Instagram accounts of 16 million influencers in India have fake followers: Report

Influencer marketing on Instagram is believed to reach $2 billion by the end of this year.

India is among the top three countries in the world with the most number of fake Instagram accounts. This list is topped by the US with 49 million of such accounts, followed by Brazil with 27 million accounts, and then there is India with a whopping 16 million of fake Instagram accounts.

The reported 16 million accounts of Indian Instagram influencers apparently artificially boost vanity metrics that marketers often use when choosing influencers, including followers and engagement.

This research was conducted by Swedish e-commerce start-up A Good Company and data analytics firm HypeAuditor jointly, who assessed 1.84 million Instagram accounts across 82 countries. The report is published in PRWeek.

Stock image of Instagram. Image: Reuters

Stock image of Instagram. Image: Reuters

"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," Anders Ankarlid, CEO of A Good Company, told PRWeek.

Marketing firm Mediakix estimated that influencer marketing on Instagram alone could reach $2 billion by the end of this year from $1 billion in 2017.

Additionally, an anonymous survey was also conducted with 400 influencers to find out if the quantitative figures matched up with what influencers admit to doing. Apparently, the results suggested that over 60 percent Instagram influencers admit to either using engagement pods, bought followers, likes or comments and that one in five intended to continue doing so.

If you know about the reality show Love Island, another recent report suggested that majority of the show's cast had high levels of fake followers, led by Amber Rose Gill with 65 percent of fake followers.

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