‘Influencer marketing in India lacks value for money spent’

Have been digging into the past about how influencer marketing works?

Whats is there for brands to invest more in influencer marketing?

Why there is so much hype with the new generation to become an influencer?

I have been in talks with many influencer marketing managers in the past, but I can’t quote them. This is the actual scenario of how influencer marketing works in India and the necessary steps to be taken.

So it starts with a brand approaching influencer marketing agencies to run their campaign. It can be generating sales, getting page views, awareness or reaching their target audience.

Once the agency has the brief, they levy a charge of 20% fees to run this campaign, which is a standard market practice.

As soon as they understand the brand’s requirements, they make a campaign and suggest names of influencers to the client.

There is a catch here — why new influencers don’t get a chance. Most agencies work with the selected influencers. Because these influencers are known to them and share good relations with the agencies.

Step 1 – Calculating influencer worth… or charges per post?

Now there is a general rule — that 10% of followers is what an influencer can normally charge. Suppose you have 10k followers, then you can charge Rs.1000 per Point of Sale (POS). There is no formula to check the authenticity of followers or justification of why Rs.1000 per post. So larger the number of followers, the more you can charge per story. This leads influencers to take help of third-party apps and get bots as followers on their pages.

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Let’s say the agency has their 10 fixed influencers and rest they choose online from Facebook groups. Now the agency negotiates with an influencer and says that the budget is low, so this (an x amount) is what we can pay. But the reality is, the more the agency negotiates, the more a profit it makes. Working around 10 influencers, the agency can easily pocket 30k per campaign, based on their negotiations. Now one can say that this is not a fair practise, but this is the way the influencer markerting industry is currently functioning in India.

Step 2 – The campaign

Now that the negotiations are done, and the influencer gets the campaign details, the brand hardly meets its target audience. Why?

Almost all the influences right from celebrities to common influencers have purchased bots. So it is challenging for a brand to figure this out, and the agencies really don’t care about this. Moreover, to achieve the numbers and target reach, agencies themselves use third-party applications to inflate influencer engagements.

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Result: Agency wins, while brands lose. The brand’s loss is about not reaching the target audience and the influencer has to worry about the bots. Though it should be mentioned here that the Instagram algorithm does detect such activities and can shadowban users.


The influencer industry is still booming, but we need to standardise the rates and calculation of reach for all influencers. Influencers also need to focus on their niche and try to get followers who resonate with their personality. When an influencer has such followers, the engagement numbers will increase and thus their worth. Brand managers should also insist on fair practice.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of any other individual, organisation or this website.
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