Worth $16.4 billion in 2022, the global influencer marketing industry continues to thrive and will be top of the agenda of most upcoming marketing campaigns. While many communication pros worldwide recognize the value of influencers as part of the wider marketing mix, there are also significant concerns about the rise of influencer fraud.

What’s influencer fraud

Influencer fraud refers to activities aiming to defraud brands through manipulative techniques that meddle with an account’s metrics to appear appealing. Despite their profile-building efforts, working with these fake influencers is time-consuming and fruitless due to the absence of an authentic audience.

Some common examples of influencer fraud

Purchasing fake followers on social media is prevalent due to its affordability. Those relying on this form of inauthenticity are known for their sudden surge in follower bases full of inactive accounts and serious lack of engagement.

To boost engagement, fake influencers can also employ engagement pods, a group of real-life social media users paid to give likes and comments on others’ posts en masse. However, the resulting comments are often generic or unrelated to the uploaded content.

Lastly, phishing is on the rise in the influencer marketing industry. This nefarious practice involves an individual purporting to be a legitimate influencer reaching out to brands through emails to defraud. After sending them products for review or paying them sponsorship fees, chances are that brands never hear from them again.

Not all fraudulence is under influencers’ control

Bots and fake accounts are the daily realities and issues faced by almost every influencer, particularly those at the top end of the scale. It is vital to note that just because something fishy on an influencer’s account is spotted doesn’t automatically mean you should accuse them of malpractice. The key focus should be on engagement; pay close attention to the proportion of genuine, organic interactions.

As more ill-intent individuals want their share of the lucrative influencer marketing cake, brands must take precautions to safeguard their ROI and reputation.

Continue reading our blog for some tips on avoiding fraudulent activities.