The conversation around fraudulent practices in influencer marketing was revisited after Unilever CMO Keith Weed announced its possible partnership termination with influencers who didn’t organically gain their following, i.e. bought followers.

Influencer agencies have then shifted from charging clients based on influencer follower counts to post impressions – aware that influencers, even the average Instagram user, are likely to have bots or spam accounts as followers. Wary of the fake followers’ ordeal, agencies approach the issue by changing how they charge ad campaigns.

This week, KUMO Studio digital marketing agency and creative studio in Bali dive into the newfound world of social media influencers.

First, let’s break it down to: What is influencer marketing?

It is when a business collaborates with an ‘influential’ person on social media to promote a product, service, a campaign – or simply, one’s brand. These people, known as ‘public figures’ on  social media and dubbed as ‘social media influencers’, have dedicated and engaged followings (a solid fan base, if you put it in the traditional sense).

 

How fake followers change the influencer marketing trend and what it means for social media influencers

 

Celebrity endorsements were the original form of influencer marketing, but now, an everyday content creator with a niche audience can often offer more value to brands.

A study from marketing firm WhoSay reported that a significant number of marketers indicated they are seeing value in influencer marketing.

70 per cent of US agency and brand marketers said they ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2018. A staggering 89 per cent said influencer marketing can positively impact how people feel about a brand. Have a look at the facts and figures below.

What is a social media influencer?

A social media influencer is someone who carries influence over others through social media. If you’re a dinosaur or social media just isn’t your forte, we’ll say it in simpler words: they are people who have a massive number of followers and post picture-perfect shots against exotic backdrops or with the latest fashion trend that will guarantee you wishing you were them! It’s believed that the form of influence can vary and that no two influencers are the same.

The right influencer is someone who can reach your target audience, build trust, and drive engagement. The tricky bit is to find someone who embodies your brand. That’s where KUMO  Studio comes in. We’ll do your homework and be on the lookout to find influencers that are in line with your brand, to ensure your brand is represented accurately. We wouldn’t want to communicate the wrong message, would we?

How influencer marketing is changing now

“We don’t want to charge our clients for any eyeballs that are not actually seeing posts,” Leah Logan of Collective Bias said. The influencer marketing agency, alongside Fohr which works with a network of over 50,000 influencers, are making the move that would help eradicate influencer fraud in hopes that influencers will no longer be incentivised to buy followers.

Agencies are also updating their standards around fraudulent posts and brand safety. For example, prohibiting influencers from incentivising their followers to engage with their content, purchasing followers, or otherwise artificially generating traffic.

Both Collective Bias’ and Fohr’s new pricing models are based entirely on fixed CPMs (cost per mille) that don’t vary no matter how many followers the influencer has. This shift is why Instagram launched a business accounts insights program two years ago to sway from the followers-is-everything mindset.

Bottom line is social media influencers with strong engagement will float fine above the waters while those with less engagement will suffer under the new pricing model.

KUMO Studio is a digital marketing agency and creative studio based in Bali. We cherry pick whom we work with, especially with the astounding number of social media influencers in Bali and throughout Indonesia. Work with us.