The 5-Step Guide to Spotting an Influencer with Fake Followers: Step 5

Using the Inactive Follower Percentage

We have reached the final step in our guide to spotting an influencer with fake followers! Today, we will be teaching you how to identify one such influencer by looking at the percentage of the influencer’s inactive followers. Then, we will provide you with a summary of all five points covered in the past five sections (including today’s), and show you the data of some influencers who show one or more of the signs of having fake followers.

Step V: Know their Inactive Follower Percentage

Watch out for: high percentage of inactive followers

In this final section of the guide, we will be teaching you how to look for fake followers with a metric that is available only if you subscribe to the Popular Chips platform. This metric is known as the influencer’s inactive follower percentage.

Influencer with high percentage of inactive followers [Image generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform]
Here at Popular Chips, we have classified two types of followers together under the term “inactive followers”: followers who are fakes/bots and followers who have not liked, commented or posted a single time on Instagram in the past three months. Both groups of followers will not engage with the influencer’s content–they will not like, comment or view the influencer’s post. If a brand decides to collaborate with an influencer who has 44.98% fake followers (as per the example shown above), the brand is invariably wasting 44.98% of their budget trying to reach out to followers who will not see or interact with the sponsored post.

How does Popular Chips identify fake followers and bots? We do so by creating a blacklist of fake followers, then introducing it to our proprietary technology, which learns the patterns and behaviors of those fake followers and then identifies users who exhibit patterns and behaviors similar to those that have been learnt. Our algorithm continually updates itself, to take into account the changing nature and behavior of fake followers over time. This ensures that we are still able to identify the fakes even when they begin to exhibit characteristics different from their predecessors.

How to read the data

Even if an influencer has not purchased fake followers, there is quite a high chance that some of their followers will be inactive on Instagram. Hence, we have color-coded the influencer’s inactive percentage so as to give a rough idea of whether the percentage shown for an influencer ought to be a cause for concern.

Inactive follower percentage, color-coded

The inactive follower percentage is color-coded according to the green-yellow-red schema, where green indicates that there is no cause for concern and red indicates that one would do best to avoid working with the influencer.

It is important to note that influencers in some countries tend to have a higher rate of inactive followers than others. Whereas the average inactive rate is 11.19% for influencers in the States, this value jumps to 22.71% in Vietnam. One should remember to account for this difference when looking at the data available.

Recap & Examples of Influencers with Fake Followers

The first four signs we have covered which indicate that an influencer has fake followers are as follows:

  1. Sharp spikes and gradual drops in audience growth
  2. Low engagement rate and anomalous engagement
  3. Large numbers of followers from unexpected countries
  4. Large percentage of “generic” followers

Let us now take a look at some influencers who show one or more of the five signs of having purchased fake followers.

Metrics of Influencer A

Influencer A above shows 4 of the 5 signs of having fake followers. Their audience growth is negative, they are not from the top 3 countries that their followers are from, their followers’ top gender is “generic” and their inactive follower percentage is very high.

Metrics of Influencer B

Influencer B shows all 5 signs of having fake followers. When looking at an influencer’s metrics, naturally, the more the number of signs, the more likely it is that the influencer has purchased fake followers.

Although Popular Chips provides data for the percentage of inactive followers, that is certainly not the only metric that one should use to determine whether an influencer has committed fraud. In certain cases, fake followers are simply “fake” because they are purchased, while the accounts themselves actually belong to real people who have given the details to their accounts up to fake follower syndicates in exchange for other benefits. In such cases, our system would not be able to detect it as such followers actually exhibit the patterns and behaviors of real people. Hence, it is best to evaluate this information in light of each other to find out how likely it is for a given influencer to have fake followers.


This is the final part in a series entitled ‘The 5-Step Guide to Spotting an Influencer with Fake Followers’. The aim of this five-part series is to provide you with five foolproof methods of identifying an influencer who has purchased fake followers. You have reached the end of this series and we hope you have gained new insights about how to identify such influencers with us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.