A saga: Micro-influencers and brands

A saga: Micro-influencers and brands

Industry experts discuss why brands are shifting to this set of influencers, & more.


Mumbai: Micro-influencers are stealing the show. With a social media presence that is larger than a normal person, but smaller than that of a celebrity, micro-influencers are making inroads into the hearts of not just consumers, but also of brands.

If one has to think about it, associating with micro-influencers offers a slew of advantages. Increased engagement, low cost, providing relatable content, offering out-of-the-box ideas, and forming intimate bonds are some of the benefits of having micro-influencers as part of the brand plan.

Indiantelevision.com spoke to industry experts about how micro-influencers affect consumer behaviour, why brands are shifting to this set of influencers, and more.

Affecting consumer behaviour

Digital marketing agency, BC Web Wise director - growth engagements Aashna Iyer understands that the biggest value of the micro-influencer today is that the consumers can finally see themselves in marketing campaigns. “As a concept, micro-influencers are signs to the increasingly high-aspiration consumer that there are avenues to gaining exposure, visibility, and fame just by being themselves. What this does is, create loyalty towards the influencer, built off a stronger draw than a pretty face or fame. In a world where information is at our fingertips, micro-influencers bring relatable content that has an application in the consumer’s life, rather than just a cool factor.”

India’s first performance-based influencer marketing platform, DRIM head of Asia – global Yulia Aslamova poses a different question - why do people follow micro-influencers (creators with 10-15k followers)? “These creators may not be celebrities or widely recognized figures, but there are compelling reasons why we choose to follow them. We find ourselves associating with micro-influencers, drawing inspiration from them, and feeling a sense of connection.

When a micro-influencer references a product or service, it resonates with us in a way that feels similar to receiving a recommendation from a friend, neighbour, or family member. There is an inherent trust and relatability that comes with micro-influencers, making their endorsements more authentic and genuine.”

She adds, “Drawing from my expertise in the field, I've observed that consumers are more likely to trust and be influenced by micro-influencers who share their niche interests and possess genuine knowledge and passion in those areas. This trust translates into changes in consumer behaviour, as they become more open to trying out recommended products or adopting certain lifestyle choices.

The high engagement rates of micro-influencers further contribute to their impact, as they actively interact with their followers, fostering a sense of community and making consumers feel valued. Through their recommendations and personal experiences, micro-influencers play a significant role in product discovery, influencing purchase intent and driving brand advocacy.”

Aslamova tells, “Their relatability and social proof make their opinions influential, often leading consumers to follow their lead. As the landscape evolves, my team at DRIM Global collaborates with micro-influencers, leveraging their unique influence and using our practical algorithms to ensure that brands maximise the impact of their influencer marketing initiatives, ultimately shaping consumer behaviour and driving business growth.”

A self-serve influencer marketing platform for brand collaborations, Viral Pitch founder Sumit Gupta feels that micro-influencers have brought about a significant change in consumer behaviour by utilizing their genuine connections with specialized audiences. “They are able to influence product discovery, shape purchasing choices, and generate tailored content that strikes a chord with their followers. Through their relatability and credibility, micro-influencers have emerged as influential figures in shaping consumer behaviour.”

Performance marketing: The only way to survive in influencer marketing?

Aslamova firmly believes that influencers have become a powerful performance marketing channel for D2C brands. “Unlike the traditional approach that focuses on reach, impressions, and visits, working with creators at the bottom of the sales pipeline goes beyond just generating metrics. These creators transform into brand advocates and valuable business partners.

This approach ensures that the brands' investment is justified and contributes directly to business growth. The outcomes become evident and mutually beneficial for both influencers and businesses involved.”

She also fathoms that influencers no longer need to struggle to approach brands or prove the credibility of their work. By engaging in performance marketing, the value they bring is clear and measurable, making it easier to collaborate with brands and showcase their effectiveness in driving results.

Aslamova is of the opinion that while influencer marketing remains a vital part of brand marketing, it is evident that the world is increasingly shifting towards digital ads and personalized communication with customers. “In this landscape, performance marketing holds tremendous potential for scalability and impact. It allows brands to leverage the digital space effectively, optimize their strategies, and deliver personalized messages that resonate with their target audience.

Performance marketing is all about results you can measure and depend on. Unlike traditional approaches that focus solely on reach or impressions, performance marketing allows brands to track real outcomes like conversions and sales, providing valuable insights into the return on investment (ROI). At DRIM we have successfully delivered upwards of 12 million in leads & sales for our brands.”

She digs deeper, “This data-driven approach empowers brands to make informed decisions and optimize their strategies for maximum impact. Not only is it effective, but it also offers cost efficiency by aligning compensation with actual results. You pay for the desired actions achieved, reducing the risk of ineffective campaigns and ensuring your marketing budget is wisely allocated. Furthermore, performance marketing brings accountability and transparency to the table. With clear visibility into campaign effectiveness, brands can establish trust-based partnerships with influencers who share the mutual goal of driving results.

By targeting specific goals and collaborating with micro-influencers in relevant niches, brands can achieve higher engagement and conversion rates. This focused approach ensures that your message reaches an audience genuinely interested in your offerings. Additionally, performance marketing enables continuous optimization and scalability. With real-time tracking and data analysis, brands can refine strategies, replicate successful campaigns, and adapt based on insights to achieve sustainable growth. By leveraging the power of performance influencer marketing, brands can confidently navigate the influencer marketing landscape, drive meaningful results, and unlock long-term success.”

Iyer is of the understanding that social media algos today are not friendly to organic growth. “This simply means that one channel or brand does not have the capability anymore to gain thousands of followers through a ‘let my work speak for me’ approach. Influencers, in my opinion, become a full-funnel tactic for breaking the brand’s echo chamber - almost a paid media channel in themselves. With an influencer, you simultaneously build brand awareness, impact consideration, and can drive conversions. This means that if you don’t index upon all these parts of the funnel, your campaign is incomplete. Especially in a world where consumers are open to experimenting with new products and services validated by an influencer.”

Gupta echoes the view that in influencer marketing, performance marketing plays a vital role in ensuring the survival of brands. “By emphasizing measurable outcomes, brands can drive concrete results and guarantee a return on investment. By concentrating on performance metrics, brands can fine-tune their strategies, recognize top-performing influencers, and make informed decisions based on data to achieve the highest possible impact and efficiency.”

Reasons for brands shifting towards micro-influencers, and the difference in strategy

Iyer of BC Web Wise gives a great analogy, “For a consumer, the micro-influencer is almost like that cool older didi or bhaiyya in school that everyone wanted to hang out with. Similar enough that they resonate, distanced enough that you yearn for inclusion. What they say or follow is more realistic than what a celebrity or someone with ‘star’ value would. It’s almost like the Tupperware kitty parties - except more mass! Now that’s a strong channel for any brand!”

She comprehends that the approach for leveraging a micro-influencer should be about reality. “How would the influencer use your product, where would they find it, what is the real use-case, and therefore how will it be packaged for the consumer… All these elements must be included into the campaign. Let the influencers build their own narratives, give them the space to make the brand look native to their environment. And give them an attractive conversion trigger - exclusive access, discounts, long-term benefit etc. that they can give their followers.

Unlike larger influencers, there is no value whatsoever to a big massy spray and pray campaign. Ideally you need a network of micro-influencers deployed over time, seamlessly bringing in brand messages, which create a long-lasting visibility for your brand, and do not trigger “how many sales in 24 hours” kinds of stress.”

Aslamova of DRIM points out that brands are increasingly drawn to micro-influencers for compelling reasons, backed by relevant statistics.

●    Micro-influencers consistently achieve higher engagement rates, with an average of around 3.86 per cent, compared to macro influencers' 1.21 per cent engagement rate (Markerly study).

●    Micro-influencers bring a refreshing level of authenticity and relatability to their content. With their smaller but highly engaged audiences, they create a genuine connection that resonates with consumers.

●    Consumers are more likely to trust the recommendations of their peers, as 70 per cent consider them trustworthy over traditional celebrity endorsements (Collective Bias).

●    What's more, micro-influencers offer better ROI, with 60 per cent higher engagement rates and being 6.7 times more cost-effective per engagement than influencers with larger followings (Influencer Marketing Hub). Their niche expertise allows brands to target campaigns effectively, as micro-influencers are seen as experts within their specific niche, providing higher relevance and resonance.

“As someone deeply involved in the influencer marketing industry, I strongly advocate for the power of micro-influencers and the unique marketing and branding strategies they offer. While mega influencers and celebrities may possess massive reach, it is the micro-influencers who truly excel in driving meaningful connections and influencing consumer behaviour. Micro-influencers, with their smaller but highly engaged niche audiences, bring authenticity and relatability to campaigns, resulting in genuine connections with their followers. Their ability to create targeted reach allows for precise targeting and higher relevance, ensuring that the brand message resonates with the right audience segments. Moreover, collaborating with micro-influencers is often more cost-effective, making it accessible for brands with limited budgets to achieve impactful results. Long-term collaborations with micro-influencers foster loyalty, brand advocacy, and sustained engagement, facilitating continuous changes in consumer behaviour.

I wholeheartedly endorse the strategies centred around micro-influencers as a highly effective and valuable approach in the world of influencer marketing,” she goes on.

Gupta of Viral Pitch brings out, “Micro-influencers are increasingly gaining the attention of brands due to their capability of building genuine relationships with a focused and engaged niche audience. When compared to macro-influencers or celebrities, micro-influencers have a modest following but provide more credibility and relatability. The advantage of partnering with micro-influencers lies in their proficiency in crafting content that resonates with specific niches, enabling brands to connect with a more suitable and responsive group of people. In addition, working with micro-influencers often proves to be more economical, allowing for greater engagement and lasting collaborations, which can ultimately lead to better conversion rates and deeper brand loyalty.”

Cost per action (CPA) working for micro-influencers

CPA is a performance-based approach that ensures brands only pay for specific actions or outcomes achieved through influencer campaigns.

In the CPA model, brands define the specific actions they want to measure, such as clicks, conversions, or purchases. “At DRIM all of this can be done seamlessly on our dashboard.

Our flagship analytical system will find the top-performing influencers across eight social networks within a database of 250k+ micro-influencers. Our 500+ managers will assist them in ensuring brand safety, delivering results and scaling your campaigns.

With our 250k+ micro-influencers, you can choose from a variety of payment models. Brands can even control the ROI of your campaigns,” mentions Aslamova.

She says further, “With micro-influencers, the CPA model becomes even more compelling due to their higher engagement rates and targeted audience. Statistics show that micro-influencers have an average engagement rate of around 3.86 per cent, significantly surpassing macro-influencers (Markerly study). This heightened engagement translates into a more receptive audience that is actively involved and ready to take desired actions.”

Iyer opines that one of the reasons the cost-per-action (CPA) model works well for micro-influencers is their high engagement rates. “Micro-influencers can also leverage affiliate marketing to monetize their influence. Through affiliate links or codes, they earn commissions for driving sales. This incentivizes them to create engaging content and encourage followers to take action. By combining the CPA model with affiliate marketing, micro-influencers can generate revenue and establish long-term partnerships with brands. This dual approach maximizes their earning potential while delivering measurable results for advertisers.”

“In the case of micro-influencers, the cost per action (CPA) model involves compensating them based on specific outcomes or actions, such as clicks, conversions, or sales, rather than a predetermined flat fee. Instead of paying a fixed amount upfront, brands engage with micro-influencers using a performance-based approach, where compensation is tied to the desired results. This method ensures that brands only pay for verifiable actions that directly contribute to their marketing objectives. CPA for micro-influencers emphasizes accountability and fosters partnerships focused on ROI, enabling brands to optimize their budgets and allocate resources more effectively based on real performance data,” Gupta concludes.