Influencers with Fake Followers Will Cost Advertisers $1.3 Billion in 2019 [Report]

Every year, billions of dollar are spent on influencers worldwide by brands to promote their products. According to a new report, a considerable part of these annual spending instead of benefitting advertisers, go vague.

Influencers with ample amount of followers on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, are approached by brands reach targeted audience for the promotion of products in a more convincing way.

Like any other industry, influencers market also has fraud involved. Some of the influencers appear to be influencers by purchasing fake followers and getting fake likes or comments through bots.

A cybersecurity company, Cheq, and professor and economist of the University of Baltimore, Roberto Cavazos prepared a report that claims that this year, $1.3 billion from advertisers will be wasted in fraudulent deeds.

It is expected that $8.5 billion will be spent on influencer market this year, out of which 15% will be spent on fraud influencers.

Cheq’s chief strategy officer, Daniel Avital said this fraud figure was predicted by analyzing the data of Cheq, services used for fake social media engagement were reviewed and also other research and surveys related to online fraud were considered.

Social media influencers can benefit from their followers by endorsing several brands. Cheq reported content creators with 10,000 followers can earn up to $250 per post whereas, one or two million followers may bring $250,000 per post to the influencer. While another recent study also sheds some light on how much money influencers are generating from paid social media posts.

Sometimes, users with followers as low as 500 are approached for paid posts. Having a large number of followers does not mean it will boost sales as well. As Arianna Renee with 2.6 million followers on Instagram launched her own clothing brand but wrapped it up after selling only a few products.

Avital said once influencers needed to have a huge following as Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner but influencers with the minor following are also part of the growing influencer market.

Though there are many authentic influencers but some fraudsters are also present in the market that garner engagement using bots and click farms.


Avital advice brands to check the credibility of influencers before investing in them. Though it is time-consuming and needs effort but would help to stay away from frauds.

Consumers must also check the authenticity of the influencers by analyzing on their own. CEO of influencer marketing agency, Obviously, Mae Karwowski explained the easy way to identify bogus influencers. If an influencer has 70,000 followers but only 100 likes and zero comments (or smilar engagement rates) would mean there is something fishy. Either the content produced in not attracting followers or the followers are not real.

Also, the frequent changes by social media platforms can help in identifying frauds. Like Instagram’s testing of hiding likes may lessen the pressure as currently, brands choose an influencer with the most likes.

It is the need of the time that we make the online world more secure and peaceful and team up against bad actors.



Read next: Under the Influence: 84 Influencer Marketing Stats - Infographic

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