The creator economy is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world, with more than 165 million people joining in just the last two years. By 2023, the total expenditure on influencer marketing is expected to hit $6.16bn.
And with good reason; in many cases, brands got a return of $5.2 on every dollar they spent on influencer marketing.
In this high-stakes environment, influencer verification plays a crucial role.
Influencer verification is the process of checking that an influencer is who they are, that they’re behind the social media that a brand wants to work with and that they have legit engagement from their followers.
In very simple terms, it’s the process of weeding out fake influencers.
Why should brands care about influencer verification?
Influencer verification can make or break a marketing campaign. Without proper due diligence, marketing campaigns can go sideways and backfire on the brand.
These are the benefits of influencer verification from a brand’s perspective -
1. Influencer verification helps build better relationships between brands and influencers
There’s a reason influencers care about getting that blue checkmark on Facebook or Instagram, and it's more than just avoiding the risk of impersonation.
The verification tells their audience, as well as interested brands, that there is a natural person behind the account and that they won’t just disappear all of a sudden.
Influencer verification takes this to the next level; it doesn’t just prove the identity of the influencers but also the social proof they offer. It proves influencer credibility that they can move and influence their followers to take action.
Influencer verification streamlines relationships between brands and influencers; influencers can get better compensation, and brands get assurance of their capabilities.
2. Influencer verification helps brands build better marketing strategies
Influencer verification offers help brands base their marketing strategies on solid data. Brands can choose the right influencers for their products and services with a better understanding of their audience. For instance, if a fashion influencer has a lot of followers from the US, a clothing or apparel brand can build its Black Friday marketing strategy around them.
Brands can also design specific marketing strategies around what gets the best engagement or conversions for an influencer.
For instance, if an influencer gets most of their engagement from thirty-second reels, the brand can build a promo in the same format. But brands can leverage that for launching a new product or service if they’re a Youtuber known for long product reviews or unboxing videos.
Influencer verification offers brands the data to determine what works and what won’t when working with a creator.
3. Brands can predict their returns better when working with concrete credibility data
Influencer verification gives brands concrete data on the engagement influencers generate. By verifying influencers, brands can be assured that their promotions and efforts will reach the correct audience. Brands get assurance that at least a certain percentage of the audience will take action.
Without proper verification, brands can never be sure that the followers are actively engaging with the influencers. If these followers are inactive, or in the worst case, fake, companies will not get the expected results.
How can brands lose out without influencer verification?
The absence of influencer verification can be costly for brands investing in influencer marketing. Here’s how -
1. Fake influencers can affect a brand’s reputation
The meteoric growth of the creator economy has prompted the rise of fake influencers as well.
In most cases, fake influencers buy followers or engagement from online services to get brand sponsorships or marketing deals. There are also instances where accounts impersonate famous figures or other influencers on social media platforms.
Since most of their followers are bots, inactive accounts, or paid followers, promotions or marketing campaigns with these influencers won’t give brands the expected results.
Over the last couple of years, we have also seen the likes of Caroline Calloway and Jay Mazini who scammed their followers and investors through many schemes. Engaging with these influencers can get severe backlash in the future and garner negative press.
Without proper due diligence and influencer verification, brands may make substantial financial losses and lose the trust of their customers.
2. A brand’s marketing budget may go through the roof
Influencer marketing is not cheap. Major Instagram influencers charge anywhere from $500 to $5000 for a single post. Without proper verification, brands won’t get the expected ROI, and these numbers can prove to be very costly.
In a 2019 report, influencer marketing was expected to have cost marketers losses of around $1.3bn in a year. The same report suggests that this amounted to around $300 per post from significant influencers and around $35 per post from accounts with a few thousand followers.
With more data, brands can make better marketing and budgetary decisions. They can use the data to negotiate better deals and get good results without depleting their resources.
3. It becomes difficult to manage influencers without proper verification
Brands and agencies often work with influencers over a large period.
During this period, brands must constantly track an influencer’s followers and engagement and adjust their strategies accordingly. They also have to ensure that these influencers are not buying followers or engagement.
Therefore, it's not enough to check screenshots of engagement data or check follower count every once in a while. With a proper system for continuous verification, brands can easily manage the influencers they work with.
What are the challenges in assessing influencer credibility?
1. Collecting and analyzing data is resource intensive[
Most influencers have accounts on multiple social media platforms, and collecting follower and engagement data from them is difficult.
For effective campaigns, it's not enough to look at the followers or likes and call it a day. Brands and marketers need data about audience demographics and engagement metrics.
Many marketers recommend going through creators’ feeds, exploring the comment section, and even checking the profiles engaging with the content. When an agency or a brand manages many influencers, this process will take up a lot of resources.
2. Most data sources and platforms don’t deliver authentic data
Marketers often turn to third-party platforms to access this data. But these platforms often rely on data scraping techniques which are rarely accurate and are often outdated. They are rarely integrated with APIs from social media platforms and cannot deliver real-time data. Third-party platforms can also not collect engagement data from stories or other forms of content that disappear after a while.
3. Fake influencers fake numbers
It’s not difficult for an influencer to fake their engagement metrics; it may be as simple as manipulating screenshots. Many social media creators also resort to buying fake followers; studies suggest that close to 25% of influencers have purchased followers at some point.
While social media platforms and brands are taking steps to mitigate this, influencers are also adapting their strategies. For instance, some services offer refills if the social media platform identifies and removes these fake followers.
While many brands look beyond follower counts, it's not too difficult to fake engagement metrics either. These techniques make it difficult to assess influencer credibility reliably.
4. It’s difficult to define credibility metrics for influencers
While it is undoubtedly challenging to collect credibility metrics, it's also not easy to figure out the numbers that matter.
Metrics like the number of followers, engagement per post, audience demographics, and all are certainly important, but if these metrics don’t contribute to actual conversion, they’re meaningless for brands. Even if an influencer has a large and active following, there’s no guarantee that these followers will take action from a promo or a campaign.
Brands can, of course, look into previous campaign performances and results, but it still leaves a level of ambiguity on whether a campaign will produce the expected results or not.
5. Influencers and influencer platforms are constantly and rapidly evolving
The creator economy is constantly evolving; what may have worked today may not yield any results tomorrow.
New trends come up, social media algorithms change, and new social media platforms may make existing ones obsolete. These rapid changes make it hard for brands and agencies to understand and evaluate influencer credibility on different platforms.
How can Phyllo streamline influencer verification for brands and agencies?
Phyllo offers brands and agencies first-party data directly from social media platforms. Unlike other third-party data scraping solutions, Phyllo works directly with platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to get influencer data directly from the source.
Brands and agencies can base their marketing campaigns and influencer relationships on accurate and up-to-date with minimal resources. Brands don’t have to rely on approximations or outdated data to conduct their marketing campaigns.
Phyllo also complies with data protection laws like GDPR, CCPR, and other regulations and insists on the creator’s consent to access their data. The platform is also incredibly developer-friendly and offers clear documentation and universal APIs for all social media websites.
Phyllo helps brands get the needed data with little effort and streamlines influencer verification. It helps brands assess influencers’ credibility and put their resources into building effective campaigns instead of collecting and analyzing data. Phyllo does all the heavy lifting regarding influencer verification, leaving brands and marketing teams to do what they do best.
Try out Phyllo and you’ll never look anywhere else for influencer verification
Are you a marketing agency or a brand struggling with assessing influencer credibility? Phyllo is the solution you’re looking for. Our platform is built to help you verify your influencers with the least effort. We take care of every aspect of getting accurate, up-to-date data to you, from managing creator consent to building developer-friendly APIs and documentation.
With Phyllo, you can put your energy into building viral campaigns with extraordinary results.
Schedule a call to learn how Phyllo can help your brand manage influencer marketing.
Or sign-up now and experience firsthand what streamlined influencer verification looks like.