The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing Creator Tiers

Apr 25, 2019 - 2 min. read

The number of creators used in influencer marketing doubles every year.

The channel’s growth is propelled by the fact that brand advocacy delivers an 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of marketing like TV and desktop ads.

Of course, reach isn’t the only benefit partnering with digital creators for your marketing campaign — relevant talent brings a level of authenticity, trust, and creativity that your brand might not be able to achieve on its own.

How can marketers know which types of creators will work best?

The 5 Tiers of creators are:

  1. Icons (AKA celebrities): Tier-one talent who boast tens of millions of followers.
    Examples: David Beckham, Lele Pons, or Rihanna
  2. Trailblazers (AKA macro-influencers): Pioneers within their particular niche, between 1-3 million followers.
    Examples: Claudia Sulewski, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Joji
  3. Influencers (AKA Creators): Growing social creators on platforms like YouTube and Instagram with roughly 10k-1 million followers.
    Examples: Sivan Ayla, Karl ‘Shakur’ N., Frank Prisinzano
  4. Micro-Influencers: Lesser-known creators who shepherd genre-specific fanbases. Between 1,000-10k followers.
    Examples: Linda Krein, Kathleen O’Heron
  5. Nano-Influencers: Regular people who happen to have influence among their peers. Anyone with less than 1,000 followers and a decent engagement rate.
    Examples: You and me!

Which Size Is Best?

Each of these levels carries with it its own unique campaign benefits. Trailblazers, for example, might excel in a national awareness campaigns while micro-influencers might be better at starting dialogues with niche communities.

If you are an enterprise with the budget, a campaign with an Icon or a Trailblazer will not only make a splash on that celebrity’s timeline, but will also almost assuredly get picked up by publications

Micro-influencer utilization has been on the rise over the last few  years. According to CreatorIQ platform data, the average follower count of Instagram creators used in influencer marketing campaigns has dropped from roughly 1 million in 2016 to 500k today.

Additionally, the ratio of macro-influencers to smaller creators (<100k) used in Instagram campaigns in 2016 was 1:3. In 2018, there are 9 micro-influencers used for every macro-influencer.

Working with smaller creators is also reportedly almost 7 times more effective than other tiers, and the average cost to work with micro-influencers is usually cheaper.

Things to Remember

Outside of audience size and performance metrics, don’t forget these key aspects when considering creators for campaigns:

Brand safety: It’s important to make sure your brand is attached to creators who align with your image, messaging, or goals

Follower fraud: Fake social media accounts and artificial followings are bad practices that can waste large percentages of a brand’s budgets. Audit your creators for audience integrity before you accept them into a campaign

Platform presence: Figure out what social platforms generate the most response from your influencer marketing. In general, 93% of influencer campaigns use Instagram — more than double Facebook, the next most-utilized platform