While some brands are busy employing big-name influencers to promote products on social media, well-known D2C brands like Glossier place their bets on nano creators.
Glossier became an internationally sold skincare and beauty brand in just five years by enlisting small-scale influencers. The cosmetic brand actively partners with nano influencers to leverage authentic content and connect with its target audience at half the price mega influencers demand.
According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, Instagram nano influencers with 1k-10k followers can charge anywhere between $10 to $100 per post depending on content format, number of followers, and collaboration duration, which is nearly 200% less than the $10,000+ charged by macro and mega creators.
In addition to being less expensive, nano creators clock the highest engagement rates and conversions compared to other influencer categories, making them an ROI-positive solution for D2C brands. After analyzing 4.5 million global influencer profiles, the affable.ai data shows that nano influencers generate a high 14.63% engagement rate on YouTube, followed by 96.89% average views on TikTok and 5.05% on Instagram.
According to marketing experts, with the looming recession and rising influencer rates, nano influencers can dominate the creator economy in 2023 by helping D2C brands stay relevant in the market. Plus, as Gen Zers and millennials increasingly demand honest content, nano influencers can effectively generate authentic pieces.
D2C brands are largely affected by the rise in influencer costs as they depend on creator marketing to build a solid social presence and drive customers to online shops. Finding a balance between rising influencer costs and maintaining profitability can be difficult. In such scenarios, nano-influencer partnerships can give you the biggest bang for your buck.
"In light of a possible recession, D2C companies can partner with nano influencers to avoid expensive collaborations. These influencers have smaller audiences but garner higher engagement rates, leading to greater brand conversions," says Susan Anderson, Founder & Lead Editor, The Worthy Goods.
Casey Allen, CEO of Barista Warrior, an e-commerce company selling coffee products, believes that "by partnering with nano influencers, D2C companies can establish an authentic social media presence, engage and build relationships with the customers, and convey authenticity in their campaigns."
Notably, nano influencers are more effective than other influencer categories as they offer:
Nano influencers can maximize ROI by driving massive engagements, captivating new and existing customers, and achieving more conversions.
Nano influencers are everyday people who share their life on social media while creating engaging content. These can be your next-door neighbor, the kid you know from college, mommy creators, or anyone you might be friends or acquaintances with on social media. Since nano influencers know most of their followers in real life, it makes their audience more engaged with the content, driving spectacular engagement rates.
The small-scale influencers with 5k-10k followers generate the highest average engagement rate of 5.05%, while micro and macro influencers generate a lower engagement rate of 3%. Despite a larger following, mega-influencers (250k-1M followers) create only 2.66% engagement on Instagram, according to affable.ai findings.
Recommendations from nano influencers seem more trustworthy to the audience, encouraging them to buy from the brand. Glossier recorded nearly 80% sales in 2022 from its rep program, which includes nano creators, customers, and fans creating engaging content on social media, according to The Fashion Law publications.
The low costs and small following of nano influencers allow D2C companies to hire hundreds of creators at once, creating an endless flow of scalable content pieces. These content assets are flexible and can be used to:
Repackaging content from nano influencers into different formats is a clever move to enhance the feel of other marketing collaterals, including emailers, product and landing pages, or ad content. By repurposing influencer content, brands can save countless hours and money spent creating polished content for each marketing agenda.
Paul Benigeri, Co-Founder of Archive, an AI-powered social commerce platform, believes nano influencer content helps tell an exciting story.
"Repurpose the content into a GIF and put that in your email or use reviews and YouTube galleries in your product pages to give customers an understanding of what the product looks like," says he in an interview with Chase Dimond, email marketing and e-commerce specialist.
D2C brands can reach a more diverse audience who speak different languages or have different cultures and beliefs by hiring hundreds of low-costing nano influencers.
"Having a UGC (nano influencer generated content) pipeline through a community of influencers can help build a bank of content as the creators can generate hundreds of assets per month. And the cool thing with those assets is they're going to be very diverse as creators have diverse settings, different types of photos or videos, diverse looks, which is hard to match with a brand shoot," explained Benigeri.
Since nano influencers have limited resources to create social media content, they publish raw posts in natural settings. D2C brands use this authenticity in their content to place genuine product or service reviews in front of the target audience.
Additionally, nano creators promote brands they truly believe in, which helps build positive associations for the product or service.
"Too often, brands ask someone famous to speak on behalf of something that doesn't make sense, like an MMA wrestler promoting a furniture company. Partnering with an influencer who believes wholeheartedly in your product ensures they'll do everything possible to make it happen. So whether you're still in the consideration stage or need to reduce your marketing spend, their shared passion means the collaboration also benefits them," says Brian Lee, Founder & CEO of Arena Club.
Partnering with nano influencers for a longer term or turning them into brand ambassadors is the key to creating cost-effective influencer campaigns. D2C brands can work with influencers on shorter budgets to create content that resonates with brand values. The influencers share more content with their followers over time which builds brand awareness, loyalty, and credibility, protecting brands from future possible economic inflation.
Aware of the cost-effectiveness and authenticity of the nano influencer content, many D2C companies have increased their collaborations with these small but mighty creators. The sponsored content generated by nano influencers on Instagram peaked by 115.16% in the last three years. According to affable.ai's platform data, there were only 55k sponsored nano influencer posts in 2020, skyrocketing to 120k in 2022.
D2C brands can use nano influencers in different countries to expand their market reach and build brand loyalty among new audiences.
The affable.ai platform data shows a high count of nano influencers in the USA and SEA countries, totaling 96,541 and 46,036 creators, respectively. The American and Southeast Asian nations are the top markets for finding effective nano-influencer partnerships. With more than 22k D2C brands fighting for consumer attention in the USA, nano influencers offer a promising opportunity for companies to carve out a place for themselves in the competitive market.
On the other hand, India and the Middle East have 19,216 and 3,468 nano influencers, respectively, indicating that the potential of these creators remains untapped in these regions.
It is important to note that your target region and the influencer count in that region can be one of the factors affecting the cost of influencer marketing. Although nano influencers have lower rates worldwide, their fees can vary from region to region based on the demand of creator marketing, the cost of living, and the number of social media users. For example, with the potential economic downturn in America, even nano influencers are expected to increase their rates.
While the USA and SEA are the top target markets for nano influencers, Instagram remains the most popular platform nano creators prefer to share their content. Based on affable.ai's findings, there are 391,691 nano influencers on the platform. YouTube has the second-highest nano influencer count, followed by Facebook and TikTok.
Despite having a low number of nano influencers on the platform, "TikTok can become a preferred platform for D2C brands due to its lower influencer costs compared to Instagram," says Jessica Shee, Manager at iBoysoft.
Related: 5 TikTok Creator Marketing Mistakes That Can Crush Your Campaigns
Milan Ciro is an Italy-based model and fashion influencer catering to 9k followers on Instagram. Through her content, Ciro generates a high engagement rate of 79.43%, which is higher than the engagement driven by many big-name fashionistas. Most of Ciro's followers reside in the USA, making her a good choice for D2C brands operating in the US. Some of her brand collaborations include Alo, Mikoh, Edify, Peixoto, and more.
@j.thegratefullife is a mommy influencer in Singapore who uses her Instagram page to share cooking, motherhood, and kids-related content. Her profile generates a whopping engagement rate of 19.99%. With 41% male and 58% female followers, ger content caters to both genders.
rayly is a USA-based model, actor, and activist, winning the hearts of more than 9k followers on Instagram. His content is well-received by the audience as he creates an engagement rate of 10.15%. Around 60.9% of his followers are based in the USA, of which 90.86% are above 21 years of age. He has collaborated with Bose, Nike, Timberland, Dior, Hiker, Seamore’s and more well-known companies.
Jack Lozano is an Instagram content creator who shares snippets from his life with his partner @greggiesmmmmgood. His profile is filled with travel, pets and animals, and fitness content. Jack and his partner are the power gay couple on Instagram, building high engagement rates through content.
𝒥𝒶𝓇𝓊𝓌𝒶𝓇𝓃 is a Thailand-based content creator on Instagram. Her profile engages more than 9k followers through her fashion, lifestyle, and beauty-related content. Besides Thailand, her followers reside in the US, Cambodia, Myanmar, and other countries. 𝒥𝒶𝓇𝓊𝓌𝒶𝓇𝓃 is a good choice for brands targeting younger audiences, as 45% of her followers are aged 19-25 years.
As the younger generations continue to dominate on social media platforms, nano influencers will be at the forefront helping brands build meaningful relationships with Gen Zers and millennials. D2C brands will leverage nano influencers to tap into their communities for deeper connections.
However, working with a large number of nano influencers can be time-consuming and may require significant resources to manage.
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