Despite Instagram's efforts, Influencers fraud is still around

Instagram is a large market place for both brands and influencers and using misleading stats isn't something new, but recently analysts have seen a rise in the fraud.

Instascreener, an analytical company, came out with a report that says that influencers engagement frauds are again on the rise, despite Instagram's efforts to reduce scams on the platform.

According to the report, as cited by Digiday, Instagram deleted all the likes and comments of users received from the third-party apps which dropped the engagement rate of fake influencer accounts by 1.7% to 1%.

Although, from September to December, the engagement rate of those accounts jumped back from 1% to almost 1.2%.

It happened because some influencers who reported earlier were able to overcome Instagram's algorithm.

As per brand marketers, this occurs because the engagement rate is considered as the best metric for the success of influencer marketing campaigns, however, it should only be seen as one out of many key performance indicators.

Instead of relying on only the engagement rate, they should also do extensive research to find out the best working marketing strategies.

Also, the agreement should involve points that insist influencers to share the audience responses and other data with the digital marketing agencies.

Instagram can't solve the fake engagement issue completely as whenever they come out with a new algorithm, artificial likes and comments providers start working on other methods to keep their business going, said Sean Spielberg, co-founder of Instascreener.

However, this doesn't mean that Media buyers guide their clients to stop working with influencers.

According to Instascreener, in 2019 alone, companies spent over $1.9 billion on influencer marketing in Canada and the U.S, and out of that, $1.4 billion went into the pockets of influencer marketers on Instagram.

Although with billions of dollars going to influencer marketing on Instagram, some of it, $255 million to be precise, was spent on accounts with fake followers.

A marketer who works at a company that uses influencers, says that even though misleading engagement stats are a problem, it's never an issue that stops marketers from working with big creators.

Instead of being scared, brand marketers are still only considering engagement rate as a significant factor for selecting influencers.

Kristin Maverick from 360i, said that engagement is an essential element as it shows whether the influencers are engaging the followers with our brand.

We also check the comments to analyze if the audience is even compatible with our brand or not.

But, instead of depending on engagement rates and likes, we look for other elements as well for example discount codes, paid social results, monitoring sales data and analyzing client's e-commerce websites.

While other media buyers suggest that agencies should keep a long-term approach and use influencers to have a better understanding of their brand's audience and what they want, told Lauren Dubinsky, who works as the director of social media for The Variable.

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