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Social Media News: The digital advertising industry has been plagued by billion-dollar bot fraud — as a result, brand marketers have grown increasingly unsure about whether their digital investments are reaching real people.

What about influencer marketing? According to eMarketer, influencer marketing is expected to significantly ramp up this year, so how confident should brands feel about working with influencers and relying on their public “real” followers on Instagram? No one in the industry has ever explored or offered a solution to this potential vulnerability for fraud as dollars increasingly flow into influencer marketing.

But brands can now rest easy about fake followers now that Fohr Card, a leading influencer platform, today introduced a way to identify fraudulent followers and assign a Follower Health score to each influencer. A pioneer in influencer marketing since 2012, Fohr Card will also be the first company to charge brands only for campaign impressions with verified, human followers using this new capability.

“Knowing which influencers have high quality followers is critical,” said Sydney Fazende, Digital Director at LaFORCE, an agency that works with brands such as Veuve Clicquot, John Hardy, and Marimekko. “We are thrilled that Fohr Card had the foresight to identify this need, as well as the technological know-how to address the issue head on and make the ecosystem better for everyone. I’m looking forward to using these Influencer Follower Health scores as a metric to help plan our upcoming campaigns.”

After analyzing 20 million Instagram accounts, Fohr Card found that approximately 7.8% of these accounts were bots. Since spend on influencer marketing campaigns is projected to hit $1 billion this year, this finding suggests that nearly $80 million dollars could be wasted on influencer marketing this year. To make sure digital marketers know whether influencers’ followers are real humans and not bots, Fohr Card resolved to provide marketers and influencers much needed transparency by developing an Influencer Follower Health score.

To build the Influencer Follower Health scores, Fohr Card assesses a number of factors such as followers/following ratio, username, bio, and number of posts. The scores range from -8 (the worst) to 8 (100% real and engaged); based on these scores, accounts are categorized into three categories: Active, Lurkers and Bots. Fohr Card then provides an overarching score (0 to 100%) that reflects the overall quality of the influencer’s Instagram account.

“These new metrics will undoubtedly provide more peace of mind to brands who want to be 100% sure about what they are paying for when they work with an influencer on a campaign,” said James Nord, Fohr Card CEO. “Shedding light on fake followers could curb fraudulent activity, help trigger preventative measures and keep influencer marketing a valued channel for brands.”

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