With ad safety a growing concern, those in the influencer marketing space don’t want to get left behind. Fohr Card, an influencer platform that connects personalities with brand partners, has developed a tool to measure “follower health.”
“Influencers want to level the playing field,” said Fohr Card’s CEO James Nord, “and brands want to know they’re getting the value back out that they put into a campaign.”
According to Fohr Card’s research, 7.8 percent of 20 million Instagram accounts are bots or fake accounts. That means up to $80 million dollars could be wasted on influencer marketing on those nonactive accounts.
Fohr Card’s tool divides accounts into three categories: active, lurkers and bots. The goal is to identify influencers who have fake followers—by purchasing bot accounts to follow them, for instance—by analyzing all of their followers. Through machine learning, the tool can recognize accounts easily once they’ve been categorized.
“It can ruin someone’s career if someone accuses them of having fake followers, but sometimes legitimate spikes in followers happen,” said Nord. “We can reach out to influencers once we analyze their account to see why following spikes occur.”
He added, “Platforms don’t seem to be interested in putting these kinds of controls in place, so it’s up to a third party to be the governing force.”
Sydney Fazende, digital director at LaFORCE, an agency that connects brands with influencers, said, “This can help brands make smarter shopping decisions and buying choices. It’s a solution for a problem we didn’t know could be solved.”
LaFORCE has helped brands like Veuve Clicquot and Marimekko connect with influencers, and Fazende believes the difference in “follower health” could nudge brands to choose certain influencers over others.
“Some brands don’t have an ecommerce side to their companies, so being able to talk to true people is important,” she said.
Jacey Duprie, who runs Damsel in Dior, said she strives to make advertising posts “seem as nonsponsored as possible by coming up with a quirky caption or showing the product or experience in a more storytelling or inspiring way.”
“It’s my job to have a personal relationship with consumers and share my experiences with products, hotels, restaurants,” Duprie said. “If the followers aren’t real people, then what is the point of my job?”
Fohr Card’s solution is available to both influencers and brands. Brands that currently work with Fohr Card will only be charged based on verified, human followers of influencers on Instagram. Eventually, Fohr Card hopes to expand its tool to other platforms.
“The vast majority of accounts aren’t doing anything out of line,” said Nord, “and hopefully this will help brands not select dishonest influencers.”