How to Check Instagram Account for Fake Followers

Anna Komok

Anna is the Head of Marketing and PR at HypeAuditor, the most accurate and in-depth Instagram and YouTube analytics tool on the market. She is passionate about influencer marketing and Instagram analytics.

Over 60% of Instagram influencers involved in fraud activities and in 2020 business will waste over $1B on advertising to fake audiences.

These numbers are shocking, but they reaffirm the importance of analytics in influencer marketing.

Hopefully, with HypeAuditor it’s super easy to check any Instagram influencer for fake followers and likes. But first, let’s figure out who are these fake followers.

Who are Fake followers?

Fake followers are Instagram bots, stolen accounts, abandoned accounts, and users who use specific tools to artificially boost their number of followers, likes, and comments.

Usually, fake Instagram followers have:

  • zero followers
  • up to 10 posts. In most cases zero posts
  • No profile picture
  • High Ratio of people they follow
  • no posts in the last 30 days
  • Username is filled with random letters and numbers

Fake audience decreases your engagement rate and has an impact on your reach.

At HypeAuditor we count two categories of accounts as fakes: suspicious accounts (most of them bots) and mass followers.

Why do we think that mass followers are fake?

These accounts have too many followers and don’t see your posts in their news feed, they don’t like or comment or use automatization to do these actions. They are inactive followers, just a ballast.

There are three categories of mass followers:

  1. Users who manually subscribe to many accounts, they are a minority.
  2. Users who use special tools to follow other accounts automatically. They can’t see your posts, because all activity from their accounts is made by a special script.
  3. Bots. If an account has over 1500 followers HypeAuditor place this account to the mass followers category.

fake followers on HypeAuditor

How to check an Instagram account for fake followers with HypeAuditor?

There are about 30 metrics in the HypeAuditor report. And to make a conclusion about the quality and authenticity of the account you should study all of them.

Don’t make any conclusions based just on one metric use only one metric e.g. only AQS or followers’ growth graph. You should always study the whole report and look for a complex of data.

Study the audience location data

Here is the audience demographic data for an influencer from France.

As you see, they have 35% of followers from Brazil. It looks suspicious because most of the Brazilians don’t speak French. Other popular suspicious locations: Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Ghana, and etc.

But, before you make any conclusions, make sure that an influencer is not an expat from Brazil or any other country.

Always check the Audience Type

Audience Type metric divides all influencer’s audience into 4 categories:

  • Real people
  • Influencers. These are accounts with over 5K followers
  • Mass followers. Accounts with over 1500 followings
  • Suspicious accounts. Mostly bots.
Audience Type

The big number of mass followers and/or suspicious accounts indicates that followers might be increased artificially.

Every Instagram account has some amount of low-quality audiences, except the really small ones.

Usually accounts with less than 20K followers have the biggest number of low-quality audiences. Some of them increase them artificially, but in most cases, it’s due to a big amount of spam on Instagram. Thousands of accounts use scripts to automatically leave likes, comments and follow other users based on some hashtags or other settings.

Followers’ graph also helps to find fake followers

If you see that the graph rapidly goes up, you should study the influencer’s posts carefully. There are 4 main reasons, why the graph could rocket:

  • Influencer started a giveaway, like-time, etc.
  • Influencer had a shoutout from another influencer with a lot of followers
  • Influencer started to promote their post using Instagram Ads. But in this case, influencer won’t get more than 5K followers in one day.
  • Influencer boosted the followers’ number artificially with bots.
followers grows

At HypeAuditor the graph is analyzed by a maschine learning algorithm, it takes into account hundreds of different patterns and makes conclusions with high accuracy.

Low Engagement Rate is a good indicator of inauthentic audiences

The Engagement rate shows how the audience is engaged in your content. The higher your ER, the better.

Engagement rate Instagram

According to statistics, the more followers you have, the lower is the ER.
This is explained by the fact that over time some accounts get blocked, users leave Instagram, etc. So if you have, for instance, 100K followers, a part of them do not use Instagram anymore.

How does an Instagram alghoritm works?

Another reason is the Instagram algorithm. It takes into account your relations with other users, and if you have even 10K followers, you can’t personally know or communicate somehow with all of them.

The comment rate shows the percentage of an audience leaves comments. At HypeAuditor we use lates 12 posts to calculate this metric. If the comments rate is very hight, it might indicate that most of the comments came from Engagement Pods. In this case, you should check one more metric in the report – Comments Authenticity.

Likes-Comments Ratio shows if an influencer gets more likes or more comments. The significant difference from similar accounts might mean that either comments or likes number was increased artificially.

Likes-Comments Ratio

Likes spread shows the difference in the number of likes between posts. If the spread is too low it might indicate that an account has paid for artificial likes. Normally, followers like some posts more than others. That’s why it’s suspicious if all posts have the same amount of likes.