5 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Fails?

5 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Fails?

Influencer marketing is a dynamic field with regards to strategy and guidelines for executing campaigns. It is an evolving space for all entities involved, be it brands, creators or regulatory authorities. It is given that mistakes will happen when defining the norms for influencer marketing which was new and upcoming at the time. As a result, there will be a few influencer marketing fails.

Knowing the do’s and don’ts of influencer marketing campaigns, having a robust strategy and understanding the in’s and out’s of the influencer marketing industry is the key to avoid influencer marketing fails and succeed. Today, we will discuss five instances and understand the reasons behind these influencer marketing fails.

Kim Kardashian

In July 2017, Kim Kardashian published a post promoting the morning sickness pill Diclegis. The post has close to 700K likes and 8600+ comments. She violated FDA guidelines when she did not disclose the side-effects of the pill. She issued a correction and amended her post after she received a warning. This incident caused many pharmaceutical companies to re-evaluate their influencer marketing campaigns and strategy.

Bethany Mota

Bethany Mota had agreed to promote a skincare brand Studio71 in her YouTube videos. She had promised to create videos promoting the brand for a fee of $325,000. The brand filed a lawsuit against the influencer and her father (also the manager) when she failed to follow through on the agreement.

Laura Lee

In 2012, beauty YouTuber Laura Lee published some racist tweets. These tweets were leaked in August 2018 causing outrage among people on social media. As a result, she lost hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Many of her brand collaborations were halted immediately and many brands terminated their association with her.


In June 2018, YouTuber Tana Mongreau held a free two-day event as a response to her negative experiences at the popular VidCon. The event was a disaster as more than 20,000 people showed up and the event had to be cancelled outright. Many fans expressed their anger online and her reputation took a pretty serious blow.


Yes, you read it right. The world’s top YouTube creator has had his share of influencer marketing fails. He has face backlash frequently for anti-Semitic and racist comments on his channel. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. PewDiePie defended his content saying that he creates jokes and likes to “push boundaries”. He has faced consequences as YouTube has stopped ads on some of his videos and cancelled the second season of his YouTube Red show, Scare PewDiePie. Disney has terminated its partnership with the YouTube sensation.

Bonus: Logan Paul

YouTuber Logan Paul publishes prank videos and vlogs. In 2017, he showed a dead body in one of his videos. This incident caused a serious outrage online. Despite a disclaimer about the content and the video talking about suicide awareness, people remarked that he was making fun of suicide. One of the weirdest influencer marketing fails, YouTube temporarily suspended his channel from their top tiers ad network, Google Preferred. He has since apologised stating, “I have made severe and continuous lapse of judgement.”

Avoid Influencer Marketing Fails

Follow the Rules: One of the major reasons why influencer marketing campaigns fail is not complying with the guidelines laid out by regulatory authorities like the FTC. The sponsored nature of the collaboration needs to be made explicit.

Communicate and Set Expectations Clearly: Avoid potential legal issues by ensuring the expectations and deliverables are clearly set and communicated between all entities. This extends to setting realistic goals and deadlines for executing the campaign.

Due Diligence: It is imperative that both parties are on the same page when launching an influencer marketing campaign. It is important to understand the audience being targeted and what channel is being used. Choosing the right influencer is critical. The influencer should be a natural fit for the brand, its messaging and its values.

Authenticity: Audience knows an inauthentic campaign with an inauthentic message when it sees one. Authenticity is the name of the game with influencer marketing. Sometimes, being authentic requires the brand to allow creative freedom to influencers. This will help the campaign leverage the individuality of the social media influencer and shine bright in the minds of the audience.

Preparation: Lack of preparation is one of the key reasons behind influencer marketing fails. Map out every step of the campaign to avoid surprises for all stakeholders. Measuring the performance of the campaign is important to gain insights and learnings from the campaign for future optimizations.