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Study: Budget uncertainty forces marketers to focus on micro-influencers

Study: Budget uncertainty forces marketers to focus on micro-influencers

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Micro-influencers are emerging as APAC brands’ top choice for collaboration. Despite the financial and geopolitical uncertainties and a potential global recession on the horizon, a report from Meltwater titled "The Rise of the Creator Economy: A New Opportunity for Brands in Asia-Pacific", explained that CMOs are still expected to deliver results within this challenging environment.

Marketing budgets, however, are in recovery phase from record lows in 2021, and has the potential to further shrink. These challenging circumstances are now driving marketers to work with micro-influencers to connect with consumers and drive growth. 

In 2021, micro-influencers represented 91% of all sponsored post engagements - including likes, shares and comments, within APAC. With pressure to show ROI for marketing budgets, this could be an effective approach. Moreover, the cost to engage micro-influencers in APAC is considerably lower, at an average rate of US$200 per Instagram post, as compared to engaging famous influencers. The report also found that these influencers see the strongest engagement rate on TikTok, where they experience 32x and 4x greater engagement than on Facebook and Instagram, respectively.

According to Meltwater’s Social Influencer Platform, outside of China and India’s established influencer economy, APAC countries have a sizable influencer population with Japan (600,00) topping the list, followed by Australia (400,00), Indonesia (400,000), Thailand (100,000) and Singapore (70,000). 

Mimrah Mahmood, senior director and partner at Meltwater Asia Pacific, said: “Whether you call them influencers, content creators or key opinion leaders (KOLs), brands can benefit from tapping into the booming creator economy.”

He added that  an increasing number of consumers across Asia-Pacific are turning to digital spaces and influencers to form their opinions and make purchase decisions. “While many brands turn to celebrities for brand partnerships, micro-influencers with higher engagement and stronger connection to their audience, can offer stronger ROI. It is likely we will see more global brands collaborating with them for hyperlocal marketing,” he added.

Where are the social media users coming from?

In a report by Meltwater, Singapore has 5.3 million active social media users, which equates to 89.5% of the country’s population. Around 23.5% of Internet users in Singapore follow influencers on social media. Meanwhile, Malaysia has 30.25 million active social media users, which equates to 91.7% of the country’s population, with more than 30% of internet users in Malaysia follow influencers on social media.

Indonesia has 191.4 million active social media users, which equates to 68.9% of the country’s population. More than 31% of internet users in Indonesia follow influencers on social media. Other countries in APAC have over 70% of active social media users in their population.

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Countries in APAC also have healthy creator economies, with Japan leading with 600,000 influencers. Indonesia and Australia come second, with 400,000 content creators each, followed by Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. 

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Why do consumers prefer influencer content?

In 2022, the global creator economy market is estimated to be worth a staggering US$104.2 billion, according to a report by the influencer marketing hub.

Neuroscience research from Whalar found that influencer marketing reins over both traditional TV advertising and digital advertising in a big way.  TikTok, in particular, helps improve the stickiness of multimedia campaigns.

According to the research, an Instagram influencer’s content is 43% more memorable if viewers are primed to the content via TikTok, ads on TV are 13% more memorable after viewed it on TikTok, and viewers are also 31% less likely to skip through a YouTube ad if they’ve first seen it on TikTok. 

Additionally, when consumers are exposed to an influencer ad before seeing a TV, Facebook, or YouTube ad from the same campaign, they are 58% more likely to feel positive towards the ad, and 47% more likely to remember it.

In APAC, influencers experience a much higher engagement rate on TikTok than on other social media channels. TikTok engagement is 32 times higher than on Facebook and four times higher than on Instagram.

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On the bright side, the emergence of the creator economy means that brands no longer have to reply on big marketing budgets and long
held reputation to influence audiences. Working with creators to leverage the enthusiasm and loyalty of their communities can competitively position a brand.

Related articles:
Analysis: Why marketers are preferring to work with micro influencers despite budget stability


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