Last year, we covered the unique impact of micro influencers, with one study claiming that Instagrammers with less than 30,000 followers drove more successful ad campaigns than their counterparts with millions of fans — given that they drove higher engagement rates and were able to impart a sense of relatability.

Now, a report from The New York Times claims that a new contingency of so-called ‘nano influencers’ — defined as creators with between 1,000 and 5,000 followers — are being pursued for sponsored content collaborations by major marketers. The Times says that a diminutive degree of fame makes nano influencers particularly approachable to their friends and followers, who feel that they’re proffering authentic advice.

Brands can also get nano influencers to closely tow the company line for a nominal fee — and in most cases, for free products, the Times reports. Thanks to her posts, for instance, twenty-two-year-old Haley Stutzman (5,600 followers) has landed a couch from sofa startup Burrow, as well as a trip to Myrtle Beach with beauty brand Kate Somerville.

In some cases, everyday Instagram users have been surprised to see their nano influencer friends tagging posts with the #sponsored and #ad hashtags. Twenty-five-year-old Alexis Baker (pictured above), for instance, has shilled for Suave and Clinique for her 2,700 followers after being scouted by an influencer marketing agency called Obviously. Others, such as 26-year-old Ohio native Kelsey Rosenberg (1,900 followers) weren’t scouted, but instead took it upon themselves to contact local bars and restaurant to propose sponsorship opportunities.

“Everyone who’s on Instagram has that friend who is just really popular and is racking up ‘likes’ and comments and has great content,” Obviously CEO Mae Karwowski told the Times. “We’ve seen a real push to work with smaller and smaller influencers, because their engagement is so high and we have the technology to work with a lot more influencers now and track and measure what is and isn’t working.”

Obviously has 7,500 nano influencers in its database right now, and plans to double that figure by March, the Times reports. According to its website, the company works with top brands including Heineken, Mercedes-Benz, and Coca-Cola.

Don't miss out on the next big story.

Get Tubefilter's Top Stories, Breaking News, and Event updates delivered straight to your inbox.

This information will never be shared with a third party