In the world of influencer marketing, a person’s power is often measured in terms of followers, “likes,” and other types of engagement. Because more followers and more engagement generally means more reach, companies who work with influencers often base their compensation on these metrics. But thanks to shady agencies that sell fake followers and offer fake engagement, these numbers may not tell the whole story.
The Influencer Marketing Council recently released a report that provides companies with some tips to detect fraud. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Abnormal Spikes: Abnormal spikes in follower numbers or engagement levels could suggest fake followers or bots.
- Engagement Rates: Large follower counts with low engagement rates could indicate that many followers are fake.
- Engagement Quality: A lot of repetitive or irrelevant engagement, or posts with unusually bad grammar, could indicate that the engagement comes from bots, rather than real followers.
- Audience/Engagement Location: If an influencer’s audience is mostly in one country, but the engagement comes from other countries, that could indicate the engagement is fake.
- Incentivized Followers: Consider whether an increase in followers is due to a sweepstakes or contest. Although gaining followers this way isn’t fraudulent, some of these followers may drop off after the promotion ends.
The complete report is available on the IMC’s website.
Although there is evidence to suggest that the ROI associated with influencer campaigns can be favorable, the increase in fraud can make that difficult to measure. It may not be possible to completely eliminate the fraud, but the IMC report at least provides some good tips to detect it.