Mega, Macro, Nano and Micro Influencers

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated on June 21, 2023, to include new data and information.

In 2018, the social media influencer market hit $4.6 billion in size — taking the marketing world by storm as an innovative new avenue to reach target audiences. Today, in 2023, experts predict the social media influencer market to top $21.1 billion.

As the years pass, the influencer marketing marketplace took a recognizable shape, one that can split into four categories: mega-influencers, macro-influencers, micro-influencers and nano-influencers.

It might seem like the distinction between these four categories is merely the size of their following. However, the differences are really far more nuanced. And if you’re looking to dive into the lucrative world of influencer marketing, knowing a mega-influencer from a micro-influencer is absolutely essential.

We asked leading industry experts and practitioners to help CMSWire define the types of social media influencers and identify the best use case for each one.

The 4 Types of Social Media Influencer

To start, let’s break down the types of social media influencer by the most obvious factor: follower count.

 Influencer Type  Number of Followers
 Mega Influencer  1 Million+
 Macro Influencer  100,000 – 1 Million
 Micro Influencer  1,000 – 100,000
 Nano Influencer  Less than 1,000 

Now let’s dig a little further and see how these types of social media influencers differ beyond their number of followers, and which would work best for your organization.

Related Article: Why Your Brand Should Care About Influencer Marketing

What Is a Mega-Influencer?

Mega-influencers are the highest-ranking category of social media influencer, with a typical following of more than one million people.

Gil Eyal, head of marketing and innovation at Silverstein Properties’ Inspire, and former CEO and founder of HYPR Brands, said mega-influencers “are often more famous than influential.”

“They often have a very diverse audience with different topics of interest,” Eyal explained. “Their relationships with the individual members of their followership tend to be more distant. They aren’t necessarily subject matter experts but they definitely provide a lot of reach in one hit.”

If you’re looking for examples of mega influencers, sometimes called celebrity influencers, think Will Smith and other A-list or B-list celebrities.

Should Your Brand Leverage Mega-Influencer Marketing?

In having a substantially large following, mega-influencers provide brands with a notably greater reach, but at a very high cost.

Back in 2018, for example, celebrity entrepreneur Kylie Jenner charged $1 million per sponsored social media post.

Some of the top-paid mega influencers in 2023, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, include:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo, at $2.3 billion per post
  • Kylie Jenner, at $1.8 billion per post
  • Leo Messi, at $1.7 billion per post
  • Selena Gomez, at $1.7 billion per post
A tweet on Twitter from mega influencer Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The pro for [mega-influencers] is that they give you the greatest amount of exposure and are usually accustomed to working with brands and companies on influencer outreach campaigns. However, they’re usually more expensive than other types of influencers,” explained John Huntinghouse, VP of marketing at TAB Bank and former director of digital marketing at Epic Marketing.  

He also noted that mega influencers do not have “real converting influencer power” due to their following being so diverse demographically and psychographically. He mentioned that mega-influencers are more suitable for top-of-the-funnel marketing campaigns that promote products that appeal to the masses.

What Is a Macro-Influencer?

Macro-influencers are a notch down from mega-influencers.

A macro-influencer’s follower count should fall somewhere between 100,000 and one million followers. “Your average macro-influencer lies somewhere between micro and mega. There’s no exact science differentiating these categories,” Deepak Shukla, founder of PearlLemon, explained.

“Unlike most mega-influencers, macro-influencers usually gained fame through the internet itself, whether that was through vlogging, or by producing funny or inspiring content,” he said.  

Should Your Brand Leverage Macro-Influencer Marketing?

If you’re looking to target a certain type of customer, but still want to reach the masses, then a macro-influencer might be more useful than a mega-influencer.

“If you want to reach a broad demographic — like young females — a macro-influencer is probably the way to go,” Shukla said.