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Micro-Influencer Marketing: How to Make It Work

The Internet is swelling with articles about micro-influencer marketing. Brands are partnering with them to leverage geo-targeting techniques and reach gaming communities. But working with micro-influencers has different nuances depending on the social media channel you want to use.

This article will explain how to make micro-influencer marketing work for your Instagram, YouTube and Twitch campaigns. It is based on the presentation by Dasha Arzhanik, Head of Performance at HypeFactory, which was featured at the game industry conference held by DevGAMM in May 2021.
Instagram is not a one-size-fits-all solution
A viral Instagram micro-influencer campaign starts with a clear understanding of your marketing goal and should not be limited to collaborations with micro-influencers only.
1. Set a clear direction
Although Instagram is the most important social media channel for influencer marketing, it is not a perfect platform for every campaign, product or service. For example, no matter how many high-quality followers an Instagram influencer has, this channel is not the best option for games promotion.

Although a click-through rate (CTR) on Instagram can be high (up to 2%), the conversion rate is still lower than on YouTube, so the cost per install is more expensive. Besides, the stories length does not allow you to fully demonstrate the main features of the game.

But if you still decide to launch a campaign on Instagram, you might want to use different content formats depending on which key performance indicator (KPI) is more important for you. For example, stories can be a great tool for achieving a low cost per impression (CPI) for some products of other verticals. Paid social is also a tried-out method for keeping your cost per view (CPV), cost per click (CPC) and CPI low and making the whole campaign more effective.
    2. Narrow the search
    Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. Since over 65% of Instagram accounts fall into this wide range, it can be confusing to choose the right influencer for your campaign. Usually, influencers who have at least 50,000 followers (ideally, somewhere between 70,000 and 170,000) deliver better results than those who have smaller accounts.
      3. Do not limit yourself
      To meet KPIs, you need to support a micro-influencer marketing campaign with medium-size influencers (up to 500,000 followers). Brand awareness always has a positive effect on performance: higher reach drives higher results due to the organic uplift. So, it is a great idea to start slowly scaling your campaign when ready.
        YouTube requires a different approach
        YouTube has its own specifics compared to Instagram. If you are thinking about running a campaign there, there are several points to keep in mind.
        1. Views are more important than the number of subscribers
        YouTube influencer's size is defined not by the size of their subscriber base but by the average views per video. Channels with less than 10,000 average views per video do not have strong performance results. They cannot reach a lot of users and their cost per mille (CPM) rate is rather high. Since the average CTR on YouTube varies from 0.5% to 5% and the conversion rate does not exceed 30%, the performance of these channels leaves much to be desired.

        Therefore, for your marketing campaign, it is better to consider channels with an average view count starting from 10,000. From our experience, the best performance channels are the ones with views between 50,000 and 200,000. This is why we highly recommend not to neglect medium-size channels.
          2. Pricing should be reasonable
          How much should an advertiser pay for brand integration? When deciding on CPM, check the influencer's geographical data (including their audience demographics). For example, a CPM of $25 is a fair rate for an influencer based in Germany, but too low for someone in Japan. The same applies to categories. For example, an ad on DIY channels is more expensive than an ad on the entertainment ones, and vice versa.
            3. Working with micro-influencers has a not-so-obvious benefit
            HypeFactory once launched a massive campaign with 100 micro-influencers for one client. Their goal was not a low CPI but a positive return on investment (ROI). The admin costs of working with hundred influencers simultaneously can be rather high, but this campaign revealed some interesting insights:

            1. Five influencers reached a great return on ad spend (ROAS) ― and improved the results of the entire campaign. It would have taken us much more time to find them if it was not for this campaign.
            2. This campaign also allowed us to test many different categories and identify the best ones for the client's needs. For future campaigns with this client, we focused on working with larger influencers in each of these high performing categories.
              4. Automation can reduce costs
              To make it easier to manage a campaign with hundreds of influencers, the HypeFactory team built a self-service platform (SSP). After agreeing on the compensation rate, an influencer registered on the platform where they would find a detailed brief and follow specific guidelines with the help of a chatbot.

              As soon as the influencer published a promo video, a HypeFactory manager received a notification, checked the quality of the video integration and approved the payment if all the requirements were met. This process allowed HypeFactory to save human resources and effectively work with hundreds of influencers at the same time.
                Twitch is a micro-influencer platform
                Contrary to YouTube, Twitch is not about having a high view count or reach. For a Twitch streamer, it is perfectly ok to have 200 online views. Some services can provide statistics on the streamer's average online views for the last 7-30 days (for example, HypeAuditor or SullyGnome). Based on this number, we can make a fair offer to the influencer.

                Despite its low reach numbers, Twitch is an effective performance marketing platform. The conversation rate on Twitch can be somewhere between 50% and 70%. To leverage Twitch functionality, HypeFactory uses an animated widget technology that allows us to improve the engagement rate.

                The widget is an animated counter. It shows a KPI goal versus the actual result. KPIs can include the number of installs, completed tutorials, donations or progress levels. The numbers on the counter change in real time during the live stream. When a number on the counter changes (for example, a new user joins the game or someone completes the tutorial), the change is followed by some visual or sound effects. Visualization is a powerful motivation tool that encourages the audience and the streamer to achieve goals.
                  Conclusion: Is micro-influencer marketing a myth?
                  Working with micro-influencers will be a disappointing experience unless you

                  1. Keep in mind the recommended size of the micro-influencer's account (the number of followers or the average views per video).
                  2. Use the right channel, format and mechanics depending on your marketing goal and product.
                  3. Test different channel categories with multiple micro-influencers to find the best categories for your campaign and partner with medium-size influencers from these best performing categories.
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