How to check an influencer 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.

In 2020 business will lose over $1B in advertising to fake followers. According to the State of the Influencer Marketing Research 2020, about 50% of influencers artificially inflated their performance metrics.

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.

Usually, fake Instagram followers have:

  • 0 followers
  • 0 posts
  • No profile picture
  • High Ratio of people they follow
  • 0 posts in the last 30 days
  • 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. Besides, brands 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 or using special tools e.g., HypeAuditor, which provides the best fraud detection solution in the industry.

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

Low engagement rate could be an indicator of fake followers

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

To understand what engagement rate is considered as Good, check it with the industry benchmarks

Engagement rate depends on the content category:

How to check an influencer for fake followers

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

Unusual audience location

It’s impossible to check audience location without a special tool, thus we’ll look at this case using the HypeAuditor Instagram report.

Here is the audience demographic data of an influencer from the US, who posts content only in English. But a big amount of audience is located in Brazil and Russia.

HypeAuditor Audience location
Audience location at HypeAuditor Instagram Report

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 followers’ count in such an inauthentic and quite an ineffective manner by following tonnes of irrelevant accounts hoping them to follow back.

Audience type
Audience type metric at HypeAuditor Instagram Report

Spikes on the Followers growth graph

Unusual spikes on followers 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.

Don’t jump to conclusions. The spike on the graph could also be organic, e.g. an influencer took part in the TV show, etc.

It could be difficult to distinguish organic growth from inorganic. HypeAuditor analyses the graph using a machine learning algorithm and with the high accuracy detects inauthentic activity.

Growth analyses  at HypeAuditor Instagram Report
Growth analyses  at HypeAuditor Instagram Report
Growth analyses at HypeAuditor Instagram Report

The analyses of an influencer’s account could be difficult and time-consuming. To facilitate it you can use 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 an audience and engagement quality.

Audience Quality Score  at HypeAuditor Instagram Report
Audience Quality Score at HypeAuditor Instagram Report

If you are choosing influencers for marketing campaigns it’s critical to ensure that your money would be spent on real audiences. Thus it’s important to find reliable and accurate Instagram analytics services.

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