As the first quarter of the year wraps up, we thought it would be nice to take a step back to reflect on some changes and insights we’ve been noticing in the industry and our daily work.

1. Macro influencers have game for engagement too

It seems that recently all people are talking about in influencer marketing is the micro influencer. Many thought leaders have and continue to suggest that they’re the next best thing in marketing. They claim that this smaller, savvy group of content creators can up your ROI, promise you impressive brand awareness and engage with your target audience in a way no other influencer can.

In some cases, this can be true, however macro influencers aren’t doing too bad either. This may come as a shock, but contrary to popular belief, they do have the potential to gain higher engagement rates and brand equity.

We have worked with a particular client for years now, a brand that continuously uses influencers with large followings for product launches and brand awareness. When delivering a layered campaign of both micro and macro influencers, repeatedly it was the macro influencers that were outperforming in terms of engagement rates and impressions.

This is because the brand has invested in macro influencers, appointing them as brand ambassadors as well as IMA taking the time to expertly choose the perfect influencer match. In our experience, investing in macro influencer relationships can result in solid engagement and a wide reach, ultimately, gaining the best of both worlds.

Furthermore, macro influencers know the ins and outs of the industry and how to develop brand relationships, holding the knowledge that sometimes micros can lack.

We’ve come to the conclusion that no matter whether your follower numbers are in the millions or thousands, results, (in particular engagement rates) will depend on the individuality of the influencer. It all boils down to the person and personality behind the account.

2. Integration of influencers into mainstream marketing

We’re seeing a rising number of brands integrating influencers and their content into their mainstream communication schemes, with clients wanting to buy out the content produced during a campaign. Content creators are breaking through from promoting to only their followings and into a much wider audience of the brand.

These buyouts have resulted in content being used for billboard ads, visual merchandising and POS material. Influencers are also being used for modelling campaigns and being hired as creative directors and brand advisors.

This is such great progress for the influencer world and shows that they’ve become trusted enough to not just represent a certain product or service, but to become a face of the brand entirely.

3. Layered campaigns and results data

As influencer marketing settles comfortably into the marketing mix, naturally brands want the perfect influencer. One that fits unquestionably into their communication plans and aligns with their values.

Recently, more brands have been approaching us without a clear focus in mind and either want a campaign solely with macro or micro influencers.

Before embarking on your influencer marketing journey, you need to think about what you want from it. Are you looking for brand awareness, increased conversion rates or to build your Instagram following?

When a decisive, focused strategy is decided on, from there we will always recommend a layered approach in the choice of influencers. We believe that a successful influencer marketing campaign is a blend of macro and micro influencers in order to cover all bases and have a wider reach - a happy balance.

Regularly brands can be too focused on the data and must remember that influencer marketing results are an infusion of soft and hard metrics. The data in terms of impressions and engagement rates needs to be evaluated along with the sentiment of the campaign - how did the audience feel about the brand-influencer match and the post itself?

That’s the beauty of influencer marketing - it was built around the human to human connection that influencers have with their audiences. If expectations are centered too much around data, you will lose the power of the influencer.