How to identify fake following on Instagram


I can not believe it is 2017 and people keep buying followers on Instagram and brands keep being blind targeting their campaign on fake followers.
Apparently, lots of brands and even marketing agencies still do not realize large following does not mean large authentic audience.

In this case, they will simply waste the effort and resources working with these kinds of accounts.

Why do you still want to advertise to the audience who does not even exist?

A friend of mine is a brand owner. She said she paid to a blogger a few thousand dollars to advertise her great product, but did not have any return on that. There might be two answers – or the product is not good enough (which is not the case here), or the audience is not good enough.

So let’s clarify,

How to identify if the account has real or fake followers?

With the latest Instagram algorithm changes I have noticed everyone has less likes percentage now, then a few month or a couple of years ago, even big and famous bloggers.

A very good high engagement will be roughly between 5 and 10% of likes from the total following.

Calculations are simple:

If an account has 10,000 followers – a good engagement will be between 500 and 1000 likes per photo in average.

3% is still real (e.g. 300 likes per photo with 10000 followers) – this still can be a real amount of followers, but with a low engagement and wrong social media strategy.

If you see something like 100 likes in average per photo and more than 20,000 followers – there is definitely something wrong, and you do not want to invest in that.

You will need to pay attention in the comment sections and ensure there is a decent conversation. There are a lot of commenting robots out there now, which is also easy to identify – comments are generic and cliche. these kind of comments do not talk about a particular photo. Bots are used to attract attention and traffic to the profile.

While robot audience is not what you need, look for a genuine and meaningful conversation in the comment section.

 Is it worths to advertise via bloggers?

Here you need to know who is your brand’s audience, who do they follow and why.

After identifying your target audience, who they are, how old are they and what do they like – you can find a blogger with a similar message and lifestyle.

For example, you do not want to advertise your anti-wrinkle cream for teenagers or your very local business to a foreign audience, right? Or, ladies dresses to men audience, no?

What you need – is to ask a blogger to demonstrate their stats. Every decent blogger monitors their analytics. They can just send you a print screen of their audience demographics and geographic.


If you target people in Perth and you see this – you will get your right exposure. Fake followers will be more likely from India or from some other locations which you do not target.

Do a small research and advertise smart. Perhaps there is nothing valuable behind big numbers and nice photos. A profile with a small, but real and engaged 5k followers might bring you more business if their audience 100% will like what you promote.

Does it make sense?

Do you ever promote anything via bloggers?

What are your methods to identify which Instagram account is right for your advertisement?

Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any further questions and let’s discuss it.

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