Unilever to ditch social media influencers with fake followers

The logo of the Unilever group is seen at the Miko factory in Saint-Dizier France

It is growing at pace and holds increasing sway as a way for brands to speak to people given influencers' deep and direct connections with their audiences, he says. At the same time, marketers are relying more on influencers to get their marketing messages across, believing that such messages resonate with consumers.

At the time Weed said 'We can not have an environment where our consumers don't trust what they see online, ' said Unilever's chief marketing officer Keith Weed'. First, they "will not work with influencers who buy followers", and their brands like Axe and Dove will never buy followers.

Meanwhile, data from Points North Group has indicated that a high number of FMCG brands are buying into influencers with fake followers.

The company also said it would prioritise working with partners to increase transparency and eradicate misleading marketing practices.

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Weed's play comes amid the influencer industry being subject to intense scrunity from from watchdogs like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the USA, as well as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK.

A recent study from Rakuten Marketing found that marketers would pay up to £75,000 for a single post mentioning their brand by someone with over one million followers while they would pay "micro-infleuncers" - those with under 10,000 followers - an average of £1,500 for a single post.

And, we agree. Whether we like it or not, many look to influencers as role models.

Weed declined to say how much Unilever paid its influencers.

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Unilever wants to improve the integrity, transparency and measurement of influencer marketing, with its top marketer Keith Weed calling on the ad industry, and platforms like Instagram, to take "urgent action now to rebuild trust before it's gone forever".

Earlier this year, Unilever threatened to pull digital advertising from Facebook and Google citing a "toxic" environment online.

In the speech, Weed said the year 2018 presented the opportunity for companies like Unilever to "rebuild trust back in our systems and our society" and said the company was working to verify all of its media on all platforms worldwide.

"As one of the largest advertisers in the world, we can not have an environment where our consumers don't trust what they see online".

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"Some platforms already do things in this area, but they have to do it at a larger scale and with more transparency, so the industry can be reassured that the influencers on their platforms are not using these practices", he said.

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