Social Commerce and Influencer Marketing – Nano- Versus Macro- & Mega-Accounts on Instagram and TikTok

Article by Nitika Lobo | August 22, 2023

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social commerce vs influencer marketing

Businesses are increasingly using influencers to reach their target audience. They are active on a multitude of platforms and offer brands numerous possibilities to connect with their customers in an authentic and bond-building way.

Instagram and TikTok are two influencer marketing giants, each with their own appeal and audience. While Instagram has long dominated the influencer marketing scene, TikTok has quickly risen to prominence, captivating a younger and dynamic audience. Despite all differences, the two platforms have a lot in common concerning their influencer account landscape.

Social Commerce: Trend Becomes Business

But first things first. Social commerce has seen a rapid expansion due to the integration of shopping features into popular social media platforms. This has created a seamless shopping experience where consumers can discover and purchase products without leaving the app, thus driving further growth in eCommerce.

The social commerce market – standing at US$724 billion in 2022 – is expected to grow beyond US$6 trillion by 2030.

The adoption rates of social commerce differ worldwide, and so do the preferred platforms. In Germany, Facebook and Instagram have emerged as dominant players. However, what about the rest of the world? The previously mentioned report sheds light on a diverse landscape of regional preferences for different social commerce platforms.

Social Media Platforms Online Shoppers Are Most Likely To Purchase From by Region, 2023

The chart indicates a preference for Facebook in Latin America and South Africa, where 39% and 38% of online shoppers, respectively, say they buy products online at least once a month. Latin America also has the highest share on Instagram (29%), but the Middle East follows closely with 26%.

YouTube appears to be less popular for online shopping overall. Here the Middle East has the highest share at 11%. This is followed by North America and Asia-Pacific, where an equal share of 10% of respondents say they use affiliate links on the platform that take them to a shopping site.

TikTok neither boasts significantly high percentages of online shoppers, except in Asia-Pacific with a share of 17%. Finally, WhatsApp is popular with 14% of online shoppers in Latin America and South Africa, as well as 12% in the Middle East.

It can be seen that social commerce in North America and Europe does not seem to have taken off substantially, with the exception of Facebook, where both regions are approaching the 30% mark.

Nevertheless, entrepreneurs should consider the benefits of using influencers to promote their businesses.

Instagram: The Influencer Pioneer

Instagram has cemented its position as the most frequently used influencer marketing platform, with 79% of marketing stakeholders choosing it for their campaigns, according to HypeAuditor’s State of Influencer Marketing 2023 report.

As one of the older social media platforms, Instagram attracts a relatively mature audience, with 48% of users between the age of 25 and 34. Its visually-driven format and extensive user base make it an ideal choice for influencer collaborations.

Share of Instagram Accounts by Profile Size and Associated Engagement Rate, 2023

Instagram Influencers: Small Accounts – Great Engagement

When looking at the account landscape of Instagram, a logical fact becomes obvious at first sight: The majority of influencer accounts are small accounts, so-called nano-influencers with follower numbers between 1,000 and 10,000.

This type of influencer account makes up more than 65% of all influencer accounts on Instagram. At the same time, people like to interact with those accounts. They have the highest follower engagement rate.

Macro-Influencers and Celebrities: Great Reach but Less Engagement

As a natural development, the higher the follower numbers get, the lesser the accounts of this type. So-called macro-influencers with 500,000 to 1,000,000 followers and mega-influencers with more than one million followers account for less than 0.3% of total accounts each.

The probably more surprising fact is that follower engagement rates become lower with a rising account size. People engage most frequently with smaller accounts: Nano-influencers have the highest engagement rate of 2.53%, while less than 1% of followers interact with macro or mega-influencers.

While the numbers may seem low, a nano influencer with 10,000 followers who interacts with 2.5 people on average is still getting around 250 engagements. For a mega influencer with 1,000,000 followers, 1% is still 10,000 engagements.

TikTok: The Youthful Rising Star

TikTok has taken the social media world by storm, captivating the hearts of the younger generation. With two-thirds of its users under the age of 24 (State of Influencer Marketing 2023 report, HypeAuditor), TikTok's appeal lies in its short, creative videos and viral challenges. The young and dynamic audience has become a goldmine for brands looking to tap into the Gen Z market.

Share of TikTok Accounts by Profile Size and Associated Engagement Rate, 2022

Two-Thirds of TikTok Influencers Have Fewer Than 10,000 Followers

When looking at the TikTok influencer base, the same phenomenon as for the Instagram account landscape can be observed – at least when looking at the general picture. Nano-influencers make up the greatest share of accounts – about two-thirds – and also have the highest engagement rates. Moreover, the higher the follower number of influencers on TikTok, the lower the engagement rate.

Small Accounts – Great Marketing Value

Lesser-known influencers can thus be a great asset for marketers in the commerce space. Of course, low engagement does not necessarily mean that people do not see and register the content subconsciously, but brands that seek a strong connection with their audience are well advised to partner with nano- and micro-influencers, who interact with their followers more frequently. This can also have a monetary advantage for marketers, as partnering with small influencers is usually cheaper than contracting accounts with a big reach.

Social Commerce and Influencer Marketing: Key Insights

In short, businesses that are looking to use influencer marketing should consider partnering with nano-influencers. They offer a great way to build relationships with a target audience and get their message seen and heard.

Nano-influencers are the most common type of influencer on both Instagram and TikTok. They have fewer followers than macro- or mega-influencers, but they tend to have higher engagement rates. This means that their followers are more likely to interact with their content, which can be beneficial for brands looking to build relationships with their target audience.

The engagement rate decreases as the number of followers increases. This is because it becomes more difficult for influencers with a large following to interact with all of their followers on a personal level. As a result, their content is less likely to be seen and engaged with by their followers.

Partnering with nano-influencers can be a cost-effective way for brands to reach their target audience. Nano-influencers are typically more affordable than macro- or mega-influencers, and they can still deliver results in terms of engagement and brand awareness.