It happens to the best of families: it is not only the small, niche influencers that are suspected of having fake Instagram followers, but also some of the most famous, established ones have actually significantly smaller audience than one thinks!
Fasthosts, a big web hosting company based in the UK, ran social audits using Hype Auditor and weighted the results against the number of biggest celebrities’ Instagram accounts, to reveal the percentage of fake followers.
Top of the list is Kylie Jenner with 40% of her Instagram followers being fake: that is almost 90 million fake followers!
|Rank||Influencer & Instagram Handle||Category||No Instagram Followers||Engagement rate %||% of suspicious accounts||% of fake followers|
|1||Kylie Jenner@kyliejenner||Fashion, Beauty, Modeling||223.5M||3.5%||28.50%||40%|
|2||Kendall Jenner@kendalljenner||Modelling, Fashion, Lifestyle||157.6M||3.58%||27.20%||37%|
|7||Kim Kardashian West@kimkardashian||Family, Fashion, Lifestyle||212.3M||1.32%||25.60%||34%|
|12||Addison Rae@addisonraee||Beauty, Lifestyle||37.1M||7.28%||24.50%||32%|
|13||Gigi Hadid@gigihadid||Modelling, Lifestyle||65M||5.53%||23.90%||31%|
|15||Ursula Corbero@ursololita||Film, Modelling||20.9M||13.21%||23.50%||31%|
|17||Kylian [email protected]||Sport||48.9M||3.92%||23.40%||31%|
Instagram, and for that matter all other social networks, claim that the scammers are always one step ahead in circumventing the system, and that they will never be able to completely eliminate the fake followers, thus leaving the job to brands and the professional influencers to trace and eliminate the fake ones in their account.
It is important to remember that it is not just people wanting to inflate their follower lists who have fake followers. Virtually everybody on Instagram has some. This includes genuine influencers (and probably your own account).
This is why most other influencer marketing businesses rely on online tools to detect fraudulent accounts—and influencers who profit from them. All of these tools (like for instance Social Audit Pro, IG Audit, Hypr, HypeAuditor, and Famoid) differ slightly in the way they operate, but the basic idea is the same: they’re all looking for deviations from the norm.
Another metric that marketing companies are looking at is a potential influencer’s engagement rate: a quality influencer will have engagement (likes and comments) of about 1.5-3% of their followers, e.g., if an influencer has 100,000 followers, you should see 1,500 – 3,000 likes and comments (combined) on an average post. An engagement rate of 1 percent is okay for many influencers, depending on their niche. Engagement rates well above this range though are suspicious, as it can be due to artificial engagement techniques, such as being part of an engagement group (influencers work together, commenting and liking each other’s posts to boost their statistics).