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Sex, lies and influencer marketing: Humanz Face Filter

Late last week influencer marketing technology startup Humanz released a video showcasing a 'new revolutionary product', the Humanz Face Filter promising to help find and verify influencers even outside of social media.

The videos were shared by influencers across social media with #Humanz conversation trending for a while and people asking themselves 'is this real?' before trying it themselves.

Sex, lies and influencer marketing: Humanz Face Filter
Sex, lies and influencer marketing: Humanz Face Filter

Well, it turns out the Face Filter is 'vaporware' as revealed by Humanz, and was part of a campaign designed to draw attention to how fake claims can so easily be taken at face value, and hence the importance of standardising expectations, definitions and standards in influencer marketing.

Sex, lies and influencer marketing: Humanz Face Filter
Sex, lies and influencer marketing: Humanz Face Filter

"Influencer marketing is in its gold rush phase right now. For every person finding gold, there are also numerous vultures, bandits and fools getting lost in the desert," says Brett Solomon, Humanz's global CMO. "While most people know about the obvious fraud happening, like influencers buying followers or engagements, there is another more insidious type spearheaded by many of the would-be experts in the space: bogus science, bogus data and bogus insights. We released this video to have a little fun and also to try drive some conversations around this."

"With the rise of influencer marketing there has been a surge in platforms and data providers all claiming to be the 'leading solution' for influencer marketing needs. But most of them have different definitions or ways to count data for basic concepts like reach, impressions, engagement or fraud. Results from one platform to another will differ wildly and their methodology is clouded in techno-mumbo-jumbo and protected IP or shiny case studies with seemingly unachievable metrics. That's the sex and it's there to hide all the lies that come after.

"There is an abundance of unreliable, over-inflated, inconsistent and downright fake numbers or illogical data conclusions being thrown around by both influencers, agencies and platforms. So who can you trust? It's time to standardise definitions and bring in some transparency with regards to methodology."

Lerato Sengadi, recently appointed general manager of Humanz South Africa, shares some of her experience as both an influencer and marketer: "The truth is that the influencer marketing space is so new that most influencers and experts are winging it while they learn. Fake it 'til you make it, right?"

She adds: "As an influencer, I often get approached by brands purely because of the number of followers I have. Yet, it's probably the most irrelevant metric when it comes to influencer marketing. Take the example below: two influencers with the exact same number of followers but have vastly different real-and-active audience profiles* and content performance. Should they be worth the same? And should you not care about who these real and active followers actually are, rather than having that data lumped together with fake, passive or inactive ones?"

Humanz also announced that it would be releasing an online influencer academy before the end of the year, available for free to both marketers and influencers. Marketers and influencers wanting to get early access can pre-register here.

"The role of influencer and marketer are converging," says Solomon. "Both have brands to look after and the need to build online audiences so it didn't make sense for us to produce separate streams of knowledge for each. What we see as critical is to start offering broad access to clear definitions and benchmarks, aligned to existing standards from established bodies like the IAB, as well as insights rooted in real data obtained through methodologies you can understand and trust. Influencer marketing cannot grow as long as there is no common understanding and trust of the core concepts that make it work or fail."

*This data is calculated on Humanz by reviewing every single public follower profile and assessing whether it appears to be an account operated by a real human being, its levels of activity and how many other accounts it follows

5 Oct 2020 13:58