Blog / Why is your brand failing at influencer marketing?

Why is your brand failing at influencer marketing?

With the advent of digital marketing, influencer marketing has become the advertising medium of choice for marketers. An increasing number of marketers are now using influencer marketing, realizing its short-term and long-term benefits.

To understand just how many brands are using influencer marketing, Linqia conducted a study on, “The State Of Influencer Marketing.” The study revealed that 86% of the total participants in the study reported having used influencer marketing. It also revealed that 39% of the study’s participants thought of increasing their influencer marketing budgets.

This is backed by TapInfluence’s study which found that influencer marketing delivers an 11 times higher ROI than all forms of traditional digital advertising. In simple terms, partnering with influencers to promote your brand and its products or services can be highly beneficial. If done correctly, influencer marketing helps you generate brand awareness, increase your consumer base, and drive more sales.

Though it seems easy, many brands–both big and small–often get it wrong. Before you can execute a successful influencer marketing campaign, you should understand why many brands are unsuccessful with them.

Here are the three common reasons why brands fail at influencer marketing.

1. Collaborating with the Wrong Influencers

Brands tend to believe that bigger is always better. With influencer marketing, this is definitely not the case. While searching for social media influencers, marketers should remember that picking out niche influencers is vital.

The simple reason is that niche influencers are people who create content on a certain topic of interest. This makes them subject matter experts; their expertise makes their content authentic and allows them to have heavy influence over their audience.

A common mistake brands make is that they look for top influencers and overlook whether or not they’re relevant. A popular influencer’s content may not necessarily align with your brand’s image, products, or services.

For example, it may not be a good idea for a software company to partner with a popular movie star, who solely influences people in the entertainment industry. One of the best ways you can avoid this influencer marketing fail is by conducting thorough research.

Start by researching your brand’s audience. Study the trends they follow, the social media platforms they’re on, and the influencers they look up to. Then start searching for potential influencers based on these insights. Use tools like Zoomph or Socialpeeks to discover the most relevant influencers for your brand and to track impressions, reach, engagement, and follower growth. Use unique links, or tracking codes to monitor conversion.

Based on your marketing goals, you should look for influencers with the right audience who provide the required level of engagement. Don’t forget, their niche should also align with your brand and its products and services.

Here’s an example of collaborating with the wrong influencers.

Now that Allen and I are parents we are making more of an effort to live a clean & eco friendly life. And it all starts with the little things such as the products we use everyday. Although we want people to continue #drivingdirty to help save water in California, I’m happy that @VolvoCarsUS is introducing an eco-friendly car wash solution called Consciously Clean. I'm that girl who rarely washes her car (anyone else like me? 🙋🏻), but when I do I cringe by all the toxins that are used and all the water that is wasted. It's the little things that we do that makes the biggest difference. 🌎 Edited: After seeing all the comments I wanted to clarify… I'm not saying that I'm perfect and live a complete 100% eco friendly life, but since I've become a mom I have become more aware of the toxins that we use everyday. I'm only human and striving to become better everyday, and that is the message I wanted to send to you guys. By all means I did not mean that I was perfect..I still have a long ways to go. Thank you for your support and for understanding

A post shared by Chriselle Lim 🌟 임소정 (@chrisellelim) on

In this post, we see popular Korean-American blogger and YouTuber Chriselle Lim promoting Volvo. If you follow her, you know that she mainly posts content related to lifestyle, fashion, and motherhood, so it feels strange when you see her promoting an automobile brand.

It doesn’t help that her posts about Volvo are in connection to a Volvo-sponsored event. Here are the posts where she states that she was a part of Volvo’s promotional event.



Hence, Chriselle being a fashion influencer was certainly not the right choice for Volvo. The post received colossal backlash from her followers–a reaction that Volvo surely did not want from this partnership.

2. Not Providing Creative Freedom

A lot of time and money goes into running influencer marketing campaigns. So it’s no surprise that brands may expect influencers to do exactly what they want for the money they’re paying them. For this reason, brands often tell their influencers not only what to say, but also how to say it. This is a major mistake.

If you control your influencer’s voice, chances are that your influencer marketing campaign may fail miserably. Too much control makes your influencer’s content sound unusual and inauthentic, and minimizes your influencer’s authority over his/her own audience.

You can easily avoid making this mistake by regularly engaging with your influencers so that you build long-lasting relationships with them. Your relationship will help them to understand you and your brand better and ultimately inspire more authentic content that aligns with your brand.

Try to work closely with your influencers. Involve them in all campaign-related meetings and discussions, and allow them to share their creativity. Value their opinion–co-creating content is one of the best ways to make your campaign look genuine.

Here’s an example of a brand and influencer collaboration in which the brand provided no creative freedom.

Trying to stick to my new years diet like…🙄

A post shared by Ramona Singer (@ramonasinger) on


If you know Ramona Singer, you know that she’s known for having a no-nonsense attitude. The star of Real Housewives of New York is known for speaking her mind in a humorous and blunt way. If you follow her Instagram feed, you know the kind of humorous and carefree attitude she has.

So if you come across a post of hers that’s too long and sounds extremely professional, you know that something’s not right.

ramona singer paid instagram post
Source: Jezebel

We certainly cannot overlook the fact that she made a terrible mistake while posting the above picture. She copied/pasted the caption along with the instructions provided by Rodan + Fields. Even if we overlook this mistake, we can agree that the post doesn’t look authentic and organic in nature.

If you are partnering with an influencer, you should respect their unique voice and opinions.

3. Undercompensating Your Influencers

Have you thought of compensating your influencers? Are you under the impression that your influencers are going to work for free in exchange for some samples and freebies? Influencers are real people just like you and should not be treated like “purchased assets.” You have to show them that you value the time and effort that they put into creating content for your brand.

Many brands hire influencers in a rush to run their influencer marketing campaigns, and may end up overpaying their influencers. At the same time, there are brands that expect influencers to promote them in return for little or no compensation.

Both overpaying and underpaying can affect your partnership negatively. When rushing with your campaign, you may not thoroughly study your influencer and may end up spending more for less than you should. At the same time, too little compensation can greatly affect the influencer-generated content because your influencers are not being motivated enough to work with your brand.

To understand why influencer marketing is based on building relationships, Altimeter conducted a study in collaboration with TapInfluence. The study revealed that not offering adequate compensation to influencers is the biggest mistake brands make when collaborating with them.

influencer marketing survey results by tapinfluence and altimeter
Source: TapInfluence and Altimeter

Compensation is key if you want your influencers to stay engaged with your brand. Collaborating with micro-influencers can really help as they are more likely to accept freebies and samples as compensation. You can also provide exclusive experiences as compensation that your influencers will value.


If you wish to make your influencer marketing campaign successful, you should definitely avoid these three mistakes, as they are the most common reasons why brands fail at influencer marketing.

Properly researching your prospective influencers and tracking their effectiveness can really help you avoid these mistakes. Do you know any more of mistakes like these?

More on Influencer Marketing


See Zoomph In Action

Talk to one of our specialists who will help you measure insights and maximize your sponsorship growth efforts

How Sports are Turning to Digital During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 31, 2020

We are currently living in a state of being that was unexpected heading into 2020. Just a month ago, we had NBA and NHL games, the XFL just launching, all eyes shifting to the beginning… Read More

What Social Metrics Do Sponsors Care About in 2020?

March 16, 2020

Social media is a vast place. Different platforms, different forms of content, lending its way for new discovery endlessly. But what becomes even more important in business is tracking and measuring the content. From likes… Read More

COVID-19’s Effect On Sports and How It Could Change Sponsorships

March 11, 2020

The sports world is facing a new challenge that no team or sponsor had probably ever anticipated when contracts were signed: COVID-19, or Novel Coronavirus. In Italy, the epicenter of the European COVID-19 outbreak, all… Read More

Fan Driven Partnerships – How to Use Audience Analytics to Drive Sponsorship Strategy

March 02, 2020

When it comes to sports sponsorships, there’s nothing worse than a sponsor that completely doesn’t fit. Whether it’s an activation that falls flat or a partner all together that just doesn’t align with fan interests.… Read More

All Posts