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The rise of influencer fraud — when creators pay for fake social media followers or bots that increase their engagement numbers — has created suspicion around influencer marketing for brands. The topic gained massive buzz in January 2018 when the New York Times published an article about it1. The article shocked marketers as it uncovered creator evaluation gaps in the influencer marketing industry. Also, the article exposed the sheer magnitude of follower fraud with celebrities, athletes, politicians, and other popular social media influencers across many popular social media platforms.
Follower fraud has garnered quite a bit of coverage recently in the trade and general press — and it’s also been substantiated by the major social platforms. For instance, according to Facebook’s first community standards enforcement report released in May 2018, the platform deleted 583 million fake accounts in the first quarter of 20182 — more than the entire U.S. population. Twitter said that it identified and suspended an average of 6.4 million suspicious accounts each week in December 20173, and a recent independent study found that between 9-15% of Twitter accounts are fake4. Additional research has found that many Instagram accounts have followings made up of up to 20% bots5.
Since the New York Times article was published, the topic has steadily gained traction in the industry, and recently skyrocketed again in June, when Unilever made a large announcement on the subject. First, the company will not work with influencers who buy followers. Second, the company will not purchase followers for its brands. And third, it will prioritize partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem. Unilever’s stand against fraud has set a precedent that the industry is scrambling to follow.
As a leader in influencer marketing, Fullscreen understands how detrimental influencer fraud can be to brand and agency campaigns, and has teamed up with CreatorIQ and its new Creator Integrity Quotient offering — a state-of-the-art reporting system that analyzes key data points across a creator’s top social platforms and flags suspicious patterns of activity.
Fullscreen pairs its industry-leading expertise with CreatorIQ’s Creator Integrity Quotient to vet talent and ensure the integrity of both in-network and out-of-network creators. Brands working with Fullscreen can rest assured that after a tool-assisted manual review, their influencer marketing investment will reach a legitimate and verified audience.
As Fullscreen and CreatorIQ look ahead, we are excited about the future of influencer marketing and its ability to both cultivate passionate audiences and inspire authentic brand relationships. Together we will continue to ensure that data plays a central role in strengthening the relationship among creators, brands, and their audiences.