How much do fake followers cost? How to spot fake influencers?

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Have you ever met a person on a social network who has several thousand subscribers and only a couple of dozen likes under the posts? Recently, such people can be found more and more often. They might have been recommended to you by social networks, and you have definitely heard of them. These are fake influencers. The takeaway is that followers can easily buy on the cheap.

Let's find out how to spot fake influencers and those who have been caught cheating or got away with it.

dominiquedruckman / Instagram
Source: dominiquedruckman / Instagram

The service offers to buy followers for TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. charges $15.95 for 1,000 Instagram bots. The same price applies to TikTok. Likes and views are sold separately.

YouTube regularly checks every view on every video. If they detect a FAKE view on a video, it will be removed immediately, and that video will lose some views, and the count will drop. However, if you buy YouTube views from Famoid, you’ll never encounter this situation because all the views are from completely real accounts. This is how Famoid guarantees quality.

Fake followers aren't just for those who dream of becoming an influencer. A-list model Kylie Jenner tops the list of ''The biggest fake influencers on social media.'' She has 329 million followers on Instagram. In comparison, TikTok star Khaby Lame has just under 70 million followers on Instagram. Does that mean Kylie Jenner is more successful? Absolutely not. 40% of Kylie Jenner's followers are fake, writes Forbes in referencing the HypeAuditor’s report.

However, her profile has a high engagement rate (ER) of 3.5%. That's a lot. Usually, the millionaire influencers have an ER of less than 1.5%. Perhaps, Kylie Jenner’s real audience really likes her, or maybe she spends money on subscribers and interactions on social networks. 

Justin Bieber certainly does not care. His Instagram has 220 million followers and an engagement rate of 0.37%. This is very low and can be explained by the fact that he has 37% fake followers.

Is it easy to become a fake influencer?

Dominique Druckman knows the answer for sure. She is a 26-year-old who became famous thanks to the HBO documentary “Fake Famous.” Here's what The New Yorker writes about her period of life before the film: “Dominique, an affable aspiring actress from Miami Beach, who works at Lululemon while she waits for her big break.”

dominiquedruckman / Instagram
Source: dominiquedruckman / Instagram

Director Nick Bilton explains that the filmmakers took random people and made fake influencers through simple tricks, including buying bots. After the movie was released, Dominique probably felt like a real star. And her influence on social media is only growing. She has over 300,000 Instagram followers. But how many of these are bots? We haven't checked.

Not only Instagram and Facebook, but even Twitch

Scandals with scamming are already happening on all social networks. Please meet N3koglai. He is better known as the Russian-language TikToker, who has nine million followers. He recently became popular on Twitch, but his account already has more than two million followers. N3koglai was born and still lives in the capital of Moldova. He is 21 years old and does not disclose his income from streaming and social networking collaborations.

In early January, the streamer set several records simultaneously on Twitch. On January 6, he became the most viewed streamer in the world on Twitch. More than 103,000 viewers watched his streams. On January 10, N3koglai and Ivanzolo2004, set a new record among streamers on Russian Twitch. More than 578,000 people watched the broadcast.

Source: cybersport.metaratings

N3koglai's records did not go unnoticed, probably because of his bad reputation. Popular streamer Dota 2 accused N3koglai’s streams of being cringe-worthy and impossible to watch.

On February 6, YouTuber LSHPT released an investigation into the N3koglai’s streams. According to his estimates, 70% of accounts that watched N3koglai's stream were fake. N3koglai published the statistics, which helped with the investigation. There were 1,366,585 unique viewers of the broadcast, but almost half of them were not authorized on the platform.

According to the author of the investigation, 44% of unauthorized viewers of the N3koglai's record stream is noteworthy. The check-bot sites consider streams suspicious if there are at least 20% of unauthorized viewers. Authorized viewers were checked by date of registration: 450,000 were registered before N3koglai started streaming on Twitch, 305,000 registered during the N3koglai's streaming hype. At the same time, 234,831 accounts (17%) watched only N3koglai.

They were engaged in cheating for a simple reason: direct sale of advertising (for example, banners displayed during the stream or in the channel description). To make advertisers think the twisted blogger has a real audience, certain people also twisted ads. They registered on advertisers' websites, made deposits and spent them.

N3koglai spoke out about accusations of cheating viewers on Twitch. In his appeal to fans, he admitted that hе really used streaming bots, but soon there was no need to increase the number of viewers artificially. According to N3koglai, he received no more than 4,000 viewers with the bots’ help. When his audience significantly grew, he gave up using bots.

How to spot fake influencers?

To spot fake influencers, first, take the engagement level into account. As previously mentioned, if the number of followers is high but there are few comments or likes, it means that bots are most likely part of the audience.

Secondly, pay attention to the quality of the audience. You need to look at subscribers’ profiles and their comments. Identical phrases and likes are a sure sign there is a catch. It is not difficult to understand whether you have a profile of a living person or a page that has just been created. This analysis may take some time, but you will gain confidence in the influencer's audience.

A third hack to help you know if you're dealing with a scammer is a sudden increase in subscribers and a smooth return to previous numbers. As a rule, a sharp gain in subscribers occurs when an influencer manages to make viral content and get a lot of attention. 

A new audience usually stays with the influencer. With real influencers, the outflow of a new audience will be small. In addition, influencer audiences grow organically due to users’ recommendations and the social network. But if there is a jump in followers followed by a consistent decline in the large number of subscribers and a return to previous figures, then this is a sure sign there was a purchase of bots, and the outflow occurred after the payment was canceled.

How not to be deceived by fake Influencers?

Check the stories of those with whom you are going to partner with. If a person has hundreds of thousands of followers but Google doesn't know them, there should be a reason for doubt. And one more piece of advice: Do not look at the follower's numbers. Instead, look first at the influencer's expertise and his or her ER. That's why brands pay a lot of attention to micro and nano-influencers. Their relatively small audience is easily compensated by the high level of followers’ engagement.

Still not sure whether you're dealing with fake Influencers or not? Spot fake influencers in a second with Hypetrain in-depth analytics tool.  

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