Influencer fraud costs brands billions
Can influencer fraud be stopped?
The tech guys say yes.
Influencers paying for fake followers or engagement is by no means a new thing and it’s rife in the music industry too.
However, as the market continues to grow, brands are losing a billion dollars and more per year- with that number expected to rise.
In a joint effort, cybersecurity company Cheq and the University of Baltimore conducted a study which concluded that influencer fraud will cost advertisers $1.3 billion this year, with a projected growth to $1.5 billion in 2020.
The crazy thing is that it costs a mere $16 to buy 1 000 Instagram followers, with influencer posts able to generate a staggering $12 000 per post in the USA.
And, the more followers you have, the more money you get paid so essentially you can spend $16 000 to buy 1 million followers and make that money back in 1 or 2 posts…
Well, the joke is on these brands because no real consumers are seeing the ads.
Fake it ‘till you make it
While fake followers may be easier to spot, fake engagements are a whole new ball game which has been difficult to track- until now.
Enter Like-Wise, a company that uses AI to comb through influencer profiles to detect discrepancies in engagement.
It does this by collecting data from bot farms, which it has used in order to create a database of tens of millions of profiles that generate fake engagements on influencers’ pages.
The AI tool then cross-references those profiles with hundreds of thousands of influencers’ accounts, flagging suspicious activity.
Like-Wise’s clients include Amazon, FIFA, Tik Tok, Disney, Nokia, Dreamworks, NBC Universal, Superdry, Häagen-Dazs and more.
Instagram is currently testing hiding likes for users in 16 countries, which aims to remove pressure and eliminate harmful competition experienced by Instagram users. It will undoubtedly also change the scape of advertising, the influencer industry and even user marketing like bands/DJ/artists, who so heavily rely on a social media presence for getting gigs.
Influencer fraud may be rife in social media, but tech will always find a way to sniff it out.