How to Check Influencers 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.

Each year businesses lose millions of dollars on collaborations with fake followers. According to the State of the Influencer Marketing Research 2022, about 50% of influencers are involved in fraud.

But there are several ways to detect if an influencer has fake followers among their audience. But before we start, let’s figure out what fake followers are?

What are Fake Followers on Instagram?

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

How to find out if Instagram followers are fake? There are several factors that can indicate fake accounts:

  • 0 followers
  • 0 posts
  • No profile picture
  • High Ratio of people they follow
  • 0 posts in the last 30 days
  • The username is filled with random numbers

Are fake followers bad?

Yes. Fake or ghost followers decrease your engagement rate and have an impact on your reach. No one wants to pay influencers who publish content that nobody sees and engages with.

Influencers with fake influencers put a brand’s reputation at risk. Businesses don’t want to work with creators who purchase their followers, they want to partner with influencers who create engaging content and have a loyal audience.

Brands usually prefer to work with creators who have at least a 2% engagement rate. 

How to Check an Influencer’s Instagram Account for Fake Followers?

There are two ways to check if an influencer has fake followers. You can do it manually, but it’s time-consuming and not accurate. Another way is using special tools like HypeAuditor, which provides the best fraud detection solution in the industry.

There are several red flags that might indicate that an influencer has fake followers.

Low engagement rate as a sign of fake followers

An extremely low engagement rate usually indicates that an influencer has ghost followers and inactive audiences.

To understand what engagement rate is considered good, use the industry benchmarks. 

The engagement rate depends on the two main criteria: content category and the number of followers. 

Engagement rate benchmarks 2021

On average, the more followers an influencer has, the lower is their engagement rate. Nano and Micro-influencers tend to have the highest engagement in the market.

Unusual audience location

Audience location can also help you know if an influencer has fake followers. However, you may find it very challenging to find out where an influencer’s audience lives without the right tools. This is where our HypeAuditor Instagram report can help.

For example, here is the audience demographic data of an influencer from the US, who posts content only in English. But a large amount of their audience is located in Iran, which seems suspicious.

audience location

If you notice a large percentage of the audience from an unusual location, it may be worth conducting a more thorough fake follower audit.

Low audience quality

A big number of suspicious accounts and mass followers indicate that the audience was artificially inflated.

Mass followers are Instagram users with more than 1500 followings. In most cases, mass followers take advantage of using the automatic following and unfollowing services. They try to grow their follower count in a very ineffective and inauthentic manner by following tonnes of irrelevant accounts hoping that they will follow back.

How to Check Influencers for Fake Followers

To identify low-quality audiences and spot suspicious accounts, HypeAuditor uses a trained machine learning model that uses more than 53 patterns. It helps us detect over 95% of all known fraudulent activity.

Spikes on the Followers growth graph

Unusual spikes on the follower growth graph might indicate that the number of followers was boosted by some shady methods. If the growth is organic, the curve on the graph is smooth.

But don’t jump to conclusions too soon. The spike on the graph could be organic, for example, if an influencer took part in the TV show, etc.

It can be difficult to distinguish organic growth from inorganic and check if an influencer has fake followers. That’s why HypeAuditor analyzes the graph using a machine learning algorithm and detects inauthentic activity with a high level of accuracy.

How to Check Influencers for Fake Followers

The analysis of an influencer’s account can be difficult and time-consuming. To streamline your work, you can use our proprietary Audience Quality Score or AQS on the HypeAuditor Instagram analytics report. This score shows the overall quality of the account and provides you with brief information about the audience and engagement quality.

How to Check Influencers for Fake Followers

If you are choosing influencers for marketing campaigns it’s critical to ensure that you spend your money on partnerships with authentic influencers who have real audiences. That’s why it’s important to find reliable and accurate Instagram analytics services.

Quick Fake Follower Audit for Instagram

You can also make a quick check of any Instagram account with HypeAuditor’s free tool for Instagram Audit & Fake Follower Check.

Free Instagram Audit & Fake Follower Check by HypeAuditor
HypeAuditor’s Instagram Audit & Fake Follower Check

Simply enter the Instagram account you want to analyze in the search bar and get the instant result. The tool helps you see the AQS for the given account, along with their follower number and Engagement Rate.

The tool doesn’t exactly help you check if influencers’ followers are fake, but their AQS allows you to better understand the quality of the creator and if the game is worth the candle.

And if you want to know a little bit more about creator’s engagement, you can use our Free Instagram Engagement Calculator. You can quickly check influencers’ engagement and benchmark it against other influencers with similar audiences. You will also find their follower count and the average number of likes and comments.

Free Engagement Calculator by HypeAuditor
HypeAuditor’s Engagement Calculator

With HypeAuditor Instagram Reports, you can analyze the quality of an influencer’s audience, engagement rate, comments authenticity, and get in-depth audience insights, such as country, age, gender, interests, and more.

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