Marketing through influencers has many benefits, but like any other marketing channel it also has some weaknesses. We decided to write an article about the a few of them including unusual metrics, fake influencers and follower-bots, while clarifying what we at 66AGENCY are doing to solve these issues.
Media Transparency & Standardisation
In his speech during IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting, Chief Brand Officer of P&G Marc Pritchard commented on the urgent need for new viewability standards in the world of digital marketing. What he meant is that when 1 view means something different for Facebook than it does for Youtube or Instagram, it’s very difficult to make comparisons. TV advertising has long used third-party standards that every broadcaster follows when stating their viewership, but such a thing doesn’t exist in digital media. According to Pritchard it doesn’t make sense that each platforms is able to make their own rules. In his own words:
“It would kind of be like each NFL team having a different standard of yards for a 1st down. For the Packers it’s 6 yard, the Steelers want 5, for the Patriots it’s 3 yards, except for the playoffs it’s 2 yards and in the Super Bowl it’s only half a yard.”
Like P&G, most brands expect third-party certifications for impression measurements to become the norm in the future. For now however, social media platforms all self-report their metrics. Although as an agency we don’t have control on their choices, we focus on increasing transparency of the decisions made by platforms for our clients. While Instagram users consume quick content, Vimeo provides users and content creators a place to share longer form videos and short-films. The impact of 1 video view will surely be different. With over a decade of experience in the industry, we are able to make the tasks of choosing a platform and analysing its metrics one that is much easier to understand.
Ad blockers, Fake accounts and Bots
It’s clear to many marketers, that there’s an issue with fake instagram accounts. In the past, many influencers with thousands of fake followers were able to fool other users and marketers alike. Today, the average user is aware of these fake accounts and in a reaction to this problem, agencies have started to analyse influencers more thoroughly. It’s less about the follower count then about influence across platforms, engagement rate and its change over time. Accounts with fake followers have very few likes and comments and fake influencer can’t manage to falsify audiences on multiple platforms. New tools capable of detecting these fake followers are becoming readily available, but it remains none the less a difficult issue to solve.
As a solution is found to one problems, cheaters on Instagram find another. Instagram users will also use third party applications accessible on both Android and Apple app stores to trade a like for a like or a follow for a follow. Some of these apps have users take actions, such as following, liking and commenting on the accounts other app user in order to gain credits. These credits can later be traded for new followers or engagement by real people also using the app. Groups with a similar purpose are also formed on Facebook where a small number of Instagramers mutually agree to engage on each other’s page. Apart from noticing series of generic comments or a few users repeatedly engaging with the influencer, it can be difficult to differentiate this type of engagement from the engagement of genuine fans.
Influencer marketing has become very popular and influencers are now in high demand. Part of the problem is that marketers are still willing to work with these influencers. Despite their fake influence and their fabricated engagement, the views their account receives can all be very real. At 66AGENCY we take a deep look at the past activity of an influencer to really understand what these influencers are up to. It has more than ever become the agency and the brand’s responsibility to collaborate with influencers that represent the brand and the genuine message being communicated. To take responsibility, agencies should look to build a level of trust in their relationships with influencers and this is exactly what we aim to do here at 66.
Genuine Engagement & Authenticity
To stop deceitful behavior from happening, we try to build long-term relationships with our influencers that are based on an exchange of value. We see many brands preparing short-term campaigns in which they provide influencers with one-off contracts that aren’t interesting or helpful to them. A brand must understand the needs of their influencers.
In a recent survey found in the Influencer Marketing 2.0 report produced by Traackr, influencer marketing divisions are owned by marketing departments much more often than by PR departments. One point made in this report is that today’s influencer campaigns need to focus on trust over scalability. In reality, an influencer’s relationship to the brand will make the difference and create the genuine content that brands desire.
Now where can a brand start to look for these trustworthy influencers? It’s interesting to mention that few brands have thought of looking internally for them. For instance, your favorite CEO is most likely also a very good influencer for his company. Perhaps the most well known CEO, Elon Musk ( 3.2m IG followers), is very active both online on multiple platforms and offline everywhere in the world. The launch of a program to find employees or members of your executive team with a love for social media and a good-sized audience could be the boost your influencer marketing strategy needs.
New updates and social media platforms appear every year making digital advertising an ever evolving field. The biggest issues with influencer marketing we see remains the lack of standards for views and engagement on each platform and the lack of reliable methods to determine what is genuine engagement and what is not. It’s no wonder that one survey found that determining the ROI of their influencer marketing campaigns to be the biggest challenge for 78% of marketers in 2017.
As one of Canada’s leading influencer marketing agency, we work closely with our clients to fill these gaps in the industry. Our solutions are always the most innovative for these problems that keep evolving as well.
Learn more about launching your influencer marketing campaigns: 66AGENCY.com