When It Comes to Influencers, Fake Engagement Is Only Half the Problem

When It Comes to Influencers, Fake Engagement Is Only Half the Problem

Instagram announced it is developing tools to battle the acquisition of fake followers and engagement on its platform, but these tools fail to reveal an important metric for advertisers. Instagram recently announced it plans on shutting down the most cost effective way to generate a large list of followers or create some artificial engagement around your social posts. There are places in the world called "like factories" where tens of thousands of phones are programmed to generate fake engagement on social networks. The really bad companies simply create fake accounts that follow you. Brands often aren't sophisticated enough to dig deep and evaluate influencers based on how big their audience is. What can social networks do? Social networks should go a step further and reveal whether a user's relationship with his or her audience is strong, and more importantly, whether that audience has actually logged onto the platform recently. As influencer marketing becomes a revenue generator for social networks that benefit from the presence of influential people on their platform, brands need to be clear. If brands work with influencers on the platform, they want the tools to understand how many people the company will end up reaching and who those people are. Technological solutions will break apart their audience and recognize fake followings and fake engagement instantly.

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Instagram announced it is developing tools to battle the acquisition of fake followers and engagement on its platform, but these tools fail to reveal an important metric for advertisers.

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If you’ve been dreaming of finding a cheap way to build a large following on Instagram, you might want to hurry. Instagram recently announced it plans on shutting down the most cost effective way to generate a large list of followers or create some artificial engagement around your social posts.

While this may be disappointing to the typical 20-year-old hoping to impress his college classmates with how popular he is on social networks, it’s big news for the influencer marketing industry, which has been plagued by fraud, with some claiming as much as 50 percent of the engagement around promoted posts is fake. This means big financial losses for the advertisers in the now multibillion-dollar industry.

What exactly is Instagram fighting?

There are places in the world called “like factories” where tens of thousands of phones are programmed to generate fake engagement on social networks. These same factories create fake comments, recommendations, likes and shares. Perhaps you need to see it to believe it. These places have made it so that anyone with $1.99 can easily boost their online followership or engagement significantly without effort.

A simple Google search shows how competitive the space has become, with dozens of companies offering the services at extremely low prices. The really bad companies simply create fake accounts that follow you. The more sophisticated ones follow other accounts and then unfollow them later — generating a way of “follow backs” to the customer. They claim that this is a way to get “real followers,” but it’s hard to argue that these followers are not what advertisers are looking for.

These companies put influencers in a true bind. They’re so accessible and cost effective that many influencers…

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