Commitment Counts More Than Reach
Instagram is booming, as evidenced by the rapidly growing number of users of more than one billion people worldwide, as well as the new features introduced in ever-shorter regularities that the service provides to its customers. According to company information , more than two million advertisers advertised monthly in the channel at the end of 2017. By now, this value is likely to have increased significantly again – in particular, FMCG brands barely pass Instagram.
Fake followers are an industry problem
Nevertheless, the influencer business has been taking criticism for years, not only because of the debate on the inadequately regulated advertising labeling on Instagram, but also as a result of inadmissibly high screwed follower numbers, by like groups and bot traffic pushed commitment values by the influencers and lack of transparency in settlements. Demands for comprehensible and qualitative test criteria are becoming louder throughout the industry. Attention caught last summer Unilever CMO Keith Weed, mind you one of the global Top 4 Advertiser, with an appeal to platforms such as tech service providers to enforce more cross-industry transparency and quality and to reduce follower fraud.
With the growing popularity of Instagram as an advertising channel, the need for action is growing for all actors who generate revenues in order to create high-quality and transparent framework conditions. A recent survey by the BVDW , according to which 29 percent of all German online users rely on product recommendations from influencers, illustrates the potential of influencer marketing. Despite such optimistic forecasts, however, the concrete performance of campaigns and individual posts is often not questioned, but at best publicly discussed in the form of a particularly prominent #instafail.
Rethinking the evaluation
So how do you counter the fraud with clicks and followers? The decisive factor is a strategic approach with the goal of optimized campaign performance. Questioning the previous performance measurement can be a first step towards more effective planning and control. It has become established to define the follower number of an influencer as the sole or decisive evaluation variable of a cooperation on Instagram.
Instead, it makes much more sense to have a detailed look at the impressions that a single post generates. The reason is obvious: Influencers are more than just followers – and not all followers actually interact with each post. Instead of considering influencers as advertising partners that can be reduced to their real Instagram followers, advertisers are well advised to rely on their creative potential and to evaluate the outcome accordingly. The billing of real impressions directs the focus from the unconfined, potential reach to the actually reached target group.
For Marketer, it becomes so clear which type of spender provided which service, so that the impact of campaigns can be better assessed and the marketing budget can be optimally utilized. Actually generated impressions are a valid and transparent measure of success – especially when influencers have been screened for bot traffic in the first place using appropriate tools. Only when advertisers are able to track the impact of individual postings on a precisely defined contribution does influencer marketing have the chance to compete effectively with other digital advertising channels.
Brand Safety before Brand Fit
Strict test criteria are required even before the conclusion of the influencer cooperation. Influencer activation should therefore be preceded by a detailed review of the partners. Where manual processes reach their personal and temporal limits, AI-based analysis tools can help. They check each account for suspicious activity and allow for qualitative selection before starting the contract with the influencer, thus preventing wastage in campaign delivery. In the second step, the matching between the brand and the influencer, professional expertise is important. The right brand fit can have a big impact on the activation level of the followers, depending on the campaign goal.
Quality and creativity are crucial criteria in the digital advertising market, which does not stop at influencer marketing on Instagram. With increasing importance as a marketing channel, advertisers as well as platform providers are invited to contribute their part to the professionalism.