This year witnessed massive gains in the popularity of micro-influencers, or brand advocates with fewer than 10,000 followers. And the value and potential of this fast-growing marketing segment may only continue to rise next year, according to a global study conducted by influencer marketing platform

The study, which sought to analyze the attitudes, habits and preferred platforms of micro-influencers, found that virtually all micro-influencers today aim for authenticity above all else, with 99 percent claiming they work with brands they believe in and that share their values.

And it’s not all about the money, either. While 61 percent of micro-influencers said they prefer monetary compensation over other partnership options, the study discovered that an even larger percentage (71 percent) cited value alignment as their top consideration when it comes to potential brand partnerships. Other big motivators included whether the brand offers relevant products and services (58 percent) and the possibility of a long-term partnership (49 percent).

That said, nearly half (44 percent) of micro-influencers said they hope to someday turn their influencing efforts into a full-time job.

SocialPubli study - Micro-influencers were asked: how frequently do you post sponsored content for brands?Micro-influencers were asked: how frequently do you post sponsored content for brands?

Moreover, there remains plenty of room for brands to connect and build relationships with these brand advocates. More than a third (36 percent) of micro-influencers said they post content for brands only a few times a year, suggesting they aren’t oversaturated with content and remain open to future collaboration possibilities.

Ethics remains a major concern for these brand advocates: 85 percent said they consider the practice of buying followers to be the most troubling compliance concern in the profession today, while 70 percent said they believe falsely presenting a brand-sponsored collaboration to be the field's highest ethical violation.

Altogether, a majority (77 percent) of micro-influencers said they spend at least three hours a day on social media. Instagram continues to lead as micro-influencers’ preferred social media network, with more than 75 percent citing the photo-sharing site as the platform with the most opportunity and potential for the coming year.

The micro-influencer world also remains a relatively new one, with 81 percent reporting they’ve worked in the field for three years or less. Nearly half (48 percent) of micro-influencers said they consider ensuring content visibility to be their number-one current challenge.

SocialPubli's “2019 Global Micro-Influencer Study” study surveyed nearly 2,700 influencers across Europe, North America and South America whose areas of expertise inlclude food, beauty, fashion, travel and fitness. Surveys were fielded via online questionnaire in September. Research was conducted by SocialPubli.