With influencer fraud becoming more prevalent, the industry is on the hunt for ways to address the issues. Influencer platform Mavrck, a Boston-based influencer marketing company, is on a mission to help combat influencer fraud. In light of this, the company has released new fraud detection tools to assess and indicate follower and engagement fraud to empower marketers to make informed decisions about influencers. The new follower fraud and engagement fraud indicators are powered by machine learning algorithms that assess a significant sample of an influencer’s followers, as well as accounts that engage with their posts to determine whether the Instagram account is, in fact, a real person or if it’s operated by a bot for the purposes of creating fake followers, likes and comments. After investigating a sample of 3,992 Instagram influencers with at least 5,000 followers, Mavrck found that 394 (9.8%) engaged in fraudulent behaviour by buying followers or engagements. Thanks to the tools, an influencer can be flagged as being high, medium or low risk of fraud based on purchased followers or engagements. In turn, this helps brands feel safe in the knowledge that their campaigns are being carried out by influencers who best fit their objectives and enable more trust.“Thanks to the sophistication of influencer marketing platforms, the number of influencers being activated by marketers has grown exponentially over the last two years – there were more than 21 million #sponsored posts created in 2017 alone,” said Lyle Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Mavrck. “To help address this growing problem, Mavrck has developed an automated way to flag an individual as potentially engaging in fraudulent activity so that a marketer can filter out bad actors.”
Time to take action
With beta testing complete, Mavrck will make the tools available to more customers in the coming months. The company’s fraud detection efforts represent one of the many ways in which companies are making efforts to change technology and standardise influencer marketing as these issues surrounding the industry arise. In a commitment to try and stop bad practice within the space, Unilever announced in June that the company will not work with social media stars, or influencers, who buy followers on platforms, and CMO Keith Weed called for “urgent action” to clean up the influencer marketing ecosystem at this year’s Cannes Lion Festival when discussing the debate around the transparency of the influencer ecosystem.Combating influencer fraud is one of the key steps in cleaning up the influencer ecosystem, with hopes to rebuild much-needed trust between brands and influencers.