Influencer Tiers & Levels in the Influencer Marketing Industry in 2022

Last Updated: May 24, 2022
In this article, we are going to look at YouTube Instagram influencer tiers and levels, so that you can get a really good idea of where your Instagram profile falls, and where you need to be to work with a specific company.
Influencer Tiers
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The world of influencer marketing is growing pretty quickly, and the latest predictions believe that it is worth over $10 billion at this point.

Now that influencer marketing has reached the mainstream, there are a lot of companies out there that are looking to reach out to and connect with high-value influencers so that they can improve their campaign’s performance.

With this scramble for fresh talent, new influencer tiers are being highlighted.

The industry vocabulary is also expanding to include new buzzwords, but sometimes, this can be confusing, especially if you are pretty new to the world of influencer marketing, and you are struggling to understand all the terms.

The reality is that standard influencer tiers have yet to be established universally across the marketing industry or clearly categorized by things like engagement and follower count.

In this article, we are going to look at YouTube Instagram influencer tiers and examples, so that you can get a really good idea of where your Instagram profile falls, and where you need to be to work with a specific company.

Influencer Tiers & Levels

Instagram is the primary social channel for people who use ranking terminology like micro influencer.

This is the most typical way that marketers group Instagram influencers, and it is all based on how many followers they have.

Nano Influencers

Nano influencers have small followings, and these are usually between 1000 and 10,000 followers on Instagram. They are the latest tier to enter the influencer market.

This is because back in the day, brands tended to go for Instagram profiles that had a lot of followers, but these days, they are opting for much smaller profiles that have a lot less followers, but higher engagement.

The fact that they aren’t as famous as other Instagram influencers out there actually means that brands can connect more intimately with new demographics.

When they are recommending a product or a service to their audience, their audience is actually listening, and much more likely to make that purchase, because they trust their recommendation.

The other thing about influencer marketing is that it is becoming pretty saturated, which means that it can be difficult to convince bigger influencers to come on board, especially if you are a small or middle-sized brand.

Nano influencers are also more open to posting a video or an image in exchange for free product, as opposed to real money, which means that you can create an influencer marketing campaign on a budget.

Micro Influencers

Micro influencers on Instagram have approximately between 10,000 and 50,000 followers.

They are the most talked about influencer tier right now and the excitement around these guys is partly based on the fact that they are able to cultivate niche communities around really specific interests.

Compared to larger influencers that attract a broader scope of followers, micro influencers tap into clearly defined micro communities.

This makes it really easy for marketers to customize their marketing campaigns for the right people so that they have a higher clickthrough rate.

Micro influencers also tend to have higher engagement rates than larger influencers and in general, they are effective at raising awareness around a new product across a number of different communities.

If you are planning on collaborating with a micro influencer, this is going to cost you anywhere between $50 and several hundred dollars, depending on their engagement levels, their size, industry, and how well they have done in the past when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns.

Remember, they have limited audience reach, which means that they are going to need more time and effort to manage at scale.

They can also be risky when it comes to fake followers, which is why you need to really scrutinize their profile before you collaborate with them.

Mid-Tier Influencers

This is the middle of the road here, where the influencer is going to have between 50,000 and 500,000 followers.

Smaller influencers are able to manage their Instagram as a side gig but middle-of-the-road influencers are probably going to spend their days managing their Instagram profile, which means that it is their full-time gig.

The advantage of working with a mid-tier influencer is that they have a strong reach when it comes to their audience compared to micro and nano influencers, but they are still a lot more accessible than big influencers.

They are going to be easy to connect with, and they also going to be more affordable.

They can charge anywhere between hundreds to thousands of dollars per upload, depending on their industry category and their reach.

There are studies out there that suggest that mid-tier creators are seen as more trustworthy and engaging than large scale influencers or micro influencers.

Macro Influencers

Macro influencers are those that have anywhere between 500,000 and one million followers.

In almost all of these cases their social media presence is going to be their entire source of income, and they generally can charge thousands of dollars per upload.

When it comes to some studies out there, influencers in this tier get the best deal when it comes to influencer marketing CPM.

In other words, these guys are the sweet spot between reach and cost and may have the most effective ROI compared with other influencer tiers out there.

Macro influencers are a great way to achieve broad reach and scale without you having to spend your complete budget on just one sponsorship.

Mega Influencers

Mega influencers have managed to achieve fame and celebrity on Instagram, and they will have at least a million followers.

Their massive follower count and broad appeal means that they are able to drive trends, shape popular culture, and even create sell out demand for a specific product or service.

As you have probably been able to guess already, mega influencers are generally used by brands that have big budgets.

They are often communicated with through a talent manager, and it is going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post.

These types of influencers tend to be athletes, actors, and singers.

It is essential for companies to treat campaigns like this with the audience in mind, because relying on a traditional celebrity sponsorship through social media can be seen as inauthentic.

According to some studies, customers are ten times more likely to buy a product that has been recommended by somebody on Instagram who isn’t a celebrity.

The advantage of creating a sponsored post with a bigger influencer is that they have the biggest impact, as well as the highest brand exposure.

They also avoid the risk of audience duplication, which can occur when you work with a lot of smaller influencers that fall within a single niche.

They also have the power to start a conversation with a much broader audience.

Engagement Rates vs. Follower Count on Instagram

Instagram influencer tiers

Marketers tend to see the engagement rate as a mark of audience reach and campaign impact. However, defining low engagement on Instagram can be difficult.

This is because an average engagement rate is going to vary depending on the size of the influencer, interests, category, and their content format.

A commonly held belief is that influencers with a smaller following like micro influencers have a higher engagement rate.

However, this isn’t necessarily true. Some studies have shown that when comparing micro influencer posts with macro influencer posts, there was only a 0.1% difference.

What this means is that while smaller influencers might have higher engagement, the difference can be minimal.

What you’ve got to decide is whether that higher engagement is going to lead to higher campaign impact.

Another analysis found that higher engagement rates and smaller follower sizes don’t necessarily equal higher reach.

This means that more comments and likes doesn’t always lead to more exposure when it comes to expanding your content’s reached.

YouTube Influencer Tiers

When it comes to YouTube, it is a lot less common for YouTube creators to be categorized by a tier when it comes to influencer marketing.

This is because it is difficult to rank YouTubers by tiers, because their subscriber count isn’t as relevant to sponsorship as it is on Instagram.

On YouTube, you’ve got nano creator, micro creator, mid-tier creator, macro creator, and elite creator.

All of these are based on average views, with nano creator being between 1000 and 10,000 average views, and elite creator being between one million and five million average views.

Of course, a company is going to look more at a YouTube channel’s view count, as opposed to its subscriber list.

There are also different YouTube creator levels to think about, with graphite being between one and 1000 subscribers, Opal between one and 10,000 subscribers, bronze between 10,000 and 100,000 subscribers, silver between 100,000 and a million subscribers, and gold between 1,000,000 plus.

Again, while these levels are meaningful for those creators, subscriber count isn’t as relevant for brands and marketers.

This is because YouTube has been around for long enough at this point that a lot of its influencers have come and gone.

Creators that were really popular 10 years ago might have a lot of subscribers on their channel, but their videos aren’t getting the same number of views anymore.

This is why video view count is so much more important for a brand when thinking about influencer marketing than subscriber count.

When thinking about YouTube as potential for your next marketing campaign, the simple way to calculate average video views is to look at the creator’s 12 most recent videos, cut out the most viewed and least viewed videos from that list, and then calculate the average view count for the 10 videos that remain.

Final Thoughts

As you can see from this list of social media influencer tiers, the influencer marketing industry isn’t as straightforward as you might have expected it to be.

There are many different facets and aspects to influencer marketing, and where your brand currently sits in the industry completely depends on your current budget, as well as your niche, and product.

If you are an up-and-coming brand that doesn’t have a huge budget, then you might want to align with a micro influencer who is more than happy to take free products in exchange for a post.

Or, perhaps you are a well-established brand that is wanting to connect with a big influencer so that you can expand your product’s reach even more, or take the opportunity to release a new line.

It’s also worth observing that Instagram and YouTube are different when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns because on YouTube, you’ve got to take views into account more than subscribers.

Good luck with your next influencer marketing campaign!

Sources

AdweekeMarketerVox
AdweekThe Business JournalsAdweek
MediakixDigidayTechCrunch

Written by Jason Wise

Hi! I’m Jason. I tend to gravitate towards business and technology topics, with a deep interest in social media, privacy and crypto. I enjoy testing and reviewing products, so you’ll see a lot of that by me here on EarthWeb.