For advertisers and brands, the number of followers and subscribers is an essential metric. For brands that want to build a link between their messages and influencers on the market have to take into consideration the pivotal metric of them all – number of followers or subscribers and the engagement they generate on their posts.
Results are a very important part of the first selection brands make. Even though there’s no certain thing that the brand will accurately communicate through the influencers it has already chosen, the results count and companies impose an audience threshold when they decide which influencer will get their message to a specific audience.
What to do when the most part of these followers are fake?
The best way of tackling the problem would be to establish a mechanism of comparing real and fake accounts. However, this is indeed an impossible task. Various calculations say that around 15% of Twitter’s 'users' may be fake while up to 60m Facebook profiles could be bots. According to a very recent estimate, around 6.5 million fake accounts were created every day during the first three months of this year. Facebook officials say that most of these spam profiles were immediately disabled. How was that made? This thanks to Facebook AI systems that automatically identify bots. More than that, the social network was able to identify and disable 837 million spam posts in the first quarter of 2018, before they were reported by users.
This comes in line with the Facebook recent actions of eliminating third-party apps due to Cambridge Anlytica scandal. More than 200 third-party apps were accused of data policies violations.
How do you do when you are not selling what you promise to brands
The fact that advertisers might not sell what they actually promise to their clients might become frustrating for both parties. Brands might lose sense of their real audience and return of investment.
“Brands are pouring a lot of money into influencer marketing- with most marketing departments only increasing their budgets as a result of successful influencer campaigns. Fake followers are a problem for influencers because, as our previous survey shows, these creators spend hours cultivating their communities and creating genuine and authentic posts they know will be appreciated”, says Joel Wright, co-founder and President of #HASHOFF, a micro-influencer platform with over 150,000 influencers.
Besides followers and subscribers, brands started to value more the engagement rate an influencer has with their communities.
The seriousness of the problem
When it comes to micro-influencers, brands don’t seem to show an intense concern. However, what should be do when big figures enter the field? For example, accounts of stars such as Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.
Precisely for these two accounts, studies show that almost 70% of their followers are fake.
“With micro-influencers the problem is less wide spread, but still exists. These influencers often slowly build their communities in a more organic way, allowing their creativity and expertise to draw genuine followers. Overall, it is more of an issue on Twitter than Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. However, all of these platforms have made massive strides in ridding their communities of this issue”, continues Joel Wright.
Big brands ask for immediate action to clean up the influencer marketing ecosystem.
“The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact,” Weed said.
The main concern is that brands will lose credibility and the effort to rebuild trust might be useless if no action will be taken urgently.