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Just how influential are influencers on your performance?

The first use of influencer marketing is rumoured to have been the Pope or Queen promoting medicine to the masses, though presumably, the Queen is a less frequent user of Nurofen since Prince Phillip has stopped driving. Celebrity endorsement has been recorded as early as 1890 with some questionable print ads featuring popular minstrel character ‘Aunt Jemima’.

The concept of influencing has not changed, but the method of communication has, and the quantifiable numbers behind social influencers have moved it away from simply being celebrity endorsement to becoming a media channel, with comparable reach numbers to offline channels. But what is it that these numbers mean, and do you need to pay the high amounts the mega influencers demand to get out of bed in order to make it a success?

A recent report from Accuracast looked into the engagement metrics of different social media and how this differs between small and large influencers. They studied 59 million randomised influencer engagement points (comments and likes).


  • Twitter saw the least difference between people with small follower numbers vs those with 100k with both likes and replies staying the same.
  • Instagram showed that people with more followers got a higher number of likes per 1,000 followers. However, smaller influencers had significantly higher comments, indicating that smaller influencers actually had better engagement.
  • LinkedIn also showed that the bigger the influencer the poorer the engagement. Someone with 3,000 followers received three times as many comments per follower than someone with 15,000 followers.
  • YouTube was the only channel where the bigger the star the better the engagement. However, this was only on likes – comments remained flat regardless of follower size.

Using smaller influencers is more responsive than using one big one and it is going to much more efficient to buy 10 micro influencers with 10k followers than one with 100k followers…anyone that measures TV campaigns might think that it’s starting to sound a little familiar.

Below is a comparison of response rate (RR) and cost per view based on reach groups of 10k or less and 100k or more.

Source: Accuracast and ARMalytics Data

Both Twitter and YouTube see little difference, however when we look at TV, Instagram and LinkedIn the smaller groups are much more responsive and when we look at a cost per response, they are far more efficient.

Source: Accuracast and ARMalytics Data

If an advertiser had a budget of £50k and split it 60/40 on TV and Instagram they could achieve 22,404 responses by selecting a higher number of smaller influencers or stations vs 3,394 by spending on one large influencer and one station, which equates to a 560% cheaper cost per response.

All Response Media viewpoint
We have always advocated for the smaller stations for performance-led campaigns – they reach fewer people in one go but they also reach people who are less engaged with the TV programme and therefore more likely to respond, not to mention being under-represented by measurement systems and so much cheaper. Social Influencers work in the opposite way, people are actually more engaged with smaller stars and so are more likely to respond. It seems logical that Katy Perry is unlikely to see your comment in her 109m followers versus someone with 3,000 followers and so people are more likely to start a conversation with smaller influencers.

The theory for both, however, is the same: buying smaller, more responsive channels is going to get you more value and more efficient performance and by actually bringing micro influencers into part of your advertising budget could be an effective way of extending reach across microchannels.