Influencer marketing platforms are online databases brands can use to discover and, in some cases, work with influencers. Most are accessible by paying a recurring subscription fee and/or campaign percentage fee, and some offer additional features that help brands manage and measure campaigns.
While some brands may use platforms as an influencer marketing solution, these online tools come along with several notable risks that marketers should be aware of. Here we’ll break down the four biggest ways influencer platforms may fail marketers.
When entrusting platforms with valuable and confidential campaign data, marketers should keep in mind that, like any online database, influencer platforms are susceptible to cybersecurity issues and internet hacking.
Case in point, Octoly, a French influencer marketing platform, recently suffered an enormous data breach that compromised the personal information of more than 12,000 influencers. In the breach, a file containing data such as influencer names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, birthdates, usernames and passwords was left unsecured.
Additionally, Octoly’s full client list and thousands of analytics reports were leaked.
The breach put a wide range of influencers in danger, with the largest having over 6 million followers. Exposed passwords could lead to various influencers’ accounts being hacked, and leaked addresses leave major social media stars vulnerable to the threats of cyberstalkers.
Octoly’s data leak should raise a warning flag to marketers by illustrating that some platforms may not be well equipped to handle sensitive brand, influencer, and campaign data.
Marketers should also be aware of the risk of encountering fake influencers on influencer marketing platforms. The practice of buying fake followers and engagement is becoming a major issue on Instagram. As a result, influencer vetting is one of the most critical steps in any influencer marketing campaign.
A recent Mediakix study proves that fake influencers are capable of deceiving platforms as well as the brands using them. In the experiment, Mediakix created two entirely fake Instagram accounts and bought 100% fake followers and fake engagement for both. Each Instagram account was able to secure two paid brand deals through influencer platforms, despite having no real followers.
The study shines a light on the prevalence of fake followers on Instagram and demonstrates that platforms are not always a dependable resource for influencer selection.
Related Post: Are Fake Influencers Deceiving Brands?
When using an influencer platform to research influencers or implement a campaign, brands are limited to the influencers registered on the platform.
While platforms can be a great tool for discovering micro-influencers, who register in droves in hopes of securing brand deals and monetizing their social channels, macro and celebrity influencers tend to be more difficult to find.
Macro-influencers have been proven to perform comparably to micro-influencers in terms of engagement rate, but measurably outperform micro-influencers when it comes to reach. With a platform, brands may miss out on these larger, extremely effective influencers.
Furthermore, in some cases, the biggest influencers in a platform database may not actually collaborate with brands through the platform, which can be confusing and misleading to brands. For example, Tyler Oakley is featured on an influencer marketing platform’s website, but his manager has confirmed that he does not work with the platform.
The limited selection on influencer marketing platforms may make it harder to find influencers who are truly a great fit for your brand, which can result in campaigns that fall flat.
As influencer marketing continues to flourish, the Federal Trade Commission is increasingly stringent about proper advertising disclosure. In April 2017, the FTC delivered 90 warning letters to brands, celebrities, and influencers violating FTC guidelines, indicating that it’s taking a hard-line stance on the issue.
When using a platform, there is no assurance that the influencer you select will adhere to FTC guidelines, so brands who are concerned with FTC compliance must specifically instruct influencers on how to disclose their sponsored content.
While influencer marketing platforms can be a valuable tool for influencer discovery and campaign management in some cases, relying on an online tools and software to fully automate influencer marketing campaigns has its limitations, risks, and pitfalls.
To maximize campaign success, brands should consider partnering with a reputable influencer marketing agency that has: