LOS ANGELES: Influence is now a serious business, but while murkiness continues to surround the strategy, new research is opening up the door on effectiveness.

A study by social media analytics company Shareablee and content company Fullscreen, Influence by the Numbers, analysed a selection of 31,000 influencers of all sizes, from Celebrity (+20m followers) through Digital Creators (1m – 19m) to Micro-influencers (250K-999K), in addition to a survey of 1,200 18-34 consumers. The sweet spot for most brands, the researchers found, is somewhere in the middle.

Admittedly, the margins are low. The study found that Digital Creators, with an engagement rate of around 0.6%, outperformed both Celebrities (0.4%) and Microinfluencers (0.35%).

Unsurprisingly, the research also found that over a third (38%) of respondents engaging with influencers said they trusted what an influencer said about the brand more than the brand itself. Drilling down into the influencer types, Digital Creators were the most trusted (45%) and celebrities the least trusted (29%).  

However, those who engaged with Microinfluencers were most likely to try a recommended product (45%), though Digital Creators were the most likely to drive purchase (between 28 and 30%).

As Felix Morgan, senior strategist at Livity, wrote in a WARC Best Practice paper , the key advantage of the smaller influencer is accessibility. “While measuring reach or authority in a subject is quite simple, there is no objective social metric that allows marketers to fully understand how relatable an influencer is because it is entirely relative to the audience.”

Maureen Polo, SVP at Fullscreen explained, “We noticed studies that came out about Microinfluencers were limited in a variety of ways, and we owed it to brands to take a closer look at this trend that exploded early last year”.

It was also an opportunity to “formally verify the impact to brands of working with different types of Influencers, so faster decisions can be made with confidence”, said Tania Yuki, CEO at Shareablee.

Sourced from Shareablee/Fullscreen; additional content by WARC staff