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Is influencer marketing a busted flush?

Written by: Alister Houghton
Published on: 13 Aug 2019




For a while, social influencers were the apple of marketers’ eyes. The rise of social platforms enabling individuals to have huge followings created new, shiny opportunities for marketers to promote products and amplify messages. 

However, the influencer marketing gold rush happened so rapidly that there were very few standards or regulations in place to prevent disingenuous activity. As the sector has matured, there’s been a backlash over fake follower counts, a lack of clarity over paid partnerships and influencers taking money to promote things they have no knowledge about. 

This white paper will explore the issues which have begun to plague influencer marketing and whether the backlash from both audiences and marketers will fatally undermine the sector. 

It will also examine examples of great influencer campaigns and explore how the discipline can evolve to regain the trust which is critical to its success. 


A busted flush. Something which promises so much yet doesn’t deliver. Is that a fair description of influencer marketing? Perhaps not, but some communicators are beginning to question if influencer marketing is worth the money and effort.  

In late 2017, Cision launched a white paper which implored communicators to harness the power of influencer marketing in 2018. Fast forward 18 months, and the discipline’s reputation has taken a beating. 

A series of scandals has left experts questioning the real value of social influencers and whether it’s worthwhile for brands and agencies to use them, particularly given the sums of money which are becoming the norm. 

18 months ago, we said: “With new research from Twitter showing that people now trust influencers almost as much as their closest friends, there’s no question that influencer marketing is here to stay.” 

Fast-forward to today and that’s certainly not the case. The trust which people put in has drastically fallen. For example, this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer found that only 34% of those surveyed trusted social media as a source.  

So, what happened? How did the golden child end up on the naughty step? 


To read more about the future of influencer marketing, including case studies and commentary from; Charlie Bagley – Clarion Communications,  Rebecca Holmes – Splendid Communications,  Barbara Watson – Launch,  Lifestyle influencer Em Sheldon,  Katie Watts – MoneySavingExpert and many more, click HERE to visit the Cision UK site to download the full white paper.