More than half (55 per cent) of Instagram influencers were involved in some form of social media fraud and fakery in 2020, despite an eight percentage point decrease from 2019. A new study by HypeAuditor also found 45 per cent of Instagram accounts were fake.
Instagram mega-influencers and celebrities—those with more than 1 million followers—were the worst culprits, with two-thirds (66%) of these accounts engaged in some form of fraudulent activity.
Nano-influencers—those with 1,000 to 5,000 followers—had the lowest proportion of fraud, occurring in 42% of accounts.
The most common tactics used included buying followers, likes and comments from click farms, buying story views, and engaging with comment pods—where a group of Instagram users get together and systematically engage with each other’s posts.
In some cases, influencers may be engaging in fakery without realising. HyperAuditor estimates that only 55% of Instagram accounts are held by real people.
Despite the high prevalence of fraud and fakery, the report predicts the Instagram influencer market will grow by 15% this year to a market capitalisation of $5.87bn.
The report found that for every dollar advertisers spend on Instagram influencer posts, they receive $4.87 of earned media value, while 62% of marketers said they have seen an increase in sales when working with social media influencers.
The study also provided insights into audience…