Shadow of bots and fake followers mars social media and influencers
In a recent report by Buzzoka, which surveyed over 175 marketers, almost 50% of them spend anywhere between 2-5% of the budget on influencers. This may look like a small percentage, but given that digital media itself is only 13-15% of the advertising budget, this is a big number. Extrapolating this into the larger scheme of things, it can be assumed that influencer marketing is worth about INR 1100-1500 Crs, and that is a lot of money riding on mega influencers, macro influencers & micro influencers. There is generally a positive outlook towards influencer marketing, even though the medium is riddled with challenges that nobody is talking about. Unilever has given the war cry for a cleaner influencer network, primarily due to the increased number of Fake followers. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the other challenges that brands are facing its influencers are;
ROI & Measurement – There are multiple reports & surveys done globally & majority of the brands feel that measuring the ROI from influencers is the biggest challenge they face and yet they are increasing the spends because everyone is doing it.
Usage of slang (brand safety) – It is important to understand & select influencers who match the tone, language & imagery of the brand.
Exclusivity – Influencers are often seen working with multiple brands in the same category, leading to confusion among their base. This is detrimental to brands who are investing on them.
Responsiveness – It is important that influencers go beyond just creating content for brands, and get into active discussions with their followers. This is the only way they can influence a purchase decision. Hardly any influencer today does this, be it large, macro or micro influencers.
Influence in the category – Large Number of followers does not necessarily mean result in all categories. Brands are trying to understand & segment influencers into different categories basis previous campaigns.
In the US, the FCT has put clear guidelines for brands & influencers, where the association needs to be publicly mentioned. In the absence of such guidelines in India, the association between brands & influencers are often hidden from the public. This has created a situation where brands are not openly revolting or questioning the sub-standard content & association that is being generated. In spite of this, some of the brands that have expressed their displeasure include Taj Hotels & Four Seasons, who are asking for more accountability. It is only a matter of time before other brands will jump onto the bandwagon and start asking for better control on their association with influencer, unlike the wild-wild west situation that exists today.
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