Fake followers would cost brands over $1.3 billion this year!

The influencer marketing industry is getting choked with fake followers and engagement. And the effects of this fraud are expected to be greater this year. In fact, according to New York-based cybersecurity company, CHEQ, brands are expected to lose over $1.3 billion to fake followers.


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So many fake followers and bots can crumble the industry

It is true that the industry is a very lucrative one.

Businesses use influencers to educate, build awareness, and drive sales among their target demographic. Globally, brands have spent on influencers up to $8.5 billion in 2019, and the industry is forecast reach $10 billion in 2020, according to research by Mediakix.

But to be able to cash in on these checks, you need to be attractive to brands — which means you should have many followers. Yet, getting these numbers take several years of work to build. This is why lots of influencers are resorting to inflated followings to do the trick.

However, the proliferation of fake followers is making the cost to bear even higher for companies.

“At least 15 percent of an influencer’s followers are fake”, wrote Zdnet.com.

Brands are steady blowing cash on a hoax!


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Tuesday motivation with creator @paulmi11er 💪 #influencer

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After CHEQ and the University of Baltimore business school assessed the direct economic costs of this, they realized an alarming $1.3 billion has gone down the drain in 2019. And worse; they project that 2020’s cost could surpass $1.5 billion!

Yet who is responsible?

There are various online platforms for purchasing followers, comments and likes.

Click farm clients pay an average of $49 for every 1,000 YouTube followers, $34 for the same number for Facebook, $16 for Instagram, and $15 for Twitter”, ZDnet added.

“Mega influencers with a million or more followers can earn $250,000 per social media post, but nearly $38,000 of that money is wasted on inflated follower counts”

Sometimes, it’s not solely fake followers — real followers tend to be inactive 30% of the time.


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Friday feels with creator @tourdelust 🕺 #influencer

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MORE: Cathy Hummels accused of buying fake Instagram likes?

Fake followers would cost brands over $1.3 billion this year!

Professor Roberto Cavazos of University of Baltimore’s business school is calling for solutions.

 “Influencer marketing is an exciting and fast-growing sector, but the amount of fraud and potential for harm in the sector is already highly significant”, he began.

“While many initiatives are being put in place, with a strong recognition of the dangers of a few bad actors, trust must continue to be embedded. Otherwise longer term, we could see a decrease in revenues, falling consumer engagement, or brands choosing not to run campaigns.”

He suggested thorough vetting and investigation before working with influencers.

Furthermore, Cheq’s chief strategy officer, Daniel Avital agreed with this, adding that media platforms should do more.

“For the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, they need to create technology that can automatically, autonomously find fake accounts and disable them,”

“The easiest thing to do is look at discrepancies between how many followers the influencer has and how much engagement they get on the page, because followers are easy to generate, but creating engagement is harder,” Avital said.

“If you see 1 million followers on Instagram but posts have 80 or 100 likes, that is immediately suspicious.”


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Creator @fashioninmysoul serving up the breakfast of dreams! 😍 #influencer

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Good thing is several firms, like Mavrck, have sprung up to help brands vet influencer authenticity. And then there’s Instagram’s promise to fight fake followers.

DISCLAIMER — Images embedded in article have nothing to do with fake followers. Just influencers doing their thing 😉

Amanda Lucy


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