7 Reasons Why Brands Fail with Influencer Marketing

7 Reasons Why Brands Fail with Influencer Marketing

Why brands fail often with influencer marketing? Let me count the ways…

You see, it all starts on a high note.  All the enthusiasm around working with influencers pulls you in like a magnet.  You’re sold onto the idea of sponsored posts and lots of sales.  But somehow your wonderful plans go downhill.

And here you are.  Confused and discouraged.  What went wrong?

Here to pull you out of your blues, we’ll be exposing common brand fails of influencer marketing.

And the good news is that while we pluck at the causes of your influencer marketing fails, we’ll also address some of the important factors for running successful campaigns.

So, let’s see where you could be failing and why brands fail and problem-solve your way up to influencer marketing success.

1. Poor Perks

Poor Perks

Many brands that are new to influencer marketing struggle with understanding how to compensate influencers.  Stuck between wanting to give it a try while at the same time trying to minimize risk can lead to offering influencers poor incentives.

Remember:  the goal of your influencer perks package is to give influencers an incentive to promote your brand.  But not just any influencers.  You want to offer the right rewards in order to attract the right influencers.  And your offer should be worth the effort of their investment of time and resources put into promoting your brand to their followers.

To determine what perks you should offer, you need to assess the kinds of influencers you’re trying to reach.

Commission Only Perks

Offering a commission on sales is an ideal way to minimize risk and it’s also a great solution for brands with limited resources.

The only problem is that this reward method may not be attractive enough for experienced influencers with established audiences.  Unless your commission offer is very generous and you’re selling hot products.

Offering commission only is usually acceptable for nano-influencers that are keen on increasing their portfolio of brand collaborations.

But if you’re looking to be more competitive, consider packaging this offer with other incentives such as pay-per-post sponsorship or free products.


The perk that flies in the influencer universe is pay-per-post sponsorships.  Offering cash for publicity will get more quality influencers saying yes to promoting your brand.

Influencers with larger audiences and higher engagement rates come at higher price tags.

Also, an important consideration to make is the expected deliverables.  If you want an influencer to produce a YouTube video, the cost of collaborating with them would not be the same as getting an influencer to publish an image on Instagram.

In order to determine a fair pay-per-post offer, consider the quality of influencers you’d like to reach as well as what you’d like them to produce for the campaign.

2. Targeting the Wrong Influencers

Targeting the Wrong Influencers

Collaborating with the right influencers is all about determining audience fit.

And before you can target the right influencers for your brand, you must understand the demographics of your target customers.

Even a great brand in the wrong audience can easily explain why brands fail here.

The Number of Followers

There’s more to an influencer than the number of followers they have.  You don’t have to chase down a macro-influencer for a collaboration just because you feel you need to reach millions of people.  Macro-influencers hard to reach and they don’t come cheap.  So this may not be an ideal strategy if you’re cash-strapped.

Consider collaborating with quality micro-influencers instead.  They’re more affordable, easily accessible and the bonus is that they usually have higher engagement rates.

Influencer Niche

The first layer of reaching the right influencers, is matching your brand with influencers that create content in the same category.  Don’t let the size of an influencer distract you from paying attention to the niche compatibility with your brand.

Promoting your brand to the wrong niche won’t get you positive results.

Influencer Demographics

Here’s where the comprehensive details of an influencer’s profile should be considered.  Again, to determine if there is an audience fit.

Audience location, gender, age, and purchasing power are all important considerations.

If you have shipping limitations of your products, you should consider collaborating with influencers with audiences that you are able to ship to.

Also, the price point of the products you are trying to promote should match their audience’s buying power.

Be careful not to overdo your influencer criteria but at the same time do take care when setting out influencer profile requirements.

Ideally, you want to achieve a sweet spot with your influencer filters – well enough to get that golden audience fit.

Influencer Social Media Platform

Not all influencers are active across all social media platforms and they don’t necessarily carry the same influence throughout every platform that they’re active on.

And also remember that each social media platform has its own demographic characteristics.

Again, it all comes down to where your target customers are hanging out.  Pay attention to influencers that can help reach your audience on the right platform.

3. Inefficient Influencer Recruiting 

Inefficient Influencer Recruiting

Embarking on the process of recruiting influencers can feel like you’re falling down a rabbit hole.  Especially if you’re doing it manually.  Searching for profiles that match your brand, running profile checks, and engaging with influencers can become overly demanding and time consuming – so much that it discourages you from progressing with your influencer marketing initiatives.

Influencer Matching Platforms

Save yourself from the burdensome tasks of influencer recruiting by signing up on an influencer matching platform like Afluencer.  The great thing about this tool is that you can reach a pool of influencers in your category in just a few clicks – relieving you of all the hassle.  And because of the ease of use, you’re able to achieve your influencer marketing milestones at a faster pace.

4. Poorly Executed Influencer Campaigns

Poorly Executed Influencer Campaigns

I’ve seen it.  A great brand with great products engages a fairly decent influencer but the campaign is a flop.  The common culprit?  Rushing it.  The pressure to get a campaign activated can lead to important details and needs being overlooked.

Unclear Goals

“Without a goal, you can’t score.” – Casey Neistat

You simply can’t be successful without knowing what you’re trying to achieve.  Before you activate any influencer marketing campaign, clearly define your goal.  Are you aiming for sales?  How many sales?  Are you targeting engagement of your brand?  Or do you simply want brand visibility and if so what are the numbers you’re aiming for?

Of course, all your goals should be within reason.  Also consider the influencer’s capacity based on their follower numbers and engagement rates when setting your goals.

Poor Timing

There are good days and good times to post on social media.  The platform and even the influencer’s audience may determine the most ideal time to post – you really don’t want your campaign to fail simply because content was published at the wrong time.  And if you’re paying your influencer per-post, ensure that your campaign goes live at an optimum time.

Be mindful of current affairs, special seasons and extra-ordinary events that may affect the performance of your influencer campaign.  You may need to adjust your timing based on these factors.


If you’re working with an experienced influencer with a proven track record, they already know all the important elements of a promotional piece of content.

However, if you’re engaging nano-influencers that are still learning the trade, you’ll need to provide sufficient guidance regarding the production of the content.

Hashtags, captions and the media of each post should tick all the boxes for your brand.  Failing to include important information about your product could lead to weak results.

Something as simple as using a broken link will wreck your entire campaign.  So take care and ensure influencers are publishing content correctly.

Insufficient Airtime

Not everyone will add-to-cart at first sight.  Actually, not every product has the ability to turnover impulsive buys.  If the window-period of a product purchase is long, then this means that a once-off promotional post won’t cut it for you.

Audience nurturing may be required to turn over sales for some products.  If this is the case for your brand, you should engage your influencers for multiple posts over an ideal period in order to give your campaign a good chance at succeeding.

No Tracking

As with any online marketing investment, you should implement measures to track performance of influencer campaigns.  One common method is using custom influencer discount codes to track sales.  But perhaps going the extra mile to set up an affiliate link for influencers is an ideal way to also track pre-sales activity.

An efficient tracking system will enable you to see what’s working, what’s not working, and the hotspots that require optimization.

Unreasonable Expectations

Some brands expect to hit the jackpot after their first influencer campaign.  Some expect influencers to work miracles.  Thumb-sucking expectations is a recipe for disappointment.  Besides understanding buyer trends in your industry, you should also take into consideration reasonable influencer performance.

Just because an influencer has 100,000 followers does not mean that your campaign will reach every single one of their followers.  Practically, >3% of their audience will engage on a post.  And post visibility is another variable that depends on the influencer.

Number of impressions, engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates are some of the key metrics to take note of when putting influencer marketing expectations into perspective.

Collaboration Agreement

To avoid many of these blunders, a collaboration agreement will set out all the deliverables expected of the influencer.  Avoid letting your campaign hang in the air – especially if you’re investing a considerable amount of money into influencer sponsorships.

Clearly outlining targets and expectations will help ensure that risks are minimized.  And the great thing about having a collaboration agreement is that it is created and agreed on before any campaign work is done.

5. Weak Brand Image

Weak Brand Image

No matter how good an influencer is, if your brand is not up to standard then your campaign will struggle.

It’s important to pay attention to your brand’s online presentation – from your website to your social media.  If it’s unattractive, influencers will be discouraged from working with you.  No one wants to promote a brand that doesn’t look good.

Unmarketable Products or Services

Sometimes a business just doesn’t have a great product or service that is appealing to the market.  It could be that there isn’t sufficient demand for what you’re offering.

This is something to be aware of especially if you have a new business or you’ve just launched a new product.  If this is the case for you, then perhaps you should take an experimental approach to your influencer campaign and deliberate on product development after you gather sufficient results from your market.

Poor Reputation

If your reputation isn’t good, you certainly won’t be able to hide it from influencers.  And even if they promote your brand, it is inevitable that the condition of your reputation will come to surface.

Instead of running a typical promotional campaign, perhaps you could consider engaging influencers to help mend and improve your brand image through well-crafted messaging.

It’s important to implement the right solutions that best fit your brand’s current needs.

6. Lack of Influencer Resources

Lack of Influencer Resources

Influencers that are ill-equipped may not be able to deliver performing campaigns.  Depending on the nature of your products or services, it may be necessary to organise a training session for your influencers.

Whether it’s technical details or new features, your influencers should thoroughly understand your products and services in order to effectively promote your brand.  Provide them with all the necessary information, tools and support.

Also consider if it would be beneficial to send product samples or offer service demos.  Giving your influencers hands-on experience with your products and services will help add value to the delivery of the campaign.

Remember that your influencer is an extension of your brand and they should be empowered to represent your brand – from creating content to engaging with people.

7. Low Influencer Engagement

Your campaign is active and so far, you’ve ticked all the important boxes.  But there’s one small thing that may make or break your campaign.  And that is the engagement activity of your influencer.

If there is an inflow of comments and pre-sales questions on your campaign, and your influencer does not respond to them, your potential conversion rate will take a negative blow.

Ensure that you have a dedicated resource that is responsible for handling engagements on your campaign posts – whether you assign this task to the influencer or you attend to it on your end.

And should you decide that the influencer will be taking on this responsibility, remember to include this in the collaboration agreement.

Conclusion: Why Brands Fail with Influencer Marketing

Yes, influencer marketing is thrilling.

Yes, influencer marketing can also be immensely demanding of your time and resources.

And you bet, your first experiences may be challenging – as with all new things.

But now you know why brands fail and more importantly how to set your influencer marketing up for success with favorable perks, targeting the right influencers, efficiently recruiting influencers through platforms like Afluencer, executing influencer campaigns successfully, creating a positive brand image, providing influencers with sufficient resources, and ensuring that campaign engagements are managed.

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Why Brands Fail FAQs

What caused the brand to fail?

There are several reasons that can cause a brand to fail in influencer marketing. One of the main reasons is collaborating with the wrong influencer. When brands choose an influencer that doesn’t match their target audience, their efforts will surely go to waste. The key to a successful influencer strategy is understanding the demographics of your target customers. In that way, you’ll know what type of influencer to hire for the campaign.

Why do clothing brands fail?

Clothing brands sometimes fail due to an inadequate understanding of the industry and the product itself. Due to the large competition, carefully studying the product and your competitors can help a brand create a product that can stand out in the market. More than that, doing research can help brands set the right price that makes sense for their target consumers.

Why a product fails in the market?

Here are the reasons why a product fails in the market:

1. The quality of the product is poor.
2. Price mismatch (Price is too high or too low)
3. Product is introduced in the market at the wrong time.
4. Poor product awareness.

What is the reason for failure of brands in India?

In order to succeed in India, brands need to have a clear understanding of the market and consumers. According to a recent study, the top three reasons are:

1. Poor understanding of the Indian consumer
2. Lack of adeptness at managing distribution
3. Underestimating the competition

What is a brand failure?

A brand failure refers to a brand’s inability to maintain its presence in the market which can potentially lead product failure and loss of profit. If you want to avoid brand failure, you need to focus on getting your target customers’ interest and curiosity. Study your customer’s demographics to spark interest and from there, the engagement will follow. The more engagement you get, the more potential sales can be converted.

If you're looking to start or improve your influencers, you should first understand why brands fail with influencer marketing and learn from their mistakes.

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Natalie Weber
Natalie Weber

Natalie Weber is an expert on Influencer Marketing. Natalie is chief 411 for Afluencer, a top social media influencer platform. Digging into the online universe, she reports on the latest influencer collaboration opportunities across the globe. If she's not creating fun content features for brands, you'll catch her producing social media videos for them too. She loves creating and she loves inspiring good vibes. Good energy and good coffee is how she rolls on the daily.

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