The Influencer Loop Giveaway
June 2021

By Millie Bridges

At the moment it seems that almost every other Instagram Story and in-feed post is giving users the opportunity to win a cash prize, a collection of handbags, shopping vouchers, or even a holiday (we’ll take all four, please).

The most noticeable of these giveaways are those from influencers, who are often pictured with an abundance of designer gear and tech bundles.

At first glance it may seem that they have very generously gone out and spent an absolute fortune on lavish prizes for their followers. But for the most part, this is not the case. The next time you see a Love Island contestant or Kar-Jenner surrounded by LV suitcases, handbags, purses, and jewellery on the ‘gram, don’t be fooled into thinking they’re put out of pocket (not that this is even possible for Kylie?).

 

Known as a ‘loop’ giveaway, brands and smaller influencers pay a marketing firm to be on a ‘must-follow’ list, and the marketing agency then pays a macro influencer to post about the giveaway. The entry requirements are to ‘simply’ (as they word it in giveaway posts) like the post, follow everyone that the agency is following, which is usually around 50-70 accounts, and then comment ‘done’.

Everyone’s a winner, right? Smaller brands and micro-influencers are gaining thousands of followers, the marketing agency makes a healthy profit, larger influencers can charge a pretty penny for the giveaway post, and most importantly one lucky Instagram user will win a crazy amount of prizes.

Now, there’s a few issues here. The first being: who is actually winning these lavish giveaways? There are too many agencies running loop giveaways to name, but we can count on our hand the number of marketing firms that are transparent about the users who have won, and their prizes.

Vox.com’s Allie Jones actively reached out to numerous alleged winners of these loop giveaways, but no one responded to her requests for comment, or provided information on how they were awarded their prize. If that’s not fishy, we don’t know what is?

 

 

Furthermore, the UK digital agency Play Social has recently come under fire for promoting unlicenced cosmetic surgery and aesthetic pages as well as gambling accounts to the young followers of reality TV influencers. The audiences of the influencers promoting the giveaways are too young to even use half of the must-follow products, and many are not the target audiences of these brands.

The fear is that younger users believe that reality TV stars know the accounts they are promoting and have used or verified them in some way. As is the case with many influencers selling products on Instagram nowadays, they have no clue what they are promoting or the effect on those they are pitching to.

Put simply, we may never get to the bottom of whether we can really win £30,000 worth of Gucci. But for now, we’re staying sceptical AF.

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