instagram Influencers

How To Detect and Avoid Fake Influencers

When considering an influencer marketing campaign, one of the most common questions asked is “how do I avoid fake influencers?”. As influencer marketing is on the rise, it’s no surprise that fake influencers are too.

But, there’s a few tricks you can learn to spot the accounts which may be buying followers, likes, or comments, in order to gain brand deals. Keep reading to discover these tips.

What to look out for on Instagram

Although we would generally recommend using an influencer marketing platform to find influencers and look at their authenticity through the data provided for you, there are a few ways to find this yourself. It can be a lengthy process when vetting several influencers, but make sure and look out for:


The first thing to take a look at is the number and frequency of posts from the account. You may find a profile with a lot of followers but not very many posts. This can sometimes be the case with newer accounts however, if there are very few posts, or a large time gap between posts – this could be a sign of bought followers.


The comments can be a key indicator of whether the profile has fake followers or not. There’s a few things to look at here. Check if the post has no comments, or very few, compared to a high number of likes and followers. You should also take notice of the types of comments, or the accounts they are coming from. Comments coming from accounts with no content, in a different language, or accounts in a country where the influencer has no connection, could be an indication that they are purchased or from bots.


Don’t just look at the likes from recent posts, but also from older posts. When likes have been bought by a profile, this could be shown through a varying number of likes across posts. Alternatively, if there is a small number of likes compared to a large follower count, this indicates that the followers have been bought.

Using an influencer marketing platform to help

Although the above points can be accessible for anyone wishing to investigate the authenticity of an influencer, we would definitely recommend a much quicker and more reliable method. Using an influencer marketing platform like Heepsy will help you to analyse data provided about Instagram influencers and YouTube influencers by looking at some of the important points below.


With Heepsy, you can see the engagement rate of an influencers profile, representing the level of interaction that they have with their followers. Typically, high engagement is desired, as this shows that the influencer is connected with their followers and usually, this means that the followers are interested in and trust their opinions and content.

A very low engagement can potentially signify bought followers however, suspiciously high engagement can signify bought likes or comments. An average is displayed, which is based on the standard level of engagement for an account with that number of followers. So for example, 500K followers is more difficult to manage than 5K, so this is displayed accordingly through the average.

Follower growth

You will also be able to study the follower growth rate over time. This shows an increase or decrease of followers from month to month, over a period of time. You may think it’s great if the influencer has gained a lot of followers recently however, the best growth rate can be seen through a stable increase.

Developing quality content and building a valued follower base can take time, so a very quick increase in followers could be suspicious. But, it’s important to look at recent content to discover if there is a genuine reason behind sudden growth.

Audience insights

With Heepsy’s audience insights, you can find out a little more about the influencer’s audience. It shows you their age range, gender, location, and interests. But most importantly when considering authenticity, our data shows a percentage of what could be suspicious followers based on the behaviour that they display. These could be real people, but have been bought or gained through a follow/unfollow tactic, or they could be bots.

Overall quality score

There’s much more to investigate with Heepsy’s help but, for a general idea, we provide an overall quality score. This takes into account the influencer’s follower growth rate, engagement rate, audience insights and authenticity metrics, and comments and likes ratios to understand the overall quality of this profile. This can be a good base for recognising the general quality of the account and if this influencer could help meet your marketing goals.


Don’t be disheartened by the number of fake influencers out there, because there are plenty more that are genuinely dedicated to providing great quality content for their followers.

Working with influencers is definitely one of the best ways to help your brand achieve its goals, so we encourage you to head to Heepsy, where you can find some more helpful tips like the 8 best tools for influencer marketing!