At a time when marketers are increasingly focusing on the value of targeting so-called “influencers,” new research suggests they should be aiming lower down the food chain of celebrity endorsers, or even the kind of YouTube and social media micro celebrities that have been cutting lots of sweet deals. The study, which was conducted for word-of-mouth marketing experts Keller Fay Group by Wharton School marketing professor Jonah Berger using Expertcity’s unpaid influencer network, found that the class described as “micro influencers” is the sweet spot that brands should be targeting to spread their word.
The study, which was funded by Expertcity, found such micro influencers have 22.2 times more conversations per week than the average consumer recommending a brand to other people.
The increased reach and frequency of micro-influencer conversations, not surprisingly, translated into greater impact. According to the respondents, micro influencers were perceived as more influential because they come across as more “credible and believable,” “more knowledgeable” and “better at explaining how the product work or could be used” than average consumers.
The study is based on an online survey of 6,000 users drawn from Expertcity’s panel and the general population, but the companies did not provide an explicit breakdown of the composition of the respondents.
The net finding was that 82% of respondents were “highly likely to follow a recommendation” made by a micro influencer. The study did not report how that compares to celebrities, micro celebrities or average consumers.
The companies also could not provide an explicit definition of what constitutes a micro influencer, but said they are a person who has a greater than average reach or impact through word-of-mouth in a relevant marketplace:“Micro-influencers are not traditional celebrities, but rather individuals who work in their category or are truly knowledgeable, passionate and authentic and are seen as a trusted source when it comes to recommendations for what to buy.”