然而，非常值得注意的是，今年的音乐节确实出现了积极的变化。我们有联合利华的Keith Weed’的首席营销官，非常感谢您的实践智慧。他周一在戛纳电影节上的舞台上哀叹影响者营销的当前状态，他认为正直和透明性问题困扰着人们。韦德呼吁对影响者营销采取三管齐下的方法，其中必须纠正误导性参与，不诚实的做法和缺乏透明度。“我们需要立即采取紧急行动，重建信任’s gone forever,” he said.
Hmm. As usual, I find myself in violent agreement with Mr Weed while at the same time shaking my head at the abject unlikelihood that anything will come of 它 . Yes, 联合利华 does possess 影响, but the idea that 它 can somehow police the world of 影响r marketing into being more legitimate seems fundamentally flawed from the outset.
The whole premise of 影响r marketing is, if you think about 它 , dodgy. I certainly think 它 might have a place in the tactical toolkit for many brands –毕竟，自欺欺人从来没有成为营销投资的失格者。
但是让’s not pretend that 影响r marketing has anywhere near enough legitimacy or transparency to defend 它 self against Weed’的批评。然后让’s not point to ‘a few bad apples’ 和 pretend most 影响r marketing is valid with a couple of cowboy operations letting the side down. The whole approach has that sneaky, sticky feeling of just not being quite right.
您’ve seen as many 影响r marketing presentations as I have. Someone young, perky 和 sockless bounces onto stage with the kind of vigour only possible (trust me) from a pie-free existence. They then show a lot of photos of young, equally perky 和 similarly pieless people posing for selfies 和 wearing shades 和 looking at themselves in mirrors.
接下来是大量完全伪造的数据点转储 supporting the power 和 impact of 影响r marketing that 是 plucked from completely bogus samples by companies that sell 影响r marketing. 您 know the kind of stuff: 70% of millennials 是 影响d by 影响者 but only 5% 是 影响d by newspaper ads (Medium); 75% of marketers 是 using 影响r marketing (AdWeek); 30% of pet owners 跟随 famous animals on social media (Mars Petcare).
如果我们对数字学有所了解’s that evidence of malpractice 和 fraud has absolutely zero 影响 on the prevailing levels of investment.
在某个时候，主持人将阴影遮盖起来‘traditional’电视广告之类的方法（“boo”，大声喊叫观众）和报纸（“fuckers”), 和 其 old-fashioned commercial approach to promoting brands.
然后我们到达最后一位，或者‘money shot’, as I believe 影响 marketers refer to 它 . 那’是主持人放下‘organic’ façade 和 says: “You can hire as many of our 影响者 as you want 和 they will basically say what you want them to 和 then you pay us 和 here’是我们的网站，您’re welcome. Call me.”
Perhaps brands want to keep buying into the myth of social media marketing? Maybe they just need to drive traffic to 其 existing social infrastructure? Maybe they actually fall for the fake stats 和 perky presentations? Maybe 它 works?
Keith Weed can ask for as much transparency as he wants; the problem with 影响r marketing is axiomatic. Which is a $2,000 way of saying that 它 s fucked from the outset but that this won’不要停止品牌花钱购物。
Specifically, there 是 three contiguous, ever-decreasing circles of bullshit surrounding all 影响r marketing. 让’s将它们一一分解，并揭示所有品牌在开始支付Sixpack先生和Perky女士开始投放产品之前应注意的基本问题。
The First Circle of Bullshit: Are the 跟随ers 真实?
It will come as no surprise to seasoned marketers that the first challenge of 影响r marketing is working out just how many of your 影响者’朋友圈实际上存在。在太空中，没人能听到你的尖叫声。在社交媒体中，没有人知道您的听众是半百万个听觉眼球，还是深圳北部的大型机，是由一个名叫阿卜杜勒（Abdul）的软弱无力的人经营的。
Whether your chosen 影响r operates via 推特, Instagram的 or any one of the many platforms susceptible to 影响, there 是 always going to be questions about fake 跟随ers.
当然，有一个 long 和 undistinguished history of people 和 brands buying 和 creating fake 跟随ers 扩展他们的社交媒体指标。 脸书目前每个月从其平台上删除约2亿个伪造的个人资料。那’英国的人口每十天被删除一次。该统计数字令人惊讶，但更令人难以置信的是，营销人员普遍认为这是完全正常的，并且照常营业。但是，当有影响力的人购买假的追随者，然后根据有多少人在网上关注他们时，出售他们的服务时，情况就变得更加严重了。
数字媒体中有这种活动的说法。它’s called fraud.
But that fact has clearly not prevented many 影响者 buying fake 跟随ers anyway. A recent survey from Hypetap of 10,000 影响者 identified 16% of the total 跟随er base to be fake. But that figure is almost certainly an underestimate. One study from Points North in 2017 concluded that big brands such as P&G’联合利华的帮宝适（32％）’s Magnum (20%), L’欧舒丹（39％）和丽思卡尔顿酒店集团（78％）是其Instagram赞助帖子中拥有最多假粉丝的品牌。
甚至这些数字可能都没有被制作出来。如 Digiday 去年报道过，Instagram帖子标有#sponsored或#ad generated more than 50% of their engagement from fake profiles and of the 118,007 comments posted, 97,065 were 产生的 by bots.
In my own research for this 文章, as you will see below, the 影响者 that did agree to take part in my experiment averaged 40％ fake or lapsed 跟随ers. That’顺便一提– 它 ’s not always fraud that inflates an 影响r’s reach, 它 ’s often 跟随ers simply moving on without shutting things down.
无论哪种方式，这都是很大的比例。 Let’s 拿那个数字并假设 that around 40% of the average 影响r’s effort falls on fake ears or on 那些早已离开平台的人。已经淘汰了将近一半 of a brand’s budget but, in fairness to 影响 marketers, that is a ratio most big brands should not only accept but feel pretty positive about.
有许多营销人员估计 他们的Facebook视频广告的非可见率 are 高达70％，皮尤研究中心声称，通向热门网站的推文链接中有三分之二来自不是机器人的人，欺诈率为 40％将是数字媒体的最高水准。 值得骄傲的事情。
不幸的是’这只是第一个障碍。我们’ve lost 40% of our 影响 as we cross into the next Circle of Bullshit.
The Second Circle of Bullshit: Are 影响者 可信赖的?
我知道你在想什么：是’t the ‘trusted’圈出与‘real’圈？否。在社交媒体领域，您必须首先确定某人是否是人类，然后才是棘手的一点，那就是确定他们的信息是否真实可信，足以令人信服。有影响力的人正在向同伴传达信息，这并不意味着他们的信息会自动被视为真实信息。有多少追随者实际上相信他们的影响者正在向他们介绍产品和服务？
这比评估“第一圈”及其非人为流量要难得多。许多影响力行销’索赔的重点是消息的真实性以及内容和广告融合在一起以建立受众信任的无缝方式。在网红营销世界中，常用的报价是塞思·戈丁（Seth Godin）’s comment: “您最可能注意的是什么–您认识并信任的人或组织，或试图向您出售产品的人或品牌？”
The insinuation is that rather than 传统的 advertising, with 它 s overt attempt at selling, 影响r marketing provides a more natural 和 subtle messaging platform. 联合利华 tells me in a TV ad that 它 s new Magnum ice cream bar is 惊人 和 I shrug. Supertaste451 posts a picture of herself eating 它 , looking fabulous 和 commenting “this is 惊人”，这将给我留下深刻的印象。 也许甚至影响了。
The personal, authentic power of 影响 marketing does make sense, provided, of course, that Supertaste451 is perceived to be genuine by her many 跟随ers. But if she has spent the last 12 months taking anyone’s silver to say pretty much anything about anything, while there is a significant chance that her audience might continue to 跟随 her they won’一定要相信她在告诉他们。
In a recent survey by social analytics firm Shareable, only 37% of adults aged 25 to 34 和 55% of those aged 18 to 24 agreed that they 可信赖的 what 影响者 on social media told them. A similar study that examined 影响者 found similar levels of distrust on the sender’s side too. 广告 agency Carmichael Lynch found that 23% of 影响者 admitted they did not feel authentic about the brand-sponsored content they were paid to post 和 15% said they did not even like –更何况真正推荐–他们发布的品牌。
Those 是 pretty drastic numbers 和 I wanted to test the degree to which 影响者 是 capable of recommending or posting literally anything for money. I found a firm that sells 影响r marketing called Shoutcart, based in Portland, Oregon. The online agency offers global access to micro-influencers (those operating with less than 100,000 跟随ers).
Micro-influencers 是 held up as better value 和 more authentic by many 影响r marketers, so they were an ideal sample to test. They 是 also a lot cheaper to hire 和 as I was playing with my own money this was a big advantage –有点像对果蝇而不是mar猴进行基因实验。
Next, I selected my 影响者 from Shoutcart’s user-friendly list. I wanted broad reach but also a range of cost levels. So, in the end, I selected 30 suitably impressive 影响者 who each claimed between 10,000 和 100,000 跟随ers. I was looking for the lowest possible form of 影响 –他们的Instagram帐户上有一条帖子– 和 for that service, my 影响者 charged between $1 和 $40 (£30).
那’s在标度的最低端。平均微影响者收费接近£200 per sponsored message 和 big hitters with more than 500,000 跟随ers can ask for up to £每个帖子3,000个。赛琳娜·戈麦斯（Selena Gomez）“queen of the 影响者”有传言要求超过£40万罗珊娜·潘西诺（Rosanna Pansino，我都不愿意）显然要求数百万。
I gave my new 影响r army a very tight deadline 和 asked for my post to occur within 12 hours. Not surprisingly, a significant number of my 影响者 – 12 of them – simply did not see my request in time. But that still left me with a (highly unrepresentative) sample of 18 影响者 who did receive my request.
怎么样many of these 18 影响者 真实ly had the source credibility to deliver messages that were authentic 和 in line with 其 audience interests 和 其 own genuine outlook? And how many were happy to post any old crap for money 和 had probably 丢失 all audience trust months ago? For this I needed to find something so ridiculous, so esoteric, that only a total sell-out would take the dollar 和 post 它 to 其 跟随ers.
I decided that the best option would be to take a picture of my arse (obviously) 和 ask my 18 newly recruited 影响者 to post 它 on 其 Instagram的 feeds with a complementary comment. I took the photo (shown above in all 它 s glory) 和 then pixelated 它 using a graphics program from 1996. The resulting image was then titled ‘影响的色彩’我请新成立的有影响力的军队宣布这一点“amazing” or “my best work ever”.
怎么样many of the 影响者 would lower themselves to that standard within the 12-hour time limit I set them? 怎么样many would refuse the commission 和 prove themselves trustworthy 和 credible? Would my bottom become a new social media sensation that would propel me to global arse-driven fame? A Kardashian, if you will, for the marketing industry. In just 12 hours’我会发现的时间。
In the end, of the 18 影响者 who considered my proposal, 10 (56%) took the money 和 posted a giant picture of my arse to 其 Instagram的 跟随ers while proclaiming 它 to be a work of staggering genius. The other eight (45%) rejected my indecent proposal. 您 can read this outcome either way. On the one hand 它 should be deeply troubling that a marketing medium that positions 它 self on authenticity 和 credibility is dominated by 影响者 who will literally post anything 和 say anything you ask of them. On the other, I am quietly impressed that 45% of the 影响者 rejected the proposal 和 preserved 其 digital dignity –而且，人们也会假设他们的影响力。
Again, this is nowhere near the sample needed to make any enduring conclusions, but the results of my experiment 和 the fact that 45% of the sample refused to participate in 它 aligns with the bigger 和 broader studies of 影响r trust. The survey of 1,200 American consumers last year by Shareable concluded that, in total, 38% of 跟随ers 可信赖的 what 影响者 told them.
让’s take that number as our measure for the Second Circle of Bullshit 和 apply that 38% trust threshold across our messaging. We 丢失 40％ of our audience in the First Circle, but of the 60% of human audience members remaining, only 38% will trust the messages emanating from our 影响r.
The Final Circle of Bullshit: Do they have 影响?
到此为止，您可能会认为影响力就可以原谅了。但是，仅仅因为跟随您的人是人类并且信任您并不意味着他们会受到您的影响。做出这个假设将要抛弃一个世纪’s worth of mass communications research, consumer behaviour studies 和 a significant bit of behavioural economics to 嘘声t. I might trust you but 是 you 真实ly able to 影响 my thinking 和 ultimately my behaviour?
My father, the inimitable Eric B Ritson, is certainly a 真实 person (at least for the first two pints) 和 is a man I trust. But I would say that approximately 96% of his attempts to 影响 my thinking during my adult life on topics as diverse as football, food, women, weather, Germans 和 pretty much every other topic known to humanity have ended in abject failure. Trust is not 影响.
Which prompts the rather uncomfortable thought that 影响r marketing might suffer from the not-insignificant titular problem of being totally full of shit. Are any of these 影响者 actually influencing anyone? Read any the guff out there on 影响r marketing from 它 s industry’s biggest ‘experts’ 和 它 ’很明显，它们中的大多数会持续地（或者故意地）使发送消息造成影响和影响。
一次–我会简要介绍一下– I side with 脸书; specifically, 其 rather splendid head of agencies in Asia Pacific, Neil Stewart.
He recently found himself on a conference stage in Singapore 下一页 to a much-touted 影响r 和 made a brilliant request: “我可以问我们不要吗’不要继续使用这个词‘influencer’? Because there’s an assumption that they have 影响. To be an 影响r,” Stewart continued, “you must have 影响d something. I don’一定认为’s true for a lot of 影响者.
“There 是 plenty of 影响者 who have friends, 跟随ers; they have a blog 和 people who see 其 content. But until you can prove that they have 影响d –改变行为，态度或行动–我认为我们几乎可以起诉他们使用虚假或误导性描述。”
Challenged by the moderator of the session (herself an 影响r of some note) to provide a replacement term, Stewart suggested, without even a pause, “Z-list celebrities”.
Just as my arse is clearly something, so is 影响r marketing. It’只是不是它被破解了。
He has a point, does he not? Exposure, even from a 可信赖的 source is hardly behaviour change. 什么 proportion of these 可信赖的 messages actually result in impact? This is, perhaps, the most important 和 most difficult ratio to assess. While most 影响 marketers 是 quick to claim 其 title, almost all of them make the mistake of using 跟随er numbers or views as a proxy for 其 影响.
再次，让’很明显，让目标受众看到一条消息绝非易事，这当然是有价值的。但是叫它‘influence’和消息背后的人‘influencer’ is a bit like my earlier attempt to reframe my big, hairy, Cumbrian arse as some kind of work of art. Just as my arse is clearly something, so is 影响r marketing. It’只是不是它被破解了。
Bringing all these numbers together gives us a final measure of the 影响 that 影响r marketing might have. 让 us assume an 影响r claims 10,000 跟随ers 和 charges £Instagram上每个帖子250个。数字如何叠加？
First, we have to subtract the likely 4,000 跟随ers from the First Circle of Bullshit who have stopped checking 其 Instagram的 account or never existed in the first place.
So of the 6,000 actual 跟随ers only 1,800 will see the post in question. Of course, our 影响r could send multiple posts but we will be paying for that privilege so let’在此示例中，将其保留为单个帖子。
Next, we need to apply the Second Circle of Bullshit 和 assume that only 38% of these posts 是 actually 可信赖的 enough to have any impact on the target consumer, taking us down to 684 received 和 believed messages.
And thanks to the Third Circle of Bullshit we can estimate that actual 影响 exists at the 2% level of received 和 可信赖的 messages. 那 would deliver fourteen 影响d people from the original 10,000 跟随ers. A football team’s worth.
按照现代媒体的悲惨标准，如果有人指控我£250 to 影响 10,000 跟随ers 和 I ended up getting 14 of them to click on my promoted link or consider a new diet drink, I’d可能会很高兴。其他营销人员可能会不同意。
But the whole premise of 影响r marketing still feels dodgy to me. Calling this ‘influence’ when 99.86% of the target market experience no such response is troubling for a start. Then there is the blatant 和 fraudulent buying of fake 跟随ers 和 passing off those fakes for financial gain, also clouding the reputation of 影响r marketing. Keith Weed is right to call that out.
I guess my perspective on all of this is also contingent on my own Three Circles of Bullshit being applied to this bit of content too. Are you, dear reader, human? Did you actually see this column 和 make 它 to the end? Do you trust me? And does my case, built from flimsy data 和 a giant pixellated image of my bottom, 影响 your way of thinking?