Everything is fake! Or should I say to some extent.
Few days back, I released an analysis titled Mauritius Instagram Influencers exposed. The analysis showcased the performance metrics of local influencers such as Cedric Lanappe, Om Lombard and 17 others.
While you were more than 2000 to read the analysis in the past few days, I started to get some questions regarding its accuracy. This, I must say, really triggered the re-thinking process as to the relevance of influencers to local clients.
So, to shed some light on this blurry industry and to answer few questions which I noticed online, here is how fake are Mauritian Influencers’ followers.
How easy it is to get fake followers?
If you google “free Instagram follower“, you would get a SERP of about 537,000,000 results, which is indicative of the “opportunities” out there.
How much does it costs? Surprisingly, you only need $ 2.95 (www.idigic.net) to get 100 followers. Cheap deal you would say, but wait to see the other side of the coin…
How fake are the followers of local influencers?
Now that we know that getting fake followers is easy, let’s see the traits of a fake audience. In this blog post, I will outline few elements that pushed me to urge local agencies to be cautious when choosing the influencer you would want to collaborate with.
While there exists different tools and algorithms to test followers fakeness, they differ in results. So, what you are about to read is subject to interpretation.
1. A weird and imbalance followers growth rate
Knowing it is that easy to “get” followers, it is tempting to just buy them and create some “credibility” online.
The underlying popular belief of an account with a great follower base is “credible” often leads to clients believing they are getting value for money.
Most of the time the imbalance between “followers” and “following” count is a revealing factor. Concretely, how does this look like?
The chart above is a record of Cedric Lanappe’s Instagram over several weeks.
What’s interesting here is the inconsistencies between the exponential growth in followers in an uneven pattern. There’s also a sudden rise in unfollowers while content posted remains almost static.
2. When engagement is either too low or too high
Statistically speaking a big follower base usually results in a low engagement rate as it is inversely proportional. However, this is truth provided two crucial elements are met. These are:
- Good content meeting your audience interest;
- You managed to build up an audience with a relatively low to medium followers count. (This will allow them to see your content more often)
In January 2019, HypeAuditor ran a survey with 4.2 million influencers to create an engagement benchmark.
As a matter of facts (and figures), when engagement rates are either too low or too high, this can give you an indication of the authenticity of the influencer’s audience.
Like to Comment (LCR) is a metric often used to spot imbalance between a post’s likes and comments. When the ratio is relatively high, this gives an indication of a potential like or comments buying.
3. How active are their followers?
Fake followers are known to be relatively less active compared to real ones. In fact, these kind of followers are often generated by bots. Dormant accounts are also less likely to see content that the influencers post.
The audience quality is closely related to the engagement rate of an influencer as well.
Audience building and quality are essential concepts if you want to collaborate with influencers. In fact, if the audience is of low quality, agencies might be paying to advertise their products to bots instead of real people.
The chart above shows the average number of posts by the influencers’ followers (Source: IG Auditor)
While these figures are relative to the number of followers, statistically speaking, the more followers the more the average number of posts by your audience.
This blog post covered some main tactics to identify potential fake influencers.
With an increasing users’ count, Instagram became a main platform for brands to advertise. By 2020, Influencer marketing global spend is set to range between $5B to $10B.
However, agencies and companies should be cautious when investing in influencer marketing. The safe zone is blurry with an ease to create and grow an Instagram account in a matter of hours and days.
Is it time to review your collaboration with local influencers? Let me have your views in a comment.