Have you heard of the movie Dark Waters? It’s a dramatic story about the legal case against DuPont’s chemical manufacturing corporation after they contaminated a town with UNREGULATED chemicals. As you’re reading this, I’d like you to take a moment and focus on the word UNREGULATED. I promise that this will clarify the most pressing issue in influencer marketing. Self-regulation absolutely must change, and it’s up to the brands to make this happen!
Self-Regulation Leads to Fraud
In the movie, a suggestion was made by the protagonist (the lawyer leading the case) for medical monitoring. He suggested that if a company, like Dupont, exposes a community to something that makes them sick, that community must have independent monitoring. Self-regulation by Dupont was allowing hazardous materials to exist in the water system because the alternative would amount to a major financial loss. They created their own best practices and reported publicly that all actions and test levels were within their very own regulations. So how does this tie into influencer marketing? Currently, there are over 1000 influencer marketing platforms that offer an all in one, 360 degree as they call it, end to end solution for brand marketers (sound familiar anyone?). This means they provide a supply of influencers to search and discover workflow/contracting capabilities and, at the same time, present their very own fraud detection and campaign reporting. In other words, SELF REGULATION.
Self-Regulation Does Not Allow for Accountability
Ask yourself this question: What would happen to any of these influencer marketing platforms if clients discovered that a good number of their influencers were committing fraud to grow their audience or that their campaigns were underperforming? This would be a tremendous risk to their revenue stream and could lead to financial loss to competition (with around 1000 platforms, I’d say it’s pretty competitive). So why is this possibility NOT a current threat to their business? Because these supply-side, influencer Marketing platforms currently control all of the information being served to the brand marketers who hire them, from beginning to end.
If you’re a brand marketer, take a moment and think about how many campaign reports you’ve seen that grossly under-delivered, considered weak, or had a high level of fraud, or as we call it, investment waste? Probably very little. My educated guess, you’ve heard practically nothing about fraud being detected from those influencers you discovered via their respective platforms. Yet, in Q4 campaigns where Sylo was brought in to verify and measure independently, we found that 30% of influencers buy likes and followers on paid-for posts. Most brands have jumped around from one platform to another over the past few years, and I bet not one of these brands could tell you why or if one platform actually performed better than the next. So I ask you, is self-regulation working for influencer marketing?
Self-Regulation Puts Your Business At Risk
In the movie Dark Waters, Dupont was clearly the antagonist. However, I do not blame the influencer platforms the way Dupont was blamed. If the brands allow them to self-regulate, why wouldn’t they continue to do so? It really comes down to the brand marketers and their respective advertising / PR agencies to start requesting independent verification. Without it, influencer marketing will remain the ONLY medium that does not include 3rd party, unbiased verification and measurement. As we see from the movie, Dupont’s self-regulation led to growing risks, and eventually harmed the community it intended to help. Self-regulation is also hurting the influencer marketing space and preventing it from reaching its most optimal level. As a result, Sylo has seen a continuous increase in fraud, an abnormal growth in both the number of “influencers” being presented, and supply-side platforms scraping data and violating privacy laws that could eventually make them and those brands they represent liable. Lastly, we continue to have no pathway to ROI as numerous platforms take it upon themselves to provide their measurement and verification.
We Must Disrupt the Industry
As New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said during a press conference, it’s always easier to stay with the status quo and not accept a change or attempt to raise the bar. People want to take the easy road and say no. However, at Sylo, we believe disruption is not a bad thing if it takes us to a new and better place. As a brand marketer or media buyer for any agency, we believe you want to take pride in your ability to help shape the influencer industry. That means taking the time to learn more about how independent, unbiased verification sources collect, store, and serve its data. You also need to take into account their fraud detection capabilities and verified reporting to guide your brand towards better efficiencies and a real ROI.
Contact Sylo Today
Fortunately, Sylo is here to help! We partner with brands, agencies, and influencers to provide the only independent data verification, fraud detection, and performance analytics solution. We help you avoid waste, and increase ROI in your influencer programs! Sylo gives you access to the most accurate and comprehensive dataset in the industry, allowing you to optimize every step of your influencer programs and maximize ROI. So get in touch with us today and start disrupting the influencer marketing industry to create real change.