The Rise of Fraud in Influencer Marketing

Internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts, and many of them can be found on Instagram. The social network has more than 400 million active users, making it an ideal platform for influencer marketing.

Where there is audience, there is inevitably monetization. Where there is money, there are often unfortunately individuals or communities looking to game the system and make a quick buck. We've seen it again and again, both inside and outside of the advertising world. It is estimated that 60% of global advertising dollars are wasted due to fraudulent activities. Instagram and other social networks are no exception to this rule. In fact, recent studies show that over 8-11% of social media accounts are fake.

The potential for fraud has grown as marketers move more budget into social, where some users are even seeking inorganic ways to grow their follower base and activity. These days, some influencers are tempted through scams that allow them to purchase “fake” users and engagements. “Unfortunately, a lot of businesses and content providers on social media are looking for a quick fix when it comes to building a follower base,” says Gina Lee, an Instagram influencer with more than 67K followers. “And it’s even more unfortunate, that many of them go as far as paying for fake followers. While it might be an easy game to play, in the end, it not only hurts the purchaser, but it hurts the entire social community.”

influencer marketing, influencer advertising, instagram marketing

Many influencers treat their profiles as business assets.

Building a Reputable Business

Influencers constantly speak of the pressure to go above and beyond in terms of establishing a large audience. Creating the perception of influence indicates that an individual or brand has the ability to market to thousands of people. However, in order for influencer marketing to be effective for brands, the influencers behind the promotion need to remain genuine. Thankfully, the majority of influencers treat their accounts as their professional business and brand. They are driven by creating quality, engaging content for their audience and growing a reputable business for marketer partnerships.

“For me, I prefer to build and belong to my various social communities through a much more organic process,” Lee continued. “That means being consistent and engaging with those I am connected to on social media. I value the engagement and the connections I make more than the number of followers listed in my profile.”

Fullbottle encourages influencers like Gina to continue to grow their business. We rely on a number of tools to help mitigate the risk of fraud for brands and promote a community that values ethical business practices. For example, we use sophisticated tracking methods to monitor and analyze activity in real time and provide alert notifications when suspicious activity is detected. If fraudulent activity is detected we have a zero tolerance policy. We also rely on our community of influencers to report any signs of fraudulent activity. This approach of community monitoring has proven to be very effective in reporting and detecting fraud. Additional product features are also in the works to help maintain a clean and honest marketplace.

"We believe that by building a community that cares about ethical business practices and takes fraud seriously, everyone involved wins," said Natalie Enright, Co-founder of Fullbottle. "The brands win by cutting out waste, and influencers win as brands continue to move more and more dollars into influencer marketing when they see fraud is not tolerated."

If you are an Influencer who is building a reputable business and would like to work with great brands like Almay, Toys”R”Us, Chobani, you may want to contact Fullbottle to join our marketplace. If you have any additional questions on fraud detection policies and monitoring or would like to anonymously report any suspicious accounts, please contact the Fullbottle fraud team. We appreciate your support!