How to Analyze Any Instagram Account for Fake Followers and Likes

HypeAuditor is the most advanced fraud-detection system. We’ll show you how to spot inflated followers and likes without it.

The State of Influencer Marketing

$1.5–2 billion
global spend of influencer marketing industry in 2017. That’s nearly double the money than that in 2016

The market growth is directly linked with the cost-per-post value. How much a blogger would charge for a sponsored post hinges on one’s likes averaged per post and number of followers. This is the reason why fraud eventually became a thing: unscrupulous bloggers start buying likes and comments in bulk so that they can grab more money from brands.

  • Even major league brands (Ritz-Carlton, Aquaphor, L’Occitane, Pampers, Crocs, Olay — the list goes on) would pay bloggers with lots of fake followers (up to almost 80% of the audience) for native ads. SOURCE: Points North Group.
  • Bot comments are the real culprits behind over 40% of total comments for over 500 of 2,000 sponsored posts published daily. SOURCE: Sway.
  • 64 million Instagram accounts could be fake, bots, or inactive. SOURCE: Mediakix.

ways to Cheat and Boost Your Instagram in a Bad Way

Key methods most commonly used to cheat on Instagram are either buying pretty much everything: followers, likes, or comments; or taking part in the engagements pods. Various experts from TNW, Forbes, AdAge, and many independent Influencer Marketing specialists describe these ways as the signs of fake influencers. We’ll show you how you can spot them on your own, without using any services.

Buy Followers

The number-one-used way is to purchase followers.

There is a myriad of services that will help you have brand new 1,000 followers for just $10 — your lunch bill for Steak Burrito at Chipotle.

4 kinds of purchased followers:

  1. Those who get paid to follow specific accounts
    Same as with the incentivized app installs, there are websites where people can earn small money for football tickets just by hitting the “Follow” button
  2. Fake bots
    Thousands of accounts registered only for this specific reason, to follow Instagram users who want to cheat
  3. Stolen or hacked accounts
    Real content and bio remain untouched, that’s why they seem so authentic
  4. Follow-for-follow
    Bloggers use custom apps to play the follow-for-follow game

Bought followers are really easy to see:

  • They sometimes may come from weird places you won’t believe actually exist, with different vernacular, culture, and traditions
  • They follow thousands and thousands of accounts
  • Their accounts look like abandoned houses: the last photo taken at the 2011 Cricket World Cup, bio never updated

You know a blogger bought followers because:

  • There is a spike of followers
  • Likes are all-time low (100 likes per photo with 100,000 following the page). Purchased followers lie dormant
  • High overseas follower count

Check this with HypeAuditor

You can spot purchased followers by sudden spikes on followers graph:

...or by huge percentage of suspicious accounts:

Buy Likes

It does not take a genius to spot purchased followers. And, what’s most importantly, these followers will not like anything, thus flushing your Engagement Rate (ER) down the toilet, and therefore, bloggers would opt for buying likes. Fun fact: the likes would come from the very same knock-off accounts. They are notably distinguishable:

Number of interactions (likes/comments) divided by number of followers
  • Geolocation and language that differ from yours
  • Comments-like ratio is dropping
  • Bloggers sometimes happen to have ER at higher than 100% which, sure enough, is a red flag
  • Often they are not even following the account they like
Besides, alongside the follow-for-follow services, there are also the like-for-like apps

Buy Comments

Same places would also offer you their comments for your posts. It’s usually either script used or real people who won’t bother to even glance at a post and what’s it about. You can’t blame them though: they need to churn out a plethora of likes in a couple of hours. That’s why all of them are just about monosyllabically simple and often so irrelevant, you can spot them half-blind.

Engagement Pods

Engagement pods (comment pods, Instagram pods) are groups of bloggers collaborating to run up their activity. They often gather in Facebook, Telegram or other chats. A blogger from such pod would make a post and throw a link to the chat with some such comment: “likes, comments (3 words and more), saved.” And then he would go up the chat to see the last 10 tasks from other bloggers and carry them out. This method is definitely hard to see with eyes only as there are real people with real accounts and high-quality content, and they would write extended comments.

Check this with HypeAuditor

You can check if comments were not incentivised in “Comments Authenticity” section:

You can check any account for these 4 signs of cheating on your own

For this:
  • Run through the list of the followers and mark the ones you think might be “the bad, inflated ones”
  • After that, check the likes on past 12 posts of a person
  • Then you should check all the comments and pages of the accounts who wrote them

You can go through these steps every time you want to analyze someone’s page. Or let our system do it for you.

Technologies that will tell it all in one click

Our technology can quickly find everything you’ve just read and now need to know.

  1. We collect and aggregate open data from public accounts. We anonymize data, remove outliers and highlight statistical features which we use later. All data is stored in depersonalized form and used for statistics only.
    • Crowdsourcing
    • 3rd party data providers
    • Different Social Media and Catalogues
  2. We use exclusive AI based on marketing expertise data which is reviewing dozens of features. The system uses machine learning. Simpler instruments look for profile pictures and other formal signs — and so can be fooled easily. The AI is learning from people and simulates their behavior. And unlike people, it can work with big data with no coffee breaks.
  3. We give a clean and clear answer — with a number of quality followers, authentic engagement, overall audience quality score. The report also covers qualitative evaluation for each metric.

HypeAuditor can help evaluate the metrics of the market.

Average ER on Instagram sits at 1.66%, with small-scale bloggers having likes and comments from 10-15% of their audience, whereas influencers with more than a million of followers would go above 1% only once in a blue moon.

One more: four-week audience growth for an Instagram influencer higher than 7% is considered good, with small-scale bloggers going with 1% on average, whereas an influencer with a million of followers may show 15% organic growth within the same period.

As you see, comparing bloggers with 5,000 and 5 million followers is not-so-fair play. That is why HypeAuditor brings benchmarks for each metric for bloggers with a similar number of followers.

HypeAuditor combines a scientific approach with deep insight of marketing concepts to provide the best possible comprehensive report on audience quality and authenticity of engagement.

Try it right now:

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