Like them or not Instagram influencers are all over your feeds. The best hotels, exotic locations and that lifestyle we all dream off. For us as onlookers, we have to admire the commit to a cause (usually their bank balance).
Instagram influencers know it is all about numbers, likes and followers. But while Instagram engagement is all about being visually pleasing, there is a game at play. If you’re wondering just how influential these influencers really are, a new study by Swedish e-commerce start-up A Good Company and data analytics firm HypeAuditor has found that many influencers in India have more fake followers than any others! Are we surprised?
The study also highlights UK Indians are using these same tactics as Indians in India. The study analysed 1.84 million Instagram accounts in 82 countries and found the three regions with the most fake followers on the Facebook-owned platform are the US (49 million), Brazil (27 million) and India (16 million).
In a statement to PRWeek, Anders Ankarlid, CEO of A Good Company, said, “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.”
While influencer marketing has emerged as an irreplaceable part of any brand’s marketing strategy, getting bots as followers isn’t a new issue, as industry watchdog @Diet_influencer—which regularly calls out people for amassing fake followers—will tell you. But even this account is just a drop in a very polluted ocean, and clearly, influencers know how to squeeze out the best results from toxic waters. Additionally, another survey conducted with 400 anonymous influencers also found that 60 percent of them continue to pay to their boost engagement, often even buying likes and follows.
The study estimates that Instagram fraud is costing companies at least $750 million in a market worth approximately $1.7 billion. Marketing firm Mediakix estimated that influencer marketing on Instagram alone could reach $2 billion by the end of 2019.