You may not have heard of ‘Insta pods’ in case you don’t operate in the world of influencer advertising, however they are now the topic of many a debate in agencies across the world.
An Insta pod is a group of no more than 30 Instagram influencers (as that’s the maximum number the social networking giant permits in a group discussion). These faithful group of insta-friends agree to like and follow, and to stick to each other each new bit of articles which a member posts.
Why are they doing this?
In June 2016, Instagram began the rollout of its new timeline. The ordering privileges the prevalence of posts or, more specifically, the relationship between the poster and the user and the timeliness and probably interest of this post.
Instagram influencers have complained that this change makes it harder to grow user numbers so they chose to band together in pods. The coordinated nature of the pods means each influencer grows more visible and that the Instagram algorithm will favour pods.
So what do the marketing experts believe? Can Insta pods skewer push prices and engagement figures up? How can marketers know if an influencer’s involvement stats are real?
Michael Richeson, Social & Content Strategy Director,Mechanica:
“The real difficulty is that ‘Instagangs’ take corrupt and influence it via black hat tactics. Subsequently, that creates a growing sense of sadness, apathy and outright hostility toward anything resembling an ad. It has quick gains at the price? Is influencer advertising dead? No, but it is becoming more difficult.
“Trust and genuine partnerships will be more important than simply agreeing counts and fake engagement prices. Brands searching for solid yields through influencer marketing — and on their own channels — will have to play the long game by hammering real connections and creating value for audiences.They may also have to do the unthinkable on social websites: be societal.”
Stefania Pomponi,co-founder inCLEVER:
“Influencers banding together to promote each others’ content has existed since the earliest days of blogging. In reality, some influencer networks were founded on the notion of doing exactly what Instagram pods are currently trying to achieve. At CLEVER we have always believed that folks aka the best brand stories are told by our influencers and quality content — video, if visual or written — stands by itself.
“Thoughtful, innovative, compelling content doesn’t need “gamification” in order to help it catch fire. In addition, we believe in real engagement. One of the criteria that we vet influencers would be to ensure they have followers that are real. We check for “robots and bought”. At the end of the afternoon, whereas Instagram pods may not be in violation of FTC guidelines, they are not an authentic way of devoting involvement for content that should be in a position to stand by itself.”
Amber Zent, vice president / manager of social media, Marcus Thomas LLC:
“Influencers who aren’t part of a glider might have smaller, however authentic, engagement numbers, while appearing less valuable to a new compared to an influencer who has employed a community to strengthen their engagement.
“With Instagram pods currently the hottest topic in the world of social, brands will probably begin more extensively vetting influencers’ post engagements prior to continuing or beginning a connection, and also demand that they disclose any pod action. And, hopefully, when it comes to dimension, there will be an increased focus on how influencers are influencing meaningful company goals, like earnings, instead of just how many opinions their articles receive.”
Rachel Mercer, SVP, Head of Digital Strategy & Invention in Deutsch
“It is a natural, visceral reaction to feel deceived when studying about those Instagram Pods. However, this isn’t a new behaviour. In recent years we’ve seen bots that automobile comment on articles “like for like” tobots that mechanically like all your friends articles. Because they’re basically emerging micro media firms, influencers are in a space.
“They’re fundamentally at the position they are in because of the creation of quality content for a particular market who shares that interest set. It strengthens their connection and is in their own very best interest whenever they operate with and engage influencers that discuss content. To me, it seems overblown a small network of 30 individuals drastically inflate engagement.”
Brian Salzman, Founder of RQ:
“Today, the majority of influencer partnerships are suspended in a harmful, transaction-based, cover to play version. Influencers are partnering with brands without having any affinity or understanding of its merchandise or the brand. Electronic footprints now proceed to brand once viewed as personable sources of advice. Consumers have caught, where brands and influencers are losing authenticity, and we are at moment in time.
“To begin, manufacturers need to begin coming influencer marketing in the way that a friendship is created – authentic relationships are built gradually over the years, and they start with mutual passion and shared interests. Repairing the broken system is entirely possible, but it will require brands to 1) begin owning their connections, 2) begin learning to recognize real influence in both the electronic AND human spheres, and 3) begin placing a system in place which facilitates natural relationship building between the brand and the influencer as time passes.”