Fake Instagram followers – How to detect before influencer collaboration?

Influencer marketing has evolved into a critical component of digital marketing strategy, demanding the need of filtering out the influencer’s fake Instagram followers along the journey. As businesses conduct campaigns across the country, they must ensure budgeting for long-term influencer connections that result in genuine engagement.

According to a survey conducted by MediaKixnearly 90% of marketers say Instagram is the most strategically important Social Media channel for influencer marketing (external link- offline). This goes on to demonstrate how Instagram plays a significant part in influencer marketing for businesses. So, marketers are looking for a reliable influencer marketing platform to leverage their brand visibility. Since influencer marketing is based on authenticity, detecting fake Instagram followers is the industry’s first line of protection against fraud.

However, before you go on to identify influencers with whom to work, double-check their Instagram account. Like all good things, influencer marketing has its own set of risks and drawbacks, one of which is influencer fraud. Working with influencers with fake Instagram followers is known as influencer fraud, and it may be highly harmful to your campaign.

It’s tough to know who to believe. After all, the temptation to cheat can be great in an industry where the number of followers, likes, and views can be commercialized. But, before we get into how to detect false influencers with fake Instagram followers, let’s take a look at who these influencers are and what their social media accounts might look like. This will further help you differentiate them from the real influencers. 

Fake Instagram followers on an influencer account will appear to be just like any other actual influencer account. The only difference is that the majority of their Instagram followers will be bots.

Fake Instagram followers: How are they built by false influencers?

Let’s explore one by one now

  1. Buying Followers 

These days, there are a plethora of services that allow you to buy followers to gain fake Instagram followers. Any false influencer can contact them and pay a set fee to acquire as many followers as they like. Instagram likes and comments may be purchased in the same way.

  1. Automated bots

Bots are computer apps that allow users to share, like, and follow other Instagram accounts to increase fake Instagram followers. Some are even programmed to create content on their own. The engagement, however, will be inauthentic and lack organic flow because the bots are not actual people.

  1. Pods

Pods are small groupings of people. They are gatherings of individuals who like, share, and follow other accounts in the same group on Instagram to boost each other’s Instagram engagement metrics. Influencers join such organizations to gain fake Instagram followers. However, because it is essentially a corporate transaction, the interaction use to be meaningless.

What do fake Instagram accounts look like?

  • Profiles that are blank or inactive.

Users who create fraudulent accounts make zero attempts to make it look realistic. Most of them have a blank bio. Since you can not view their Instagram profile, it’s hard to do a background check on them. A legitimate Instagram follower’s profile will have some bio information as well as a profile photo.

  • There are no posts/pictures of actual individuals.

An account with fake Instagram followers will only upload a few or no photographs in major cases. The majority of those who post also don’t include photographs of real individuals. They use stock pictures if they include people. You can reverse search picture by copying them into Google Images to see whether it has been shared elsewhere in this digital world.

  • Instagram handles chosen at random

A fake follower’s username may appear to be produced by a system. The name can just contain digits, alphanumeric, or be completely different from what they upload.

How to detect fake Instagram influencers?

  1. Look for an unusual follower-to-engagement ratio

Fake influencers often have a poor interaction rate while having a large following since bots and fake accounts comprise the majority of their followers. They may be able to buy tens of thousands of fake Instagram followers, but they will not engage with their posts.

You may get additional warning indicators from the follower-to-engagement ratio. It includes an exceptionally high engagement rate fueled by low-quality fake engagement. Another concern with fake influencers is that they continuously match engagement rates across posts. It is the result of purchasing a certain amount of engagement for every post.

In any case, you will need to know how to correlate their interaction rate to the size of their following to determine legitimacy. The following are the fundamental methods of calculating the average engagement rate:

Try our unique influencer evaluation tool “ Qoruz Score “  to get a score based on the influencer’s real-time data.

2. Manual calculation of Engagement Rate of an Influencer

It’s also worth noting that just because an influencer’s interaction rate is less than the industry average, it doesn’t mean he is a fake influencer. You should be checking for a significant deviation from the industry average.

  1. Analyze influencer’s audience quality

The caliber of an Instagram influencer’s following may reveal a lot about how genuine their influence is. As a result, determining the quality of their audience is another crucial step in finding fake influencers with fake Instagram followers

In some situations, the influencer may have a significant amount of engagement but poor-quality comments. The majority of these comments are likely to be similar and unrelated to the content.

As a brand, the comments must always be verified to find out how good the interaction is. A false supporter has remarks that are out of place and have no relation to the content published. Most of these comments/reactions can also be full of emojis or unambiguous remarks that can be expressed under any post. The reactions will be explicitly content-oriented for an influencer account with real followers.

  1. Be careful of an unexpected surge in the number of followers

A rapid increase in follower count is another definite indicator of purchased influence. The increase was most likely caused by all of the bot accounts that began following them after the influencers paid for extra followers. Authentic influencers will, in most circumstances, see steady growth in followers with a few tiny blips here and there.

These surges can sometimes be attributed to the influencer’s creation of viral content. However, not every content piece has the ability to become viral. And, in most situations, even after the spike, their Instagram following count would steadily grow. A rapid rise in follower count followed by a steady or dramatic decline in the follower count is generally a common indicator to identify fake Instagram followers accounts.


  1. The ratio of following to followers

Another obvious sign of an influencer with fake followers is the ratio of accounts that follow them to accounts that they follow.

In most situations, a real Instagram influencer has more followers than the accounts they follow. On the other hand, an influencer with fake Instagram followers is more likely to have an equal or minor difference in the number of followers and following.

  1. The influencer is not tagged in any of the pictures

If an influencer has a sizable following, they should be tagged in other people’s pictures. Their tagged images should be abundant, whether they are in the image or it is just a follower attempting to share something with the influencer.

  1. The influencer only exists on Instagram

Influencers who are active on various social media platforms have more clout. If they’re exclusively popular on Instagram, they’re probably not worth as much as an influencer with a more diverse online presence. They may have also adopted fraudulent methods to acquire popularity on Instagram.

What should I do now?

Once you’ve discovered fake influencers, the first action you should do is to avoid collaborating with them. You can also maintain a record of the fake influencers you’ve discovered in the long term. This eliminates the need for you to redo the extensive research procedure in future campaigns.

Keep track of anyone you’ve “blacklisted,” including their social media accounts, why you’ve blacklisted them, and so on. This way. you’ll be able to quickly refer to your list before beginning a new influencer marketing campaign.

Want to avoid Fake influencer collaboration?

Try Qoruz. Get better visibility of fake influencers and approach legitimate influencers for your campaign. If you want a brief understanding of how the Qoruz influencer marketing platform works, schedule a demo with our product expert for a better understanding.