More than one in nine Instagram influencers in the UK has bought fake followers, according to the country’s first comprehensive study of the marketing medium.
According to influencer analysts CampaignDues, retailers are also the biggest spenders on influencer marketing, 34 per cent of all branded posts on Instagram coming from the fashion and style sector.
Online fashion retailers like Missguided, Boohoo and PrettyLittleThing have used Instagram influencers to drive staggering levels of growth, and the retail sector has taken note of their success piling money into the fledgling medium.
In fact retailers now make up five of the top 10 brands in terms of customer engagement on Instagram, meaning they receive the best return on their investments.
Calvin Klein, French Connection, & Other Stories, JustMyLook and BoohooMAN all boast over five per cent engagement on their Instagram posts via influencers.
However, the study of 4600 UK influencers over six months analysing a total of 700,000 posts found that 12 per cent of influencers show signs of having bought bot followers in the last 6months.
These signs include a sudden spike in followers, often from countries outside of where they live.
“We have launched this new, twice-yearly Influencer Index to bring some much needed clarity, transparency and guidance for the growing influencer marketing industry,” co-founder and chief executive of CampaignDues Muhsen Syed said.
“The results finally shine some light on the scale of industry fraud and provide valuable insights for retail marketers looking to assess their growing investments.
“To optimise their influencer marketing spend, retail brands need to stop fruitlessly searching for a magic Return on Investment number, which doesn’t accurately exist. The focus should be on building a systems-based approach to influencer marketing measurement, which places benchmarking at its core, so retail brands can easily compare their performance against their competitors and the broader market.
“Only by doing independent comparison across and by sector will retail marketers fully understand how well their marketing buck is bouncing throughout this growing and important multi-million pound arena.”