“Fake Influencers” cost Brands Millions of Dollars

We no longer live in a world where social media is just used to share holiday photos or videos of your dog acting cute. Now, more than ever, social media platforms like Instagram are becoming powerhouses in the world of online advertising. With that being said, with online advertising via Instagram brings a new problem. “Follower fraud”

Photo: Betsy V

Follower Fraud, explained

Follower Fraud is when Instagram users pay fake or automated accounts to follow them in order to boost their own online popularity. You might be wondering how this translates into a problem for brands. What you may not know is that many of these brands are paying these so-called “influencers” to advertise their products.

A 200 Million Dollar Price Tag

According to a study from the New York marketing company, Captiv8, brands are paying more than 200 million US dollars for fake influencers on social media. The report found that brands dished out as much as 2.1 billion US dollars to online influencers in 2017, but 11 percent of those accounts were fake.

In November Instagram announced that it would clamp down on third-party apps that help creators to get fake followers, and in December Instagram deleted millions of fake accounts.

Social Media Advertising

The news comes as social media platforms continue to shift much of their attention towards advertisement and online-purchasing functions. In September, Snapchat announced a new tool in partnership with e-commerce giant Amazon that allows users to search for products on Amazon by pointing their camera – with the snapchat application open – at a physical product or bar code.

In the same month, it was revealed that Instagram would be launching a shopping app to allow its users to browse collections from brands that they follow and purchase them directly within the app. So as social media becomes more and more about consumer spending habits, we must ask, how does Instagram plan to lock it down with these fraudulent influencers?

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