Influencer marketing is still relatively new but brands who are working on this will definitely agree that the number of followers/subscribers of an influencer is a key metric. This number is crucial for the initial decision making and pitching process. Other details and consideration factor aside, having a huge following will at least mean that a significant amount of audience will be seeing the brand message.
Why are fake followers a cause for concern?
Brands are paying influencers based on the size of their fanbase and so it is important to understand the composition and quality of these followers. You wouldn’t want to spend your marketing budget on audiences who are either fake or inactive with near 0% conversion rate.
Just imagine this. A hghly sought after influencer who has around 200,000 followers can request $2,000 or more for each endorsed post on Instagram. However, the influencer has a 18% fake/inactive followers and that means you are essentially only reaching 164,000 true audience. That is a total lost of $360 of your marketing budget!!
Brands and influencer/content creator themselves spend hours of hard work crafting the perfect content for the audiences but these messages may be lost in the sea of fake followers. Fake followers skew numbers, exploding number of following but lowering engagement rate – which is one of a key indicator of success for a campaign and influencer performance. All these makes it increasingly challenging for brands to understand the true ROI of their campaign.
Now as influencer marketers, we all have the same burning question. In this article, we will guide you through everything about fake followers on one of the most popular social media platform – Instagram.
How can we identify a fake follower from the rest?
These are Instagram accounts which are not owned by real human but operated by bots. One example of such software is Instagress, which has been closed down. These bots identify keywords that you will like to target and gives likes or comments for 24 hours everyday. In turn, this will increase your account’s exposure, likes and following.
These are Instagram accounts owned by people who followed an influencer but stopped interacting for a long period of time. These accounts do not engage in activities such as likes or comments and are essentially the ghosts of Instagram. Any marketing budget spent on reaching these audiences will be wasted as campaign’s content will not reach them and there will not be a potential customer.
In general, the problem is more prominent among celebrities and large influencers but still exists with micro-influencers as well. MIcro-influencers usually build their social communities in a slower but more organic way through attracting genuine followers with their creativity/art or lifestyle.
What can brands do?
Of course, brands can manually go through the list of followers of their desired influencer to monitor the quality of her followers but that is nearly physically impossible and a probably a waste of resources. What brands can do is to make use of software available in the market such as Popular Chip’s proprietary Influencer Search Engine and Analytics platform.
The platform not only allows bands to search for but also to compare influencers across several key metrics, one of them being the inactive rate for followers. This helps brands to make quick and effective choices that will maximize their ROI when deciding between various proposed influencers.
Another way brands can identify fake followers is by looking through an influencer’s followers acquisition trend. Here you can see the sudden huge drop in following for this particular influencer’s account which occured when Instagram did a mass “cleaning up” on fake accounts.
Here is another example of sudden changes in following, the sudden spikes and dips would most likely represent a sudden removal of fake accounts on Instagram. Also for this influencer, the gradual decrease in following size over time could also be due to Instagram’s constant effort in filtering and removing of fake accounts.
These statistics are one of the fastest and most efficient ways for brands to monitor influencers they are interested in or currently engaging. These hard numbers gives brands better control in choosing the most appropriate influencer that will maximize their campaig’s ROI. Go on and spot the fake now, it’s time to stop wasting money on them! Try out the latest NoFak.es platform that automatically recognize fake followers and bots and clean your account by blocking them permanently.