Brands and agencies are fighting follower fraud and tackling transparency and measurement issues to boost the popular marketing practice.

When Unilever CMO Keith Weed announced at June's Cannes Lions festival that the leading CPG company would no longer partner with influencers who buy followers, it was a wake-up call to the industry about the rise of fraud in the practice of influencer marketing. Defined by eMarketer as marketing that "identifies and activates individuals who can sway the brand preferences, buying decisions, and loyalty of the broader population," in practical terms the tactic also refers to how companies compensate celebrities, social media "stars," or industry experts to create content on behalf of brands and endorse products – typically paying them based on their follower count.

"At best it's misleading, at worst it's corrupt," Weed emphasized, while calling on social media platforms such as Google (which owns YouTube) and Facebook (which owns Instagram) to create greater collaboration and transparency around what data is accessed and available to third parties.