Conducting an influencer audit is important. Influencer fraud has brought only disadvantages for brands: goals unreached and they lose their money. In this article, I present to you how to run an influencer verification to help check the influencer’s social media account performance, detect fake followers, and also adjust for your campaign goals.
Influencer marketing is now getting the hype it deserves and worth $13.8 billion in 2021.
Predators, scammers, and fake influencers know it.
Influencer fraud has indeed made brands frustrating at this point.
Many want to become an influencer because of the instant benefits, but gaining a certain amount of audience is not easy.
It makes people in a hurry, including how to grow their accounts by cheating.
As a brand, you need real action to prevent not to get deceived again.
So, this is my complete guide on how to run an influencer analysis to examine the influencer’s account analytics.
You will know the current method used by fake influencers to trick brands. And most importantly: how to know cheaters in one glance.
Let’s go find the best act for you!
- Make a list of relevant influencers you want to review
- Start reviewing the influencer’s account performance with an influencer auditor software
- Check the engagement quality of the influencer content
- Engagement rate, audience quality, account growth, and account activity are the most important metrics to examine an influencer’s account
- Choose an influencer who is actively increasing their values to their audience
What is an influencer audit?
It is a method of analyzing the impact and effectiveness of an influencer account toward brands’ marketing goals.
The other crucial element is the authenticity of the audience.
As influencer fraud has been a common thing, checking on fake or bots followers is also important in the influencer verification step.
The core of an influencer report is the analysis of the account and it depends on the platform used.
For example, the creators on Instagram will have a different assessment than the ones on TikTok.
However, most of the data will most likely be the same as they are the important parameter of how well an account is doing, such as the engagement rate.
But reviewing an influencer’s account is more than just checking the engagement.
but also other important insights like the audience quality, account activity, account growth, the following ratio, etc.
How is the Instagram fraud market in the world?
It’s quite high. Don’t be surprised.
In 2020, more than half or 55% of Instagram influencers are engaged in fraud on their account.
Luckily, the number has decreased from 2019 which hit more than 63%.
Asian countries are very familiar with this scheme.
Indonesia and India join Singapore as countries with a high percentage of Instagram fraud.
Here are the countries with the most fake followers on Instagram in the world.
|World Countries||Users in Million||Bot Followers||Mass Followers|
|The United States||60||-22||-27|
In 2019, The US and Brazil top a study as the countries with the most Instagram fraud in the world.
It is stated that 27% of Instagram influencers in The US have mass followers and 22% have followers bots.
As I write it before, in Singapore for example (a market that we know quite well to be honest) there are a lot of influencer fraudsters.
Also, brands have been losing a huge amount of money because of influencer fraud.
In 2019, around $744 million have lost to an Instagram fraudster in the world.
If you are wondering what is exactly influencer fraud is, here let me explain to you.
It happens when an influencer manipulates their followers and engagement, appearing to have an influence more than they actually have.
But brands look at the numbers to compensate for the value exchange between them.
And when the numbers inflated, brands should pay millions of dollars, but end up not getting the results they want.
This is because fake influencers are often impatient.
They quick-grow their audience by buying followers, likes, comments, and other trickeries to get money from brand sponsorships ASAP.
Because the audience is fake, brands are the ones who must take the consequences.
They lose their money and their goals are unachieved.
But, here’s the deal.
You can prevent it by learning the tactics they usually use.
What are the common cheated strategies used by influencer fraudsters?
There are many trickeries used by fake influencers, you can also find them buying Stories views.
But these are the 3 common cheatings they have done to get their account rapid growth.
The most common trick for Instagram fraudsters is buying followers
This is the most-used trick among influencers: 💸 buying followers.
Well, it’s not that expensive to buy followers. You only need to pay $15 for 1.000 followers.
But the price may vary and it could reach $25-40.
Many are struggling to reach bigger audiences, but buying followers is actually not a good choice.
It just helps your account LOOK big, but in reality, it doesn’t represent a meaningful investment for your account.
But if you are patient to watch your account grow, it will be very easy to monetize them.
If you hastily buy followers, trust me, your spend will not be a mere $15, but you have to buy more to present your account as a legit one.
In other words, you have to buy likes & comments to convince brands that your followers are actually interacting with you.
The second most-used trick by influencer fraudsters is buying likes, comments, & views
This trick is used to boost engagement.
If your account has many followers but the likes are not matching, then it will be obvious that you buy followers.
Let’s say you have 10k followers but your average likes in each content are only 50 max.
It will be noticeable easily.
So, buying likes & comments is the only choice you have.
The price varies, from only $1.47 for 50 likes to $88 for 10k likes.
Another fake engagement used by fraudsters is buying views.
Well, if you want to collaborate with brands, you should show your account performance and rate card to them.
Including how well you do your Stories for example.
If you do not have a good amount of legit followers, then the case will be the same: you have to buy views,
But still, faking your engagement is not a good thing.
Because you need more and you must pay more.
You are a content creator. If your engagement in 1 post is good, so do the other ones.
If not, you will be caught red-handed fake-growing your account.
Influencers gather in one group “engagement pods” to help boost each other engagement
A little bit different from the previous tactics, engagement pods involve many influencers supporting each other.
An engagement pod is also known as a boost group or a comment pod.
A group of influencers will create a group chat on a certain platform like Facebook or Telegram.
Each influencer later collectively comments under the content of an influencer in the same group.
This might be the most revealing trick ever as you can track down easily whether the comments from an influencer content are from their ‘comrades’.
Let me tell you some secrets, here are the usual comments from influencers engaged in a boost group.
- They only write emojis like 😍 or compliment words such as wow, cool, fantastic, “you’re so beautiful”, etc.
- The sentences are simple and often irrelevant to the posts.
- They mention another account without writing any sentences.
Once you find these types of comments, click the account, see the number of followers, and check whether the account also endorses products or not.
If you find one of these tricks under influencer content, then prepare for the next step: check the fake followers.
Here is how to do it.
How to identify fake influencers?
The first obvious step is to check the followers.
If you find a good amount of followers that do not post any photo/video and the profile photo is empty, they are most likely fake.
But there are some thorough steps to help you check the authenticity of the influencer account.
Here are some signs of influencer fraud they have done.
Take a closer look at the follower-to-following ratio on the influencer account
This is the easiest way to suspect a fake influencer is to check the follower-to-following ratio.
If you see the thin gap between those two, then the account is sus.
Because this is one of the tricks used by influencers to gain followers: follow-unfollow.
It’s where an influencer account will follow many accounts in advance in hoping to get a follow back.
Once they get it, they will unfollow the person.
The moment when influencers still follow random accounts, the number will be visible on the account.
And if you compare the follower counts and it almost closes the gap, then this is an indication of fake growing the audience.
Look at the influencer account and see the follower-to-engagement ratio
The other step is to check the engagement rate.
You might be wondering how a 10k account only has 50 likes or comments in each post?
Yep, it must likely buy followers.
Plus, checking out the engagement rate will also help you find the best influencer to boost your brand targets.
To check the engagement rate, you have to follow the formula:
[Engagement rate = Total Engagement/ Total followers x 100]
Total engagement means the overall number of likes and comments.
It’s not easy to calculate them alone, but you can use a free engagement rate calculator on the internet.
Pay attention to the replies/comments on each influencer’s content
If the previous tactic is to check the follow-unfollow trick, then this one is to check the engagement pod trick.
Now you know the most common comments used for engagement pod.
Try to click on branded content and pay attention to the comments.
Check if you find a comment with only emojis, or a simple reaction like wow, cool, etc.
Also, check if there are users who only mention another user without any text.
Or, a comment that doesn’t look like a ‘comment’.
When you respond to things, you are reacting to them so the response must contain relevant context.
But the research found many totally irrelevant comments under the content of an influencer engaged with the engagement pod.
If you find one of the indications, don’t hesitate to remove the influencer from your list.
Examine audience quality on the influencer account
This is an advanced tactic.
You can’t do it alone because you need a tool to show the results.
The tool will help you differentiate which followers are bots/fake and which are real accounts.
Let’s try checking JojoxDaily, a rising food influencer in Taiwan.
Her audience quality is scored A. Let’s see how ‘real’ they are.
Turns out, Jojo’s audience is legit real. More than 90% of her audience are real accounts.
Given the proportion, you will know how many real followers an influencer has.
Once you see the percentage, you will know at a glance whether the account grows from a legit audience or not.
Keep scrolling to see my recommendation tool to do this step.
Why should you run an influencer verification?
Because you don’t want to lose your money.
One brand ended up spending $600k only to get busted impressions.
You see, fraudsters in influencer marketing are a real deal.
You need to examine it thoroughly unless you want to waste thousands of dollars.
Also, an influencer examination will help you understand what’s working and not.
It will give you an understanding of the account performance, then you can match it with your campaign goals.
With accurate stats, you can expect some goals reached and estimate tangible ROI.
So, wait no more! Performing an influencer analysis will do you good.
Can I perform an influencer audit on my own?
Of course. Just use Inflact
You can use the built-in analytics from Instagram or other social media to examine your account performance.
Not only that, you also must be aware of your hashtag usage & visual consistency and review your branding and tone.
However, these steps are exhausting. You need the best tool to help with your influencer report.
I only think of using a free Instagram influencer verification as an alternative but it’s limited.Let’s move on to the next section and I will explain which is the best way to run an influencer examination.
What tools can you use to perform influencer verification on Instagram?
Manually, you can use Instagram, of course.
But there is one great solution to have a thorough influencer verification: influencer auditor tool.
Inflact one of leading influencer marketing software has robust features to review the desired influencers.
Look at this.
Let’s see how tracking manually on Instagram and automatically could be so different.
Use Instagram to do an influencer review on your own
This is the most manual method you can use if you run out of budget and have extra energy.
To check the account authenticity, do the ‘how to spot a fake influencer’ steps on Instagram.
You can analyze the following-to-follower ratio, the engagement rate, and also the sus comments under the content.
For the following-to-follower ratio, you can easily examine the numbers on the account display.
And for the engagement rate, just type “engagement rate calculator” on Google and it will give you a list of free tools to check.
Lastly, for the engagement pod indication, just go through branded content to see the most common comments used.
However, using Instagram can’t let you dig deeper into the account insights.
Remember that an influencer investigation is not only about spotting fake followers.
It’s also to check how well is the influencer performing to help reach your goals.
Meaning, you need insights into the audience quality, account growth, and other important stats in an Instagram influencer auditor.
And the best tool to help is an influencer marketing platform.
Use the best influencer marketing platform to get the best influencer analysis results
Yep, leveraging an influencer marketing platform is a very wise choice.
Well, you need to pay for the monthly subscription but trust me, their tools are much more worth the price.
In case you need recommendations, here are the best influencer marketing platform to analyze influencers.
But for me, Inflact will always be the best of the best since it has very powerful auditor tools, also very affordable for small businesses.
With Instagram, you can only estimate and guess whether the influencer has cheated or not.
But with influencer marketing software, you will be given the bigger picture of the account insights.
They give you accurate numbers and stats of their account performance.
Such as audience quality, account growth, most-used hashtags, and many more.
Most importantly, they are the best Instagram follower audit as they provide fraud detection.
They will help you find how many sus followers from the account.
Basically, an influencer marketing platform helps you run a complete assessment of an influencer account.
And is that’s not the best thing, I don’t know what is.
Now, let me tell you the steps to run it.
A Guide to Running an Instagram Influencer Audit in 2023
Finally, the section you have been waiting for: how to run an influencer audit.
I will use my favorite influencer marketing platform, Inflact as the best Instagram report tool.
Also, it has a very powerful influencer audit tool.
Let’s check it out.
1. Define your influencer campaign goals
For every strategic move in your marketing effort, you always set the goals.
Including starting your influencer examination.
If you are new to the market, you can leverage influencers to spread brand awareness.
Influencer marketing is also good for sales and conversions increase.
Those 2 are very common, but there are also other important goals like:
- Improve brand credibility
- Drive web traffic
- Reinforce brand reputation
You can also combine some goals for one campaign, it’s up to you.
The important thing is:
setting goals will help you have clear standards of whose influencers will deliver the best results out of your campaign.
In other words, choosing the best influencers depend on your goals.
2. Make a list of relevant influencers you want to review
After defining goals, it’s time to hunt for the most relevant influencers for your campaign.
Now we can use Inflact to start our journey.
This is one of the important features: influencer discovery.
It lets you set some criteria before pressing the search button to meet your desired influencer.
You want to look for influencers in France? The UK? The USA? Southeast Asian countries?
And you only want female influencers? The basic filters are there for you.
Look at this.
But here’s the best part: It lets you do the discovery in a very specific search.
You can sort the filters by influencer tier, min/max followers, minimum engagement rate, or the ones who also have YouTube channels.
It’s all there.
Let’s do some practice.
You are looking for female Singaporean micro-influencers with a minimum engagement rate of 3% who also have a YouTube channel?
I have put the criteria on the discovery tool.
Now, let’s see what I got.
There are 55 matches on the board and you have to choose carefully which ones are the best for your campaign.
Searching by discovery tool is not enough to say they are your brand’s best matches.
You need to review every single one of them to see how well they are performing.
It knows how tiring this job is, so they make your work easier.
Do you see the score on the top left of each influencer’s account?
It’s a given rate from Inflact of how well the account is performing on campaigns.
If you don’t have much time, you can choose the best score and then start making the list.
Remember that you can collaborate with more than one influencer.
The more campaigns you run, the more benefits your brand will get.
3. Start examining the influencer’s account performance with an influencer auditor software
After sorting out the list, now let’s do the real job: analyzing the account performance.
Talking about account performance, you will see metrics like engagement rate, etc.
This step is important because you will see how well will they can run your campaign.
Let me take some example from the Singapore searches.
I choose @sylvialovesg as she got the highest score for the rest of the guide.
Just click from the search results and it will appear like this.
It is a brief profile from Sylvia containing her followers, following, engagement rate, etc.
If you are fine with her engagement rate which is 4.30% then proceed to the next step.
Click full audit to see the complete assessment from the profile.
You can check her account growth, hashtag quality, to content diversity.
Now you see it, very comprehensive, right?
Here’s the kicker: this is still page 1.
You can have many other important insights like the audience quality, including how many fake followers she has.
You can also get to know Sylvia’s rate card & partnerships on the third page.
The influencer auditor is indeed powerful. It’s very comprehensive and detailed.
Basically, It will help the best out of your influencer campaigns with very important insights.
Keep the insights and now let’s move on to the next part.
4. Check the engagement quality of the influencer content
Engagement rate is one of the most important things before working with influencers.
Before doing the searches for Sylvia, you have set a certain engagement rate number which is 3%.
The standard is set and Sylvia has exceeded it. But that’s not enough.
You need to check the engagement quality on your own.
Go to her profile and see what type of comments pass through her content.
Check if there is any fake engagement there.
If you don’t set the engagement rate from the beginning, it’s fine.
But remember that the engagement rate defines the balance between the influencer’s followers and the engagement.
If you find influencers with thousands of followers but the likes and comments don’t match the number, they will most likely buy followers.
To prove it, just go to the influencer auditor and see how many fake followers they get.
Let’s try checking Sylvia’s account. It’s surprisingly very good!
Because influencer fraud has also been a widespread problem in Singapore, especially for micro-influencers.
And she scored more than 90% here.
In the “Audience Details” section, you will not serve the fraud detection but also her audience in detail.
Including where is the audience from, gender, age, etc.
Basically, this is the way you prevent yourself to work with fake influencers.
Also, don’t forget to check how is she interacting with her audience.
This is also important because interacting with your audience is a good parameter if brands want to target real conversions.
5. Pick the best metrics that represent your goals
To start this step, try to remember your campaign goals.
After assessing influencers’ accounts, it’s time to pick what performance metrics are in line with your goals.
Break your goals down with clear KPIs and attach them with some important metrics you think are relevant.
It’s all to measure tangible ROI.
For me, the most important metrics to watch from an influencer are:
engagement rate, account activity, account growth, and audience quality.
Actually, the best metrics you need depend on your goal.
If your goal is to increase brand awareness, then the metrics will be different: you need your brand to reach an audience as big as possible.
So, the most important metric will be likes, comments, and shares, basically all the elements of engagement rate.
Let’s say you don’t want a one-time deal, but rather seek a long-term partnership with influencers.
Then you need to check several things.
First, look at the account activity and see how often they produce content.
This is to make sure that you are working with influencers who are constantly increasing their values to their audience.
Second, the activity must be in line with the account growth.
It’s such a waste if they don’t get any results for their constant effort.
Influencers’ account growth is crucial for long-term partnerships.
If you don’t see a minimum of constant growth from the influencer’s account, then why are you seeking long-term deals?
They grow values, you grow money.
Lastly, you also need to consider their audience quality and see if theirs match your target audience.
Don’t forget to check if the influencer is actively interacting with their audience or not.
6. Choose an influencer who is actively increasing their values to their audience
All the important assessment has been done, now you need to make sure of some things.
How often they produce content for their audience?
The more active an influencer is in producing content, the better.
Because creating a special bond with their audience is what makes influencers special.
It could be achieved with constant content-making.
Influencers must post actively to strengthen their online presence and values, regardless of how often they receive brand deals.
Remember, not all influencers are equally professional.
You don’t want to work with influencers that only post brand sponsorships, right?
Also, don’t forget to check how the influencers can leverage Instagram features.
With Inflact, you can check this matter through the stat in content diversity.
Let’s try with Sylvia.
She got a score of 3/4 which means she did a very good job in creating various content on her account.
So, if you want more than just branded content and you seek long-term relationships, then
pick influencers who are actively producing and engaging with their audience.
Also, check the content diversity to see how much they can be creative in producing content.
Ready to audit any content creator account?
Now you know that running an influencer verification is not easy.
But, as long as you have followed the guide, there won’t be any problem.
From this article, you know the reasons why you should run an influencer analysis and how to do it.
Also, don’t forget about the most common cheating tricks and tips to spot a fake influencer.
It’s important as follower fraud has been upsetting many brands.
Not only that, you need a thorough influencer report.
Best performance for the best results.
You have goals so you don’t pick influencers carelessly, rather they are who have the best account performance
For better influencer examination results, I suggest using Inflact as it has a very powerful auditor.
They give you important stats and insights and nothing goes waste.
It will help the most out of your influencer discovery to find the best influencers for your campaign.
Is there anything you still want to ask me? Here let me help 😉
All your questions and our answers on how to run an Influencer Audit
How do I analyze my Instagram account?
Follow these steps. 1. Check your branding & tone, 2. Review your account’s visual appearances, also match with your branding, 3. Make sure you make relevant content to your audience, 4. Check how far have you leveraged Instagram features to mix your content, 5. Use Instagram analytics, 6. Examine your Instagram captions, make sure you have followed your brand voice, 7. Analyze your hashtags, 8. Check your engagement if it drops or not, if yes then start working on new strategies to enhance your account.
How many influencers have fake followers?
More than half percent of Instagram influencers or 55% of total influencers on Instagram have conducted fraud in 2020. Another study also found that 45% of Instagram accounts are fake. It means almost half of Instagram accounts are not real people.
How much does a social media account review cost?
Depends on the method you are using. If you do it manually, it will cost you 0 but you will need so much energy. But if you use tools like influencer marketing platforms, it also depends on the software you are using and how many social media accounts you want to examine. Usually, the platforms offer various prices with different benefits, including how many social profiles you want to search or verify. You can try their free trial, then proceed for the cheapest price at $59/month and the most expensive can be $399/month.
Continue to read if your like Influencer Marketing studies and insights
- How to track your Influencer Marketing Campaign Results? The Complete KPI Guide
- Best Influencer Marketing Software in 2023 – Ranked & Reviewed
- The State of Influencer Marketing in Southeast Asia in 2023 – The definitive Guide
- How Much Money Does an Influencer Make in 2023? Influencer cost, rates and earning
- How To Find (and contact) Instagram Influencers in 2023? And Build a partnership with them