles and about 5 million influencers.

To learn more about how Instagram influencers make money and how brands are partnering with them, read these additional Business Insider stories:

  • More advertisers plan to hire 'micro influencers' for campaigns this year than those with millions of followers and it shows a shift in the industry
  • How to create Instagram Stories with high engagement and reach, according to an influencer coach and an analytics company
  • An Instagram influencer with 176,000 followers explains how much money she makes for a sponsored post and for a story slide

Exclusive FREE Report: The Stories Slide Deck by Insider Intelligence

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