Ever feel like someone or a top brand you follow on Instagram is getting insanely high numbers of ‘likes’ out of the blue? You may be on to something. Fake ‘likes’, comments and user accounts are spreading their tentacles on social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook, and some of the most respected luxury brands have been affected. Fake Instagram followers can have a detrimental effect because fake followers are not authentic users and therefore cannot provide valuable insights into the brands’ performance or customer engagement. Additionally, fake followers give the impression that a particular brand is more popular than it is, which can seriously undermine its credibility. ‘CasinoGuardian‘ researched the official Instagram accounts of leading luxury fashion brands and sadly discovered that between twenty five per cent to thirty per cent of their followers are fake. Among them, Estée Lauder, Bvlgari, Ralph Lauren, Cartier and Emporio Armani.
“In order to audit the pages of luxury brands, we used a free online tool by Modash. This fake account checker automatically assesses user accounts by calculating the average number of likes on their posts as well as their overall engagement rate. The engagement rate is an important metric, as it shows how much the audience is actively reacting to a post, whether that is a promotional campaign, a new product or a social cause. It compares the number of all posts by an account to the total number of likes and comments and is represented as a percentage. An engagement rate of 1 per cent to 5 per cent is fairly common and demonstrates a healthy relationship with the audience. A rate of less than 0.5 per cent, however, is a strong indicator that the account has a large percentage of fake followers,” per research by CasinoGuardian.
A plausible explanation is that, particularly on Instagram, quite a few social media influencers try to build credibility by buying fake ‘likes’, comments and followers because some companies offer to buy followers in bulk. These companies market their services, claiming to provide them with more followers and a larger reach on their accounts. However, these services generally provide followers that are automated accounts or bots, which can be spotted easily through their lack of posts, no bio, and very few followers, who in turn may not have any followers! At the same time, they follow famous people, fashion designers and luxury brands. As a result, most of the popular brands on Instagram end up with a huge fake following… through no fault of their own!!!
So, one of the most prevalent issues that have arisen in social media is ‘follower fraud’. Data collected by Statista concluded that in 2021, approximately 49 per cent of Instagram influencers participated in follower fraud. Per Forbes, “…research conducted by IMAI, my company’s influencer marketing technology that analyzes 130 million profiles, revealed that 1 in 4 Instagram influencers purchased 15 per cent of their total followers and every 3 in 4 influencers purchased over 10,000 followers. To reach this conclusion, IMAI conducted an extensive influencer search on its discovery platform by adding filters to narrow down the results, including restricting the follower count and only viewing credible accounts, which is determined by completing a deep analysis of an influencer’s followers…”
Per CasinoGuard, “For years, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been trying to handle the millions of bots or fake accounts that are being created every day… Back in 2021, Facebook, which along with Instagram is now part of Meta, said it disabled 1.3 billion fake accounts within the last three months of 2020. In the second quarter of 2022, the company deleted 1.4 billion such accounts, while in the third quarter, it identified and disabled another 1.5 billion. While it did not provide data for Instagram, it is safe to assume that a similar number of all accounts on the photo-sharing network are also fake.”
Luxury fashion brands can also weed out fake followers on Instagram by using third party applications. Social network analytics company, Socialbakers, has a quick solution, “Fake Followers.” Using the Web app is as easy and free. You enter in any Twitter account, hit the check button, and the app will calculate three different percentages: 1. “fake or empty” accounts 2. inactive accounts 3. legitimate accounts. Additionally, top fashion brands can also take advantage of Instagram’s social insights to identify suspicious activity, such as an unusually high percentage of likes or follows coming from a single user. They can also monitor the behaviour of their followers to identify patterns of spam or inappropriate content. And, exercise caution when collaborating with influencers.
“Getting rid of likes will make it harder for ads to travel,” Dan Goldstein, the president of digital marketing agency Page 1 Solutions, told BoF. “This is basically going to force brands to opt for spending on ads over influencers because that’s a route they know will work, and will give them the numbers they want to see,”
Jasmeen Dugal is a senior writer and author for FashionABC where she is responsible for writing stories that cover the fashion industry as a whole, from fashion events to innovative brands that are transforming the industry through the use of the metaverse, sustainability, and new digital solutions. She is also very active on Instagram with more than 92k followers.
Before joining FashionABC, Jasmeen worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor, and she was instrumental in launching Vogue India’s official website. Her experience in the industry spans over a decade, during which time she has gained invaluable insights into the workings of the fashion world.
Four years ago, Jasmeen embarked on a new adventure and launched her own luxury portal, where she continues to focus on telling the stories of the people behind the brands. Her unique approach to editorial has helped her stand out in the industry, and her work is highly regarded by her peers.
Jasmeen is also an active social media user and can be followed on Twitter at @jasmeenGdugal and Instagram at @jasmeengdugal. Her social media presence showcases her expertise in the industry and provides her followers with valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the world of fashion.