Influencers thrive on creating a “tribe” of followers with specific interests and preferences, which in turn can be marketed to brands. And their ability to build bigger tribes has increased phenomenally with the rise of social media platforms and also with YouTube democratising the process of video and content sharing.
However, the community of influencers is drawing flak for its inability to sift the real from fake. Many influencers have built their reputations on fake followers, duping brands into a false sense of reach and impact over their campaigns. Marketers are therefore asking brands to exercise greater caution when it comes to spending on infleuncers.
“Influencer spends currently are campaign driven. However, more and more brands are moving towards business-driven influencer marketing. We are expecting incremental spends on influencers, however that increase will come when there is tangible ROI,” said Harsh Shah, senior vice president, Dentsu Webchutney.
A recent Influencer Market Outlook report by Buzzoka reported that the increasingly blurred lines between influencers with fake and real followers has meant that brands find it safer to engage with via agencies. Instead of signing them up directly, as was the case until recently. Most brands (especially the big consumer brands) want the agencies to measure returns on their investment on infleuncer-led campaigns. Especially since budgets have expanded significantly. Most brands spend anywhere between $50,000 to $1,00,000 on influencer campaigns and in some cases, even go up to $5,00,000. The increased spending has come about as brands have come to value the power that influencers wield, 65 per cent respondents noted that influencers help find better quality customers.
According to the report, Instagram
are the most preferred influencer marketing channels. During a recent Instagram
Experience event, Vishal Shah, its VP-Product said, “We are creating insights on both sides of the ecosystem, for influencers to figure out what may or may not work and for brands to figure out the reach they actually get.”
The fears about influencer data being massaged or being simply cooked up has been exacerbated with the release of research reports such as the one by Swedish e-commerce start-up A Good Company and data analytics firm HypeAuditor. The report found that the three regions with the most fake accounts on Instagram
are USA (49 million), Brazil (27 million) and India (16 million). Both brands and social media platforms are heeding the alarm bells.