Influencer marketing solution, INCA, published a new report which underscores how brands can combat the rise of influencer fraud and uphold brand safety using tools and solutions driven by artificial intelligence.
According to the report, influencer marketing as an industry continues to grow and is forecasted to reach US$ 9.7 billion in 2020 with the year-on-year growth attributed to the increase in internet usage and social media penetration. According to the latest numbers from Data Reportal, as of January 2020, the number of internet users in Asia Pacific reached 2.42 billion with active social media users reaching 2.14 billion.
With the growing internet and social media user base, more than 80 percent of marketers confirmed that they have increased content output in the past two years and intend to integrate influencers in their marketing strategies.
“Influencer marketing offers huge potential for brands as social media becomes more embedded in peoples’ lives.”
However, rapid industry growth has also heightened brand safety issues. The growing number of underhanded tactics propagated by fraudulent influencers has become a growing concern for marketers.
“Influencer marketing offers huge potential for brands as social media becomes more embedded in peoples’ lives. However, along with these opportunities, fraud has become a significant threat. As players within the industry, marketers also have a responsibility to stop influencer fraud. Influencer selection should not be limited to obvious data such as follower count and profile engagement,” said Arthur Altounian, APAC Client Development Director, INCA.
The report states that influencer fraud is costing the industry $1.3 billion annually and eats up 15 percent of influencer ad spend. Profile manipulation comes in various shapes and forms, though creating fake audiences is most common. Bad actors do this by engaging third-party vendors to purchase fake followers and choreograph fake social interactions to boost profile performance.
INCA’s study reveals that as many as 24% of influencers use third party vendors to fraudulently build audiences and manipulate profile engagement. Fraudsters have found a way to use technology to amplify and mimic organic social engagement. With the use of application programming interface manipulation, bots create “engagement pods” where clusters of real influencers band together to regularly interact with each other’s posts.
Social media companies have joined the fight in monitoring influencer fraud in their respective platforms. Since 2014, over 684 million fake accounts have been removed from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedln.
According to INCA, data-driven solutions that promote transparency and ensure brand safety within the influencer marketing ecosystem can cure the ailing industry. Marketers can go beyond unexplainable spikes or dips in followers count, irregular like-to-follower ratios and sudden drops in engagement in selecting influencer partners. Relying on data-driven metrics will help assess whether influencers are suitable partners for clients and help guarantee brand safety.
Connecting a relevant and trustworthy influencer offers an authentic voice outside of the walls of a brand to engage with audiences and share emotions.
Consumers prefer to see creative and authentic content from influencers, as it has a stronger impact on brand favorability and purchase intent. If brands are able to leverage tools and technology to ensure both authenticity and brand safety, influencer marketing will be an effective channel to drive higher returns on investment for brands.
The full report can be viewed here.
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