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Macro-Influencers: Are They Worth The Spend If You Are A Smaller Brand?

May 1, 2019
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When it comes to influencer marketing, there is a lot of suspicion and questions. One of the largest questions that most brands face is in regard to budget and who to spend it on. With the Instagram platform consistently growing, there are more and more influencers every day. At this point in time, it’s almost hard for brands to decipher exactly what an influencer is and what it means to actually hold influence.

When influencer marketing first began back in 2010 with the inception of Instagram, brands and users alike immediately flocked to their favorite celebrities page to see what they were doing. By celebrity, we mean those in television, films, music, etc. Brands with large budgets immediately reached out to celebrities as a new means of brand endorsement. For example, Airbnb launched a campaign with Mariah Carey in 2015 that was found to be immensely successful for the brand.

Instagram and its users have continued to evolve over the past 8 years. Furthermore, there is a new type of celebrity on social media. This new wave of stardom is the ‘Instagram Celebrity’ or the ‘Macro-influencer’ per industry terms. Macro-influencers have almost stolen the scene from the traditional Hollywood celebrity in the ways of influencer marketing. While some large brands still opt for the traditional celebrity style endorsement, it has become more popular to work with these high-tier influencers due to their large following and reach, but most importantly, their ability to engage their audience in a realistic way that a Hollywood celebrity may not.

Nowadays the macro-influencers are forging their way as ‘celebrities’ in their perspective niche. For example, Arielle Charnas of Something Navy is an NYC-based influencer who gained her mass following through her blog and Instagram. At a little over 1 million followers, Arielle is a ‘tastemaker’ in the fashion and lifestyle space. Aside from multiple brand partnerships, Arielle is now most recognized for her fashion line sold exclusively at Nordstrom’s and Nordstroms.com. Pete Nordstrom even boasted about Charnas line, saying it was one of the most successful brand launches the company has ever had. The line sold out within minutes.

However, working with macro-influencers certainly comes with a cost– a literal cost at that and it is not a cheap one by any means. So, when should a brand work with this category of influencers? Is it ever worth the money? How creative can you get when working with Macros?

Let’s dive deeper into all things ‘Macro’.

What Exactly Qualifies A Macro-Influencer?

According to MediaKix, the Macro-Influencer has 500k-1 million followers on Instagram. This range has become the industry standard as the term has begun to grow. However, it is important to recognize that Instagram is only one platform when it comes to influencing. For many macro-influencers, their audience expands to YouTube, blog, twitter, etc.

Although 500k+ is the starting range, influencers starting at even 200k can also be considered macro-influencers to brands with a smaller budget, seeing that they still offer that larger reach.

How Much Do Macro-Influencers Tend To Cost?

Depending on their following and engagement, macro-influencers can range from a minimum of $2,000 all the way to $10,000 for a single post. Although this initial price for just a post seems extremely daunting, there are different ways you may be able to leverage your contract to get more bang for your buck, such as the below:

  • Multiple Posts + Packages – Macro-influencers and their agents (if they have one) are ultimately looking for a longer term, larger collaborations. This being said, it is easier to leverage budget when looking for a longer term partnership. Not to mention, more posts create a more organic relationship with the influencer and its audience.
  • Additional Creative Assets – Request multiple images in addition to the image used for their static post. Pending the influencer, these additional assets may still have a cost, but in terms of scheduling a photo shoot with influencers, this is a potentially much better route.
  • Additional Swipe-up’s on StoriesWhen contracting influencers for Instagram story series, be sure to have them include a UTM swipe-up on multiple stories versus one.

When Should Brands With A Smaller Budget Look to Work With Macro-Influencers?

While macro-influencers come with a higher price tag and budget may not consistently permit for their use, there are certain opportunities in a business in which partnering with macro-influencers offers a greater benefit.

  • New Product Launches Looking to get the word out about a new product launch? Partnering with one or two macro-influencers with highly engaged followings is a great brand awareness tactic.
  • Quick Revenue BoostsAlthough influencer marketing is best known as a brand awareness tactic versus a strong ROI converter, there is certainly an opportunity to see a strong conversion given the correct influencer.
  • Brand Ambassador OpportunitiesWhen looking for an influencer to represent your brand, it is best to look to a macro-influencer seeing that he or she is a more recognizable face.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Working With Macro-Influencers vs. Micro-Influencers For a Smaller Budget?


  • Larger Reach
  • Higher Conversion Rates
  • Lower Impression per Dollar – (Studies have shown that working with a macro-influencer with high engagement can actually prove a lower cost of impression per dollar)
  • Growth on Organic Social


  • Higher budget for less amount of influencers
  • No guaranteed ROI
  • Difficult to negotiate with
  • Limited Usage rights

What Are Creative Ways to Leverage Macro-Influencers to Get More Bang For Your Buck?

  • Capsule Collections – Capsule collections are an incredible way to not only grow brand awareness but work with influencers in a creative way that goes outside the standard campaign with just social posts. This also gives the brand an opportunity to negotiate stronger by offering the influencer a kick-back or affiliate-type program on all sales made for the collection. Capsule collections are also a great way to cross-promote on the brand’s organic channel and the influencer’s to create a strongly built-out campaign. For example, Billabong recently launched a capsule collection with Macro-blogger, Sincerely Jules, which has created strong buzz for the brand.
  • Said it once and we will say it again, Brand Ambassadors – Aside from their ‘influence’ working with macro-influencers as brand ambassadors build a stronger relationship with their audience, ultimately proving higher conversion rates throughout the partnership. Working with a macro-influencer as a key brand ambassador gives a brand the opportunity to leverage the ‘fame’ aspect of a larger influencer and supplement the campaign using micro-influencers at a lower budget.

All in all, the world of influencer marketing can be a bit of a gamble in the digital world. It can be difficult to determine ROI, and so on. However, working with highly engaged macro-influencers can certainly yield incredible results outside the standard benefit of brand awareness.

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