Here’s How You Can Start Making Influencer Marketing Accountable and Why You Should!

India’s Ministry of Information Technology has banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, after receiving several complaints from many sources about apps that were stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner. What’s more, Apple has removed TikTok from its app store after they too discovered that the new social media app was collecting user clipboard data (what we copy and paste) even though TikTok blamed it on Google’s SDK. 

This is a classic example of how companies and brands often unknowingly enable influencers, search/discovery platforms, and agencies because many brands try to catch the latest trends without proper research or understanding of how a marketing campaign should work on a new platform. Unfortunately, this only serves to accelerate budget waste and it goes to show that the platforms themselves don’t always function in the best interest of their users! 

At Sylo, our goal is to partner with brands, agencies, and influencers to provide the only independent data verification, fraud detection, and performance analytics solution to help companies avoid waste, and increase ROI in their influencer programs. We believe the influencer marketing industry needs to be responsible! With that in mind, here are the ways you can start making influencer marketing accountable:

Bots and Fake Followers are Not the Norm 

As an influencer, there is always pressure to grow your following and have as many followers as possible. Many people wrongly believe that a large follower count is the best way to be a successful influencer. As a result, influencers often turn to fake followers and bots to make it seem like they have a broad audience with many likes and comments per post. Of course, bots and fake accounts contribute to budget waste because they will never buy a brand’s products or services!  

Sometimes bots and fake followers can infiltrate Instagram accounts without the Influencer knowing, so there will be a small degree of fake followers that’s unavoidable. Still, contrary to popular belief, brands have more power than they think! Companies have access to partners and tools to help identify suspicious activity, such as followers who were bought by influencers, irregular engagement and account growth, or robotic language. In fact, Sylo and Nielson have come together to bridge the gap between campaigns and brand sales, allowing you to optimize current and future influencer activations, and measure ROI like never before. Our industry-leading fraud detection is designed to protect you from paying for fake followers and bot engagement!

Monitor Important Metrics 

When you’re tracking metrics in your influencer marketing campaign, you need to focus on data stability and predictability. It’s essential to require that influencers produce independently verified data about their engagement, impressions, reach, and audience before a contract is signed, just like they do with publishers. Authentication is the only way to collect accurate and complete influencer data. However, many platforms simply scrape data, which only shows surface-level information—scraped data supplies users with metrics that are inaccurate by over 125%! Scraping doesn’t offer the data quality necessary to vet and measure influencer performance adequately and will lead to 50-60% waste in your influencer campaigns. 

That’s why Sylo only uses independent data verification on influencer audiences and content performance. We provide the essential tools and insights you need to make smart financial decisions by gathering thousands of data points on each influencer channel and post. We power unmatched analytics refined over years of observation and testing. Our transparent access to verified benchmarks allows you to set pricing commensurate with channel performance. Plus, Sylo certification distills millions of data points and insights to convey the investment worthiness of an influencer.

 Learn How to See the Value 

When a business purchases media on a website, it’s easy for them to understand the value because they can measure it using CPM, impressions, reach, audience, and CTR. However, when it comes to influencer marketing, brands often negotiate a rate per post with little direction to figure out if they got what they paid for. Therefore, another critical way to make influencer marketing accountable is to learn how to see if your business got the value paid for! Sylo is built to not only independently verify influencer audience data and detect fraud but also to validate campaign metrics, which makes it easier for brands to see if there is a return on investment. Unlike platforms, Sylo has nothing to gain by obscuring or altering campaign results, so our measurement (and judgement) is never clouded. You can trust that our insights are based on verified data that’s free of bias, allowing you to make informed decisions to optimize your future campaigns and maximize ROI.

As our advisor, David Beebee, said, “It’s what Nielsen ratings are for TV. Can you imagine if networks reported their own viewership numbers and ratings? The industry would be a mess. Influencer Marketing shouldn’t be any different.” So if you’re looking to hold the influencer marketing industry accountable, combat fraud, and see a real boost in business from this marketing strategy, you need to contact Sylo today

Fake Followers on my Instagram Account – Does it Really Matter Long Term?

Instagram launched in 2010 and has soared in growth and popularity since its inception! Now influencers are more popular than ever on the social media platform, and many brands want to engage in influencer marketing campaigns. However, one issue we continually see here at Sylo is inorganic follower growth and engagement acquisition on Instagram. Fake accounts are computer-based or bot accounts, which means no human is behind the likes and comments these accounts leave. 

Every Instagram account has some low level of fake accounts following them and engaging with their content. However, when an influencer purchases these followers, it pollutes the data, making it impossible to separate the real humans from the fake bots. Unfortunately, many brands view followers and engagement rate as the most crucial metrics, so there is a lot of motivation to inflate the numbers to show a big following that is highly engaged and significant growth. Furthermore, there isn’t much repercussion, and it’s not expensive to buy fake accounts. 

Brands and companies are paying influencers to get real humans to learn about their products and buy from them. So, if an influencer uses fake followers, then a brand or company will see zero return on investment! That’s why we’ve developed Sylo Certified, which can tell if an influencer has currently or in the past purchased followers! Of course, fake followers on your Instagram account really matter long term! Here are more reasons why:

Fake Followers Cloud True Reach

Reach is how many people see an Influencers post on Instagram. For example, if you post a photo and 100 people see it, then your reach for that post is 100. However, as a brand or company looking to partner with an influencer, you need to understand that follower count alone is not helpful in making influencer hiring decisions. It’s better to have 1000 real people who genuinely like, follow, and interact with an influencer’s account than having 10,000 people who aren’t in your target audience and will never engage or buy your product. Plus, a higher follower count doesn’t even necessarily mean more reach! 

Unfortunately, Instagram can’t always tell which accounts are fake, so they include these accounts in the number of people reached. If you’re looking to pay an influencer to market your products, then fake followers will cloud true reach. As an influencer, it’s also a bad idea to buy fake accounts because a brand will quickly realize they don’t see a return on investment, and it will hurt your reputation.  

Fake Followers Hurt Engagement Rates 

Did you know bot accounts can actually engage with content? Bots can like and comment on posts, just like real people. But unlike real people, bots will never purchase your product or service! If an influencer decides to buy fake followers, then authentic engagement rates go straight down. One way to tell if an engagement rate is false is to look for likes-to-follower or likes-to-comment ratios. If these ratios are too high, it can be a sign that an influencer is buying likes and comments, and the engagement rate is false. 

Fake Followers Spam Your Fans 

Not only do fake followers on your Instagram account hurt your reputation and make it impossible to secure high-paying brand deals, but they also ruin things for your real followers. Fake bot accounts can spam your real followers and even harm them! For example, data security company Imperva conducted a bot report, and found that 28.9% of bots can crack passwords or carry viruses! Yikes! 

Fake Followers Will Get Your Account Shut Down 

In 2018, Instagram started cracking down on fake followers. They began removing inauthentic likes, followers, and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity. If you’re caught using fake followers, Instagram can shadowban your account, which means the platform will partially block your content, so only users who follow you can see it. This will really hurt your real follower count and make it difficult to reach new people. 

You also run the risk of having your account banned entirely. If Instagram bans your account, they will permanently block your username, so you can’t recreate that account! Imagine spending time building a brand only to get that account shut down forever and never being able to use the name again? It’s not worth it! Plus, in the most severe cases, Instagram can even restrict your IP address from accessing Instagram all together.

Use Sylo to Vet Out Influencers with Inorganic Followers

Whether you’re an influencer looking to secure higher-paying deals or a brand who wants to make sure they partner with the most authentic influencer, Sylo is for you! Purchased activity on influencer accounts is well hidden and often takes place over short periods. Today’s tools are ineffective at protecting from the sophisticated forms of influencer fraud that are taking place. Sylo uses high-frequency, always-on data collection and advanced analytical methods to identify the multiple types of fraud in the market today. Sylo can detect bot activity that other solutions on the market can’t! So book your demo today and start using Sylo, the premier solution to maximize your ROI and reduce the risk of influencer fraud!

The Instagram Data Brand Marketers Are Missing – Monitor these 5 Metrics to Improve Influencer Selections

Did you know that according to a survey conducted by Facebook people said that they perceive brands on Instagram as popular (78%), creative (77%), entertaining (76%) and relevant (74%)? While many brands partner with influencers on Instagram, Sylo data has found that marketers are unable to effectively determine the quality of influencer audiences, and their ROI has suffered as a result. If you want your influencer marketing campaign to work, then you need verified data monitoring to set accurate KPIs and interpet Instagram data. With that in mind, here are 5 metrics you should be keeping track of to improve your influencer selection:

Follower Growth Rate

If you keep track of the follower growth rate, it’s easier to see which influencer is doing better than their competitors. For example, one influencer might have less followers because their account is newer, but when you track follower growth rate, you will see that they could be gaining traction much faster than their competition. 

The follower growth rate is calculated as the number of followers gained divided by the number of followers started with, times 100% (for a specific period).

The follower growth rate calculation is:

Follower Growth Rate = New Followers / Starting Follower Count x 100%

For instance, if influencer A has 1000 followers to start and gains 100 followers in a month, they’re follower growth rate is 10%.

Now let’s say influencer B has started with 10,000 followers and gains 100. They’ve only seen a follower growth rate of 1%.

Both influencers saw the same number of raw followers in a month. Although it looks like influencer B has more followers overall, it’s influencer A that is more successful when it comes to attracting new followers!

Some influencers use Giveaways to artificially inflate this metric, and will often subsequently delete the posts to hide the evidence. Fortunately, Sylo can see this type of activity because we retain all post data even if the influencer deletes them.

Instagram Impressions 

Impressions measure the number of times users saw your post or ad. This metric doesn’t take into account unique users, which means if your post or ad is shown 150 times to one person, it would technically count as 150 impressions. It’s best when both reach and impressions are high, but you want the number of impressions to be higher than your reach. Why? Because it’s a sign that your followers have viewed your content multiple times. When people see your post or ad more than once, they start to become familiar with your brand, so even if people aren’t in the market for what you’re selling right now, their awareness of your brand might lead them to purchase in the future.

However, it’s important to note that platforms often estimate impressions because they aren’t publicly available. To get the real number of impressions on Instagram, it requires authentication. In fact, Sylo highlights a case study on our website that cites how a platform over-reported impressions on a campaign by 631%! That goes to show that only independent, direct access to your verified campaign data guarantees that your brand receives what was paid for.

Story Engagement Rate 

How do you calculate story engagement rate? Good Question! Although there are no likes, comments, or saves on Instagram Stories, you can measure interactions such as swipe ups, replies, tap backs, and tap forwards to figure out the engagement rate.

Swipe ups are available to influencers with 10K followers or more. Once an influencer has unlocked the swipe up feature, they can add a link to your product or website so users can swipe up on the story and be taken to your landing page. Instagram Story analytics will track the number of times someone has swiped up on a story, which is key to understanding what content is best for driving traffic to your website. Approximately 15 to 25% of Instagram users will swipe up on a story.

Another great way to measure Instagram story engagement is by tracking how many users reply to your story. Instagram is about creating a community, so it’s essential to have conversations with your audience. That’s why influencer marketing is so successful because they encourage more people to tap the reply button and send a message! 

Also, how many people tapped backward is a good indication of story engagement. When people tap backward, it often means that your story was interesting, so they wanted to watch it again! If you see too many taps forward, it could mean that your story is boring, has too much text, or maybe you have too many stories posted. 

For a full breakdown, we love this guide from Social Media Examiner. 

Audience Composition

Instagram Insights will let you know about an influencer’s audience composition. That means you can track crucial stats about followers, such as age range, gender, and location. This is important because you don’t want to select an influencer who has 100,000 followers if none of those followers match your target audience. Once you have the data about an influencer’s audience composition, you can combine it with your buyer personas to help gain a clear picture of what your Instagram target audience should be. 

Reach  

When it comes to Instagram, your reach tells you how many unique viewers saw your story or post, while impressions let you know how many times each viewer saw your story or post. For example, if one person viewed your story three times, you would see a reach of one and an impression of three. Typically, the longer an influencer is on Instagram and the more followers they get, the more reach they gain. 

Besides total reach, you also want to monitor the reach rate. This is the percentage of followers that see your post, and it’s calculated by dividing the total reach of a post by the total number of followers. For instance, if you have 300 reach and 1000 followers, your reach rate is 30%. According to a study conducted by Sylo, close to 90 percent of influencers reach less than half of their audience; while more than 50

percent of influencers reach less than 25 percent of their audience. 

Sylo is Here to Help

Keeping track of vital data for your influencer marketing campaign doesn’t have to be hard. When you use Sylo, not only do you get Campaign Data Verification & Benchmarks, but you also get Vetting & Fraud Detection! Sylo provides access to the most accurate and comprehensive dataset in the industry, allowing you to optimize every step of your influencer programs and maximize ROI. With Sylo, you get authenticated data that delivers precise influencer audience and performance metrics and removes the guesswork from influencer partner selections and campaign measurement. So if you’re looking to reduce risk, avoid waste, and increase ROI, contact Sylo today!