The Influencer Marketing Industry may come to be the definitive milestone in the catalogue of advertising for the decade. However, its growth has lead to the development of serious problems in Influencer Marketing in the public eye. Scrutiny, regulation attempts and fraudulent activities are just a few of Influencer Marketings Problems. This article will highlight and explain some of the main concerns for advertisers in this lucrative business, and ways in which these issues can be combatted.
What are the Influencer Marketing Problems?
It almost seems common knowledge now, but early in influencer marketing’s emergence, not many consumers or businesses knew that large social media accounts were generating significant amounts of wealth for their creators. Once the idea, that one could create a career from social media rose to prominence, there were those who aspired to grow their followings and brand appeal in order to do the same.
Some of these individuals have used bots to increase their followers and engagement in order to encourage collaborations with brands. Until now we are in a position that 50% of marketers are experiencing problems with fake followers in their influencer marketing endeavours. With the expected loss in revenue around 15% of the industry, a rough $1.3 billion.
“50% of marketers are experiencing problems with fake followers. With the estimated revenue lost roughly $1.3 billion across the industry”
One of the main problems with fake followers is the difficulty in distinguishing them from real accounts. Unless a brand undertakes extensive research into the follower demographics and growth rates of every influencer they work with, identifying fraudulent accounts is hard to do. Yes looking at engagement rates, overall follower demographics and a sudden, rapid rise in follower numbers. However, even these are not full-proof methods. Combined with the extra time this adds to the creation of campaigns, and the prospect of undertaking such investigations becomes unappealing to businesses with limited resources.
It is worth noting, fake followers are not always due to that influencers purchase of bots. There are many fake accounts that automatically follow, in order to encourage a follow back. Some Influencers may be unaware of the number of fake accounts that follow them.
Fake Brand Collaborations
One form of fraudulent activity that is certainly not ambiguous is the creation of fake brand collaborations. Some social media influencers have been known to produce content that indicates a brand collaboration, without the brand having paid for the post. Although the brand itself may not have an issue with this, it does, however, lead other brands to assume that such accounts will also fit their brands. This intentional misleading of advertisers and followers is relatively easy to identify and does not hold the same significance or challenge as fake followers.
Rising Campaign Costs
The rising costs of Influencer marketing come in two main forms. Firstly, the CPM charged by influencers is increasing, across all platforms and influencer sizes. Second, the time it takes to orchestrate a campaign has increased, due to trends towards the use of Micro and Nano influencers. These are interconnected as will be explained.
Influencers are aware of their desirability for brand collaborations. Popular influencers are bombarded with different brand collaborations. This naturally increases the prices of the influencers. The larger the Influencer, often the higher the CPM. However, in terms of ROI, larger influencers do not represent the best solution for most brands. As a result, many brands are focussing upon the activities of ‘Micro’ and ‘Nano’ influencers. These influencers, although smaller, offer a more targeted follower base. This often leads to a better brand fit when collaborations do take place, at a more affordable price.
“Brands are shifting their attention to smaller Influencers, leading to rising prices across the market”
However, increasing brands and agencies are realising benefits of smaller influencers. Leading an increasing shift to smaller influencers in the market. As a result, influencers who would previously be overlooked are now often at the top of the list when it comes to demand.
Another factor in the market price is the age of Instagram as a platform. Currently, YouTube is home to the most expensive Influencers. This is partly due to video formats being a more time-consuming endeavour. However, it could be attributed to the fact that YouTube has a longer pedigree in creating influential people. Although Instagram has been the market leader in Influencer marketing for some time, the recent rise in costs to businesses could be somewhat attributed to its maturity as a social network. Although this is debatable, it certainly poses an interesting question.
As mentioned earlier, there is an increasing trend by brands towards smaller influencers. The benefits of this strategy are apparent. However, finding those influencers is a time-absorbing process, made more so the smaller the influencer. All of the essentials of an influencer campaign take a significant amount of time, made more so by the focus on Micro-Influencers.
The creation of campaigns, to those without the experience, can sometimes seem to be extremely streamlined. However many brands, once undertaking influencer marketing, quickly realise that this is simply not the case. Without going into excessive detail, most campaigns require large manual input and thus the longer the process. Finding Influencers, matching those influencers to a brand and their strategy, Fraud prevention, contacting and negotiating with influencers are just some of the inputs that take unexpected effort and time. This contributes to the operational costs of campaigns and smaller influencers will negatively impact the time spent.
Tackle Influencer Marketing Problems Automatically
Throughout human history, there has always been the creation of tools and processes that will assist in making tasks more efficient for those undertaking them. This pattern of human behaviour is no different with Influencer marketing. Increasingly, automated tools are being implemented to negate some of the issues in the Influencing marketing industry. These solutions aim to reduce the negative effects of the problems previously discussed.
The automated nature of some tools allows for the scanning of Influencer profiles. This aims to identify and flag unusual or suspect activity. Activity such as explosive follower growth and a mismatch of engagement rates. These programmes have the ability to spot potential issues with influencers, allowing for them to be automatically discounted from campaigns, or to be double-checked manually. The benefits of this allow for campaigns to focus more on the core aspects. Overall the use of tools in identifying Fraud and free up resources and allow the other issues of Influencer marketing to be dealt with effectively.
Increasing Efficiency and Keeping Wasteful Costs down
Other tools are tailored for the campaigns themselves, increasing the efficiency of processes. For example, by making it easier for a brand to locate suitable influencers, both from an engagement and brand fit point of view. These tools make it easier to locate micro-influencers operating in specific niches through keywords. Tools are also able to match followers and audiences to a brands target market, enhancing campaigns, making them targeted and specific to their intended audiences. So despite Influencer prices rising, which are often outside the control on brands, the ways with which to tackle rising campaign costs on the areas of the campaigns that can be directly altered by brands.
How to manage the Influencer campaign professionally
Although Influencer research can be done with tools, the real work only starts after you found the Influencer (and yes, you still need to find the email address from the Influencer). The process of handling an Influencer campaign includes the following steps:
- Reach out to Influencers
- Contract & Legal
- Quality Assurance (often called “Content Review”)
- Reporting & Analysis
From a brand perspective, it makes sense to do these process with so-called “Brand Ambassadors”. Brand Ambassadors are selected Influencers who work closely with a brand. This approach provides a different, more personal relationship to the Influencer. This gives brands the opportunity to build a really strong and personal relationship to the Brand Ambassadors.
But how will you handle this with more Influencers?
One answer can be to set up an Influencer Marketing team. But let’s be honest: does it make sense to hire great marketers just to let them do repetitive tasks? It doesn’t! You should hire them to create great concepts and implementation of the Influencer campaign in your entire marketing mix.
Automate your Influencer campaigns to solve Influencer Marketing Problems
After running a lot of campaigns with our clients, we have decided to automate our process even more. Today, you can set up a predictable Influencer Marketing campaign, executing your concept, without having you to worry about the above-mentioned steps. By combining automated processes into one software, INFLURY’s technology aims to be the tool, that brands think of when they require assistance in Influencer marketing. Completely automating Influencer campaigns with expert oversight. INFLURY’s process allows for the scaling up of otherwise small influencer campaigns to become targeted, large scale micro-influencer campaigns that achieve exceptional results for their clients.
Get your free content strategy for an Influencer campaign
If you are curious how you can get started to have predictable Influencer Marketing campaigns, then we should definitely have a coffee or at least a call. Our Influencer Marketing Experts would be happy to create a free content strategy so that you can learn how this would work for your brand.
Schedule now a call to have one of our experts call you.