Instagram influencers use fraudulent methods to boost following and engagement, with India being one of the top three markets with the most fake activities.
Anders Ankarlid, CEO & Co-Founder, A Good Company told PRWeek, “Companies are pouring money into influencer marketing, thinking that they are connecting with real people and not Russian bots. In reality, they are pouring money down the drain and giving away free products to someone who acquired a mass-following overnight.”
An average of 57% accounts bought engagement and/or following, globally.
The global research conducted by A Good Company & analytics firm HypeAuditor and published by PR Week found that the majority of the ‘influential accounts’ on Instagram boost their platform appearance by use of bought engagement and following.
An additional survey of an estimated 4000 influencers found that more than 60% admit to using fake engagement and one in five plan to continue doing so.
The top three countries with the highest number of fake activities are US, Brazil and India.
A blogpost published on Medium by Anders Ankarlid, CEO & Co-Founder, A Good Company further dissected the net users per country and number of fraudulent users.
Influencer Marketing is an industry estimated to be worth $10 billion by 2020, as brands shell out thousands of rupees for a post that is noticed by bots or mods or both.
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According to reports, 42% of marketers found the question of fake followers and bots alarming but that doesn’t stop most of them to use it as a strategy.
Instagram as a platform has been taking notice of this problem. In November 2018, they announced that they were building machine learning tools to monitor and eliminate inauthentic activities like likes, follows and comments on the platform.
Instagram executed a purge of fake engagement in February 2019. Accounts of Akshar Pathak, Mallika Dua, and Srishti Dixit saw a dip in follower count after the purge.
In May 2019, Instagram was working on cracking down third-party apps that sell Instagram Fake Followers and engagement, as discovered in the app’s backend code.
But the fight against the fakes is seemingly not over yet. Fakes pollute the authentic experience of the platform and manipulate brands into wasting their money. Such fraudulent activities cost marketers an estimated of $750m globally in wastage in the market.