It all started in 2017, when Chloe Morello, a very popular beauty influencer, complained about influencer fraud. Instagram influencers buying their followings which led to them being showered with free trips, merchandise and cash from brands.
Influencer fraud is bound to cost advertisers around $1.5 billion next year.. The problem is insanely swelling and cybersecurity experts’ efforts are proving to be useless.. Stories about influencers who buy followers and automate their online presence in order to inflate their social media numbers cause scepticism amongst consumers who look to influencers for shopping suggestions. It also erodes the confidence of brands that believe they are getting what they’ve paid for.
Why is this categorized as fraud?
Because paychecks in the influencer industry are usually contingent on their follower count. Celebrities with tens of millions of (legitimate) followers, like Kim Kardashian, can command $300,000 a post, while top fashion influencers like Chiara Ferragni can reportedly make $12,000 per post.
Although Instagram has claimed it purged many fake accounts from the platform, and continues to do so, the industry for buying fake followers is thriving.. According to one survey, 25 percent of followers of 10,000 influencers were fake.
Another survey that questioned 800 marketing agencies and brands found that two-thirds of them had worked with influencers with fake followers. With stats like these, 50 percent of engagement levels on sponsored content is fake.
And although there are signs of fake social media numbers, like disproportionate number of followers to engagement rates, brands and advertisers are still falling prey to influencers who buy their following. The tactic of buying followers isn’t just common — it’s also incredibly easy. Some influencers post fake sponsored content to dupe brands into believing they have a proven track record – and in order to get hired for a future engagement.
The issue hasn’t changed and influencer fraud will likely continue to grow as the market becomes more complicated with the rise of micro-influencers and nano-influencers, who brands hire by the dozen to promote products to niche audiences.
Will the fashion industry find validation without instagram likes?
The popularity of a social media post is typically judged by its number of likes. They indicate user interest, and they also help content travel, because usually, you like what your friends like.This system on Instagram, however, could soon be turned on its head. The focus on the photos and videos one shares should count, not how many likes they get.
As expected, this is already raising anxiety among influencers and the fashion brands that advertise through them.
Getting rid of likes is a big deal,” said Alessandro Bogliari, chief executive of the Influencer Marketing Factory. There are pros and cons to the decision, but it has the potential to hurt the entire system.