Recently at HypeAuditor, we’ve studied over 50,000 Instagram influencers from the US and UK. We’ve grouped influencers together into 6 Tiers, depending on their follower count, and checked their audience quality.

The study shows that celebrities and influencers with millions of followers have, in general, 28.44% of a low-quality audience.  It is noteworthy that UK macro-influencers have 26.66% of a low-quality audience, while US influencers have 30.23%.

This number is even higher amongst micro-influencers, by comparing one with another we revealed that on average over 50% of their audience is of a low-quality. The data shows that the fewer followers an influencer has, the higher their percentage of a low-quality audience.

At HypeAuditor we believe that this happens for several reasons:

  • disorderly use of hashtags which leads to the growing number of mass-followers;
  • using ineffectual Instagram growth services and shoutouts to influencers without checking their accounts for fraud;
  • purchasing followers.

The study also shows that 29.24% of likes and comments on the Instagram accounts of celebrities are non-authentic, and this percentage tends to be even higher for micro-influencers.

It is worth noting that UK micro-influencers have 40.63% of non-authentic engagement and compared to 50.6% in the US. The reasons for this are the same as those which lead to the growth of low-quality followers.

This study shows that influencer marketing is far from transparent. As long as influencers and advertisers are guided by vanity metrics such as follower count and engagement rate, bloggers will continue to buy followers, likes, and comments and will also use other methods in order to artificially increase these metrics.

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