How to do Instagram Fake Followers Check?

Tanya Kumbhat
November 22, 2018
May 12, 2021
10
min read

How do you know if the influencers you have in mind are truly authentic?

More than ever before, brands are all bringing up concerns about the authenticity of social media influencers. Due to many infamous ways of buying Instagram followers, follower count is not enough to measure an influencer’s popularity as it can be artificially inflated. That’s why influencer marketing tools like Affable.ai are born to provide brands with data-driven analytics and make their decision-making more precise and efficient.

So, how can brands detect those fake Instagram followers and find the right influencers for their influencer marketing campaigns? Let's find out…

What are Fake Followers & Where do Fake Followers Come From?

Fake followers are Instagram accounts that are created for the sole purpose of boosting the number of followers on Instagram accounts. These profiles are not of real people, brands or individuals, but are created by agencies that sell followers, comments, or likes to boost an influencer's or brand's profile.

Some aspiring influencers or new brands may buy followers to maximize their account's earning potential or impact. The number of followers has a significant impact on the perceived influence of any influencer. Gaining followers organically has been a difficult task, with so many influencers and new brands out there creating so much content. The competition is enormous, making it difficult to gain real followers, so there's an increase in buying of fake followers.

The Impact of Hiring an Influencer With Fake Followers

Being a victim of influencer fraud can be damaging in several ways. The most significant ones include:

  • Waste of valuable money and time - One of the biggest impacts of hiring a fake influencer is the dent in the marketing budget and the loss of time. Fake influencers can bleed you dry while generating no significant result, slicing your marketing ROI. Brands end up losing money invested in the campaign, and the effort and time it takes to map and manage the campaign is an additional loss.
  • Dip in your brand reputation - Fake influencers aren't known for their credibility. They are infamous for using poor tactics to grow their account's followers. Your brand reputation is also likely to get tarnished by associating with and collaborating with such influencers. Influencer fraud can harm the brand reputation and break the trust you've worked so hard to gain.
  • Decreased social engagement- Since the influencer has fake followers (not real people), they cannot engage with your brand's content. This impacts your brand's social engagement and reach.

Does Instagram Clean fake followers?

Instagram is against influencers buying followers. Therefore, they regularly check influencers' accounts for unethical practices. If it suspects fake accounts that leave spam comments, follow thousands of unrelated accounts, it removes them. Instagram has stated that it may punish people who use phony follower services and that it may limit access to certain features for such accounts.

How to do a Fake Follower Check?

There are several ways to do a fake followers audit on Instagram. We'll discuss how you can check fake followers manually and with an Influencer Marketing Platform- Affable.ai.

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Manual Instagram Follower Audit

It is quite simple to check whether an account is suspicious or not. Let's look at the profile below. The number of posts and the staggering following-to-follower ratio clearly indicate that this is a dummy account. Despite how easy it sounds like, this method is really time-consuming and quite impossible to implement as you cannot check thousands of followers in an influencer's account.

5 steps to detect fake followers on Instagram are

  1. Check the profile bio/ Information
  2. Check for an unnatural rate of activity in the influencer's account
  3. Does followers' accounts look real or active to you?
  4. Check for weird commenting patterns on the influencer's posts
  5. Check other Social Media accounts

Check who the followers are

Going through the influencer's followers is a good place to start. Here's what you need to look for:

Do the followers' accounts look real or active to you? Check if the followers have:

  • Profile pictures
  • 'real' names. For example, @u_stole_my_heart looks real, but @donjhonson765432af could be a bot
  • Posted real photos with the same person
  • More than 6 posts
  • Followers/followings – see the trend there
  • Likes and comments for their posts

Suspicious accounts will have very little information about the profile with less or no posts at all. If you notice that the followers' accounts have no profile pic, poorly written bios, or no bio at all, these can all be a sign of a fake follower. Use your intuition here – if a follower account seems odd or off, the chances are that it is a fake account.

Check for an unnatural rate of activity in the influencer's account

If you see fluctuations in the influencer's account activity, they have probably engaged bot services to earn a sufficient number of followers for a few days. If the activity stops abruptly or fluctuates, the influencer could be fake. A real influencer's account activity will have no such imbalance for the most part. The level of engagement will be steady.

Check for weird commenting patterns on the influencer's posts.

Advanced bot services are programmed to leave comments on the influencer's posts to make them seem real. But, it's easy to determine a fake comment because the comments are too robotic and generic, usually simple one or two-word comments, such as "good job," "nice," or "beautiful."

Once you're done with these three checks, then you can confidently analyze whether an influencer has fake followers or not. As mentioned before, use your judgment and trust your intuition.

Check for Fake Followers with Affable.ai's Influencer Marketing Platform

Doing an Instagram fake follower audit manually can be a time-consuming task. You do not want to waste your precious time on these robotic tasks, especially when an AI tool can do it for you in seconds, with just a few clicks.

With Affable.ai, you get access to our extensive Instagram influencer database and can find authentic influencers in no time. Influencers with a high percentage of suspicious followers may be an indication that they are using questionable techniques to inflate their numbers.

According to our Instagram influencer analytics, on average, an influencer account has from 5% – 15% suspicious followers.

Our algorithm looks at various criteria to gauge the authenticity of the influencers. These factors include:

  • Engagement Rate

    If this is not enough, our algorithm also looks at other criteria to gauge its authenticity. You can easily check their engagement rate, which is a critical factor as it measures the level of interaction from followers for the content created by influencers. You can also compare an influencer's engagement rate with other similar influencers to choose the best influencer for your campaign!
  • Follower Growth Over Time

    Another statistic worth looking into is follower growth over time. Affable.ai measures the follower growth over time of influencers to help you distinguish organic growth from induced growth. Sharp spikes typically suggest that the account achieved a mass-following in a short span. These spikes happened for several reasons, such as giveaways, partnerships with big-name brands, influencer scandals, or buying fake followers. Regardless of the reasons behind this, marketers should always be cautious when seeing concurrent spikes as below.
  • Followers' Location

    Our AI-based tool allows you to access the location of an influencer's followers. By looking at the followers' demographics, you can get an idea of whether the influencer's account is fake or real. For example, if you want to engage a food-loving customer base in California and you find a California-based influencer, but Affable's AI tool shows the followers' demographics to be based in Asia. That's when you realize the influencer is a fake or someone who isn't beneficial for your brand.

Start Finding Fake Followers Wtih Help Of Affable.ai

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Additional Benefits of Using Affable.ai

Besides providing analytics on existing influencers, Affable.ai also allows brands to add new profiles into our Instagram influencer database. By clicking on a particular influencer, their complete profile will be immediately added to our platform and delivered to your email in minutes!

To help brands find the right influencers for their campaigns, we also provide other insightful statistics such as influencer's brand affinity, audience demographic, audience's brand affinity, and so on. With a massive Instagram influencer database together with machine learning algorithms, Affable.ai is one of the best influencer marketing platforms to help brands Run High Impact Data-Driven Influencer Marketing Campaigns.

For more information and our features, check out affable.ai and sign up for a free trial today!

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