Size Does Matter: Macro-Influencers Come Out on Top on TikTok

Sep 09, 2023
Size Does Matter: Macro-Influencers Come Out on Top on TikTok

A survey compiled by the creator marketing platform CreatorIQ and Tribe Dynamics, a company it acquired in 2021, reveals that TikTok is the new top platform for brands in influencer marketing.

Encompassing sponsored content across various platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and others, the survey identified that TikTok's branded content consistently achieves higher engagement rates compared to its competitors.

Instagram continues to hold the top position as the most popular social media platform in the influencer marketing space. In fact, 69% of marketers planned to spend most of their money on influencer marketing on Instagram in 2022, and as of 2021, the industry of influencer marketing on Instagram is worth over a billion US dollars.

However, TikTok is fast approaching the top spot, with 45% of advertisers now using TikTok for influencer marketing campaigns. With TikTok offering many different micro-influencers on the platform that brands can partner with, brands are attracted to the potential of reaching audiences who are ready to consume content.

Calculating engagement

The research employed a blend of metrics to assess sponsored posts, with specific benchmarks tailored to each platform.

CreatorIQ tallied the likes, comments, shares, and saves for each post on TikTok, dividing this sum by the total number of views to determine the engagement rate. However, in some cases, like Instagram's Stories and Reels, the calculation included "estimated impressions."

Further findings found that among Instagram mega-influencers, those with at least one million followers on the platform, the average engagement rate was 0.23%, whereas YouTube's mega-influencers elevated this figure to 1.6%. Lastly, on TikTok, mega-influencers achieved an engagement rate over three times higher than on YouTube, reaching an impressive 5.2%.

“This short-form video trend obviously started on TikTok, but we’re now seeing this migrate over to Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts as well.”

Brit Starr, SVP of Strategy at CreatorIQ, told Tubefilter of TikTok's captivating sponsored posts which have allowed it to capture a growing share of the influencer marketing landscape. “For brand and creator partnerships, we’re seeing an influx of short-form video being used, which typically has higher engagement rates and a higher viral coefficient,” explains Starr.

It’s not all bad for YouTube and Instagram

Although TikTok’s engagement rates are taking the lead, the study found that its competitors have their own unique strengths in the realm of branded content.

Instagram's extensive reach among younger demographics bolsters its influencer marketing segment, while YouTube boasts robust monetisation options and a substantial creator base. CreatorIQ also revealed that YouTube's nano-influencers, those with under 10,000 followers, and micro-influencers, those with 10,000-100,000 followers, achieved higher engagement rates compared to equivalent TikTok accounts.

The use of micro-influencer-focused strategies has gained popularity in influencer marketing. While they don’t have as big an audience pool as the wider known influencers, they have incredibly niche, more engaged communities. The majority (77%) of marketers say micro influencers top their list of ideal influencers, shortly followed by macro-influencers (64%).

However, TikTok appears to defy this trend. According to CreatorIQ's data, TikTok's mega-influencers consistently outperform its microinfluencers. For all other platforms examined in the report, engagement tends to decline as the follower count increases.

As social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube continue to compete with TikTok’s unique offering with their own answers to short-form content, such as ‘Reels’ or ‘Shorts’, these engagement rates might change over time as consumers find a new favourite platform.

Andrew Bressers, Account Executive at Webfitters, explains how, as social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube continue to compete with TikTok’s unique offering, they must continue to offer their own answers to short-form content.

“As the influencer marketing landscape evolves, it's crucial for brands to understand where their audience is most engaged and tailor their strategies accordingly.”

“Short-form video content, which started its trend on TikTok, is now migrating to Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, driving higher engagement and virality,” he continues, “While TikTok's mega-influencers outpace their micro-influencers in engagement, the opposite is true for other platforms.” As long as influencers are given the creative freedom they desire, their audiences will be sure to follow.