Instagram Ad Fraud
It’s easy to get lost in Instagram, right? Beautiful travel shots, gorgeous outfits, delicious food – but have you ever stopped to think that those perfectly crafted pics might actually be too good to be true, and you might be lusting over a completely fake account?
There are three things which will make us follow an Instagrammer.
(1) Attractive Images
(2) Lots of Followers
(3) Someone you know has commented/liked an account
There is huge currency in having a well–established Instagram account, especially if you are in sales or marketing. You get your product featured, reviewed or admired by an Instagram influencer with a heap of followers and chances are at least one of them will buy your product.
But, Instagram fraud is on the rise and fake accounts are beginning to appear. Fakers are even going so far as to engage with brands and convince them to part with their marketing spend, to advertise on their Instagram platform. And that, my friends, is ad fraud.
It’s easy to be taken in. Scam artists simply create a fake profile, hire a model, and do a full–day photoshoot to gather enough images to populate the account. Then, they buy followers, likes and comments, to build the platform – all fake. A brand looking for their new brand ambassador simply sees a well–populated account with plenty of followers. They pay to promote their product on it, without realising that the following doesn’t actually exist. Suddenly, they become a victim of fraud. It’s like advertising on a TV channel with no viewers.
We were curious to hear what our partners, Origin Digital, thought about Instagram fraud. Here’s their key to spotting fakers:
- The key alarm bell is engagement (comments/replies). Fake accounts usually receive little to no engagement in comparison to the number of followers they have.
- The handles for these “followers” are usually buggy, and scream fake.
- Building a following is tough, and competition is fierce. You have to graft to build a following – it takes time and usually is achieved via blogger outreach and fellow bloggers promoting others, also via hashtags, relevant and high quality content. If the account isn’t doing this, it could be a fraud. And if it suddenly has a huge following, chances are they have bought their followers overnight.
- Real accounts usually share relevant and educational content that people actually find useful. Not just enviable, aspirational content.
This is a warning to brands hoping to delve into the complex world of social media influencer marketing – keep an eye out for the fake accounts. Failure to do so could result in your marketing budget going down the drain, wasted on a model, brand or lifestyle that doesn’t even exist.