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Study: 1.1M Fake followers found from Estonia’s top influencers

Studies
4 min
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September 4, 2019

In Estonia, Influencer marketing is more popular than you might think. 

In fact, using a tool to find influencers we can see that there are more than 5000 individuals in Estonia, with Estonian audiences and a minimum of 1000 followers on Instagram. 

This huge number of social media savvy Estonian’s has caught the eye of local and international brands who are paying Estonian influencer’s for promotion.  

Study: How much do influencer’s charge in Estonia? 

This comes with a set of challenges, not the least of which is identifying influencers with genuine and engaging target audiences.

How many fake followers do Estonia’s top influencers have?

1,100,000. One million one hundred thousand. 

Approximately 22% of the 4.8 million followers we analyzed. 

We used Modash to analyze the Top 150 most followed influencers in the Estonian Market. The results were surprisingly positive but action is required from Estonian brands that want to save their budgets from fraud.

What do Estonian brands need to look out for?

The bad behaviour in the good network. 

We work with brands all over the world on influencer marketing and we recommend not to work with anyone with more than 75% fake followers. Estonia as a whole comes in above this with 78% real followers. Latvia for reference came in below this threshold. 

That being said, as always there is a small number of people who have extremely low audience credibility and are essentially 100% useless for brand promotion.

graph showing how many of the top 150 estonian influencers have fake followers

34 of the 150 people we worked with fall below 70% credibility. One way to think of this is that you are likely paying at least 30% more than you should if you are paying based on the number of followers. 

A few related common pitfalls:

  • Assuming your agency will care about fake followers or that they use the technology to detect them. Their job is to sell you something, not to provide you value (they get your money either way). Vet your agencies tech. I can do this for you if you want
  • Assuming the product they use will protect them from fake followers, even though there is no sign that it does. Ask how influencers are vetted and ask for evidence of this. Preferably, ask them why they are better than Modash (good benchmark).
  • Paying based on follower number/reach. If your metrics are more objective than these, you can more easily justify spending money on influencers. Conversions is our favourite way to measure influencer marketing ROI.

How to avoid fake followers?

Use a tool that easily allows you to find credible influencer’s and analyze audiences, or pay based on metrics other than followers (conversions for example). I can help you set this up for free in your organization, or answer any questions you have about influencer marketing.

The following portion of the article has been merged from the title: "Study: Cost of influencer marketing in Estonia" 

A question we get more than any other is how much influencers charge. We have wanted to tackle this issue and have decided to roll out a series of studies on the topic. Starting with Estonia. 

So how much do Estonian Influencers charge for sponsored content?

Breaking down the cost of sponsored content in Estonia

The cost of influencers varies greatly based on the number of followers and their perception of their value. However, it is clear to see a potential arbitrage in the range of 10,000 and 20,000 followers. 

Influencers with 1,000-5,000 followers were highly likely to accept product only offers. Of those who charged, the average price per post was 40 euros.

Those with a following in the range of 5,000-10,000 charge an average 71.50 Euros per post, with some charging as low as 30 euros and taking product only offers. 

The 10,000-20,000 follower range seems to be the best impact for brands. The cost per post averages at 91.71 Euros, often with influencers charging just 50 Euros. One influencer had not even considered charging money and accepted free product for all campaigns. Some Influencers in this bracket were likely to accept a product-only offer only if the product was very valuable or the brand was very well known (see more criteria for product only offers below).  

From here, the price increases quite significantly. Estonian Instagram Influencers with 20,000 to 30,000 followers charge on average of 250 euros per post. Influencers with 30,000 to 40,000 followers charge  on average 450 euros. These two brackets however was the one which varied the most, meaning there could be a great opportunity for brands who work to build a relationship and offer a great product, but a few may charge upwards of 500 euros.

Our final bracket, those with 40,000 to 60,000 followers charge approx 650 euros on average. They are unlikely to accept only product offers. We’ll explain how to attract these folks to your campaign with a less hefty budget next. 

graph on how much influencers charge on avarage based on their following

3 Insights on Estonian Influencers

  • Influencers receive a substantial number of offers, some citing an average of 4 per week. 
  • Influencers often face brands who expect sponsored content in return for products worth less than 10 euros. (Toothpaste, iPhone cases, etc). These are nearly always rejected. 
  • Influencers are highly likely to reject a paid promotion if they do not believe in the virtue of the product, the brand or even the marketer who contacts them.

How to increase your influencer acceptance rate and reduce your total ad spend

Estonian influencers are extremely sensitive to brand perception, product virtue, professionalism and content quality. They are more likely to accept a campaign from a brand they can get excited about from a marketing team who treats them respectfully than a highly paid piece of content from a brand they do not believe in. 

So, how do you get more responses and spend less money on the best influencers?

Longer-term relationships cost less and have a higher acceptance rate

When we followed up with influencers regarding our questions, it became obvious that they are hungry for long term gigs. While it seems obvious that long term relationships are better for creators, brands don’t typically approach them with these offers. 

We wrote a bit about long term influencer relationships before. They are simple as they sound; build campaigns that involve the same creator(s) over extended periods of time.

Why it’s great for brands? It costs less both in ad-spend and time. Long term collaborations where brand work with the same creator(s) over a long period of time are also proven to yield better ROI and is statistically proven to garner the best results according 

Estonian creators are more likely to accept campaigns and do them for less total cost if they are long-term (planned month over month collaborations) in nature.

More content costs less

Alongside longer-term relationships, more content costs less money. Buying in bulk or a package of content typically provide discounts. For example, it is much easier to negotiate the price of 4 Instagram posts than just 1 post.

While we did not go in-depth with this part of the interviews, it seems to extend across platforms. Case in point: If you pay a Youtube creator for a sponsored video, they are very likely to be willing to add in Instagram or Snapchat content at a heavy discount or for free.

Creative content is more likely to be accepted and sometimes costs less

If you have a creative concept for your campaign, or you put effort into doing something interesting, you are much more likely to see creators respond to your offer, they may even charge less.

This is, of course, can be brushed off as subjective, but is not often addressed by the companies we see launching campaigns until after their first few attempts. Tie the reason for the campaign to something bigger than just an ad to see best results.

Boxed water planted trees, Veriff celebrated their hundredth employee and sent confetti to every creator, Kuma Design drove home the possibility for influencers to customize their own jewellery. 

These are examples to inspire you to tie deeper meaning to your campaigns and more effectively activate influencers.

Offers from Respected brands are more likely to be accepted at a lower price

Recognizable and respected brands are more appealing to creators. Nike for example would have difficulty finding a creator in Estonia who would not work with them. However, this does not extend only to the biggest brands in the world. It also works on a local level. 

Boost yourself, an Estonian brand which has worked with influencer’s for some time does not (yet) have a large international presence. They are highly respected locally and well known amongst the creator community. Improving their ability to activate influencers.

If you’re not well known by the creators you contact, it’s possible to supplement this by clearly communicating a great brand story in your influencer brief and while communicating with creators.

In the invitation for a very successful campaign Modash was involved brand voice was everywhere:

Brand is young, ambitious, both street and technology smart.  Sprinkle it with friendliness and mix into some humor. Do you, we picked you because we love what you create. 

They also shared links to their page, noted some celebrities who use their product and gave fun facts. These all help drive the content and inspire the creators to do their best work.

The barter system. When will creators work for free?

Estonian creators who are willing to work on a barter system (for product only), gave some very specific circumstances.

Brand

The brand is so exciting or has built the relationship well enough that creators will work in return for their product.

Cost and interest

If the cost of the product is almost as high or higher than what the creator would typically charge. The creator must also be interested in the product.

Continuity and originality

Offers to promote with content that fits the look and feel of a creators Instagram feed achieve a higher likelihood of barter-only offers being accepted. Creators also won’t promote similar products in a short time-frame

Relationships dominate decision makin.

The overarching themes in the price of sponsored content are dominated by the quality of the relationship.

Having a strong brand, a personal approach, building long-term relationships and being fair in your offering is the simple yet underutilized key to unlocking great ROI with influencer campaigns in Estonia.

A word of advice from Modash.

Throughout our experience it has been overwhelmingly obvious that long-term campaigns work best. The best way to build those campaigns to be scalable and return ROI is summarized in a few simple steps. 

  1. Identify influencers who speak to your target audience. 
  2. Offer them payment per-acquisition (based on promo-code). Supply a monthly quota they must hit and the amount they will be paid per usage. 
  3. Pay on time, honestly and behave personably. 
  4. Remove influencers who do not meet their quota (feel free to give 2nd chances). 
  5. Scale and optimize steps 1 through 4.

The cost of influence in Estonia, methodology

The method of this small study was quite simple. We organized several groups of creators in different follower ranges and surveyed them. The survey included questions like: 

What do you typically charge per Instagram post? 

What is the most you have been paid for sponsored content? 

Have you agreed to do sponsored content without pay? 

Along with several other questions about how much they charge and under what circumstances. We then compiled this information along with our existing data from Modash powered campaigns. Finally, followup questions gave deeper insight into the creator’s mentality. 

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