How to Prevent Influencer Marketing Fraud and Keep Your Brand Safe

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A recent exposé in The New York Times found that one company has created over 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold multiple times, providing its customers with an excess of 200 million followers on Twitter.


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Additionally, Facebook recently disclosed to investors that it had up to 60 million automated users, at least twice as many fake accounts than estimated in the past.

Influencer marketing fraud is a serious issue that requires advanced technology to identify and eliminate fraud while ensuring the utmost of brand safety.

How to identify authentic influencers

So how can you tell if the individuals you’re working with are authentic influencers with real, interested audiences? There are three simple ways to separate real influencers from those who have paid to build their followings.

#1 Engagement to Follower Ratio

One of the telltale signs of a fake influencer is an extremely low engagement to follower ratio.

If an influencer has 50K followers, but routinely only gets a couple hundred likes and a handful of comments, its highly likely majority of the audience is fraudulent.


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For reference, the average engagement rates on Instagram and Facebook are 1.66% and 0.17%, respectively.

#2 Authentic Captions/Posts

Real influencers talk about real feelings and experiences so take a closer look at the influencers’ captions and posts.

If they regularly post generic, single sentence captions like, “My favorite drink ever!” or constantly retweet/share messages that don’t match their aesthetic, pass on the partnership.

Authentic influencers love sharing deeper messages that truly engage their audiences.

#3 Engagement Quality

Vague, generic comments are another sign of fraudulent social activity.


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Drill down into the influencer’s comments and analyze the quality of their comments. Ambiguous comments that could apply to anything, like “This is great!” or “Wonderful!”, are a red flag.

Real audiences have a genuine interest and they often ask questions or advice, use the influencer’s name, or tell a story of their own.

Finally, marketers need to fundamentally change how they identify influencers and measure their success.

77% of marketers today use “Reach,” or the number of followers as a primary metric for determining which influencers to work with.

This artificially inflates the value of this metric and is partially to blame for the proliferation of fraudulent influencer marketing companies.

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