How to check an Instagram account for cheating
The cost of advertising from an Insta blogger depends, first of all, on the number of subscribers and their activity. However, both are successfully wound up. Today, you can effortlessly wind up subscribers, views, likes, comments, and most bloggers are happy to use this opportunity, winding everything up at the same time and creating the appearance of an attractive advertising channel. By ordering a post from such an unscrupulous blogger, the advertiser will receive only a beautiful picture – no sales, no growth in loyalty and brand awareness. Therefore, before agreeing on advertising, you must definitely check your Instagram account for cheating. We’ll show you how to do this.
Why cheat check is necessary before starting cooperation
Influencers are admired, listened to, and trusted a lot more than noname companies offering to buy something. One post from a good blogger can get thousands of subscribers and hundreds of sales, but the effectiveness of such advertising directly depends on the quality of the blogger’s audience.
According to various studies, up to 80% of bloggers on Instagram resort to cheating. And if a few years ago it was possible to recognize a bot with the naked eye, today you can buy almost real users – with realistic nicknames, avatars and filled profiles. Many top bloggers raise the price due to the large number of followers, while their lion’s share may turn out to be cheats, and the number of real subscribers does not differ from the audience of any local micro-influencer. Even celebrities resort to cheating.
Checking Instagram for bots is a must if you want to get a really good advertising case. When the predominant part of the profile audience is bots and winding up subscribers who are not interested in the blogger’s content, the advertising budget is simply poured into the pipe. Plus, dealing with suspicious accounts can cast a shadow over your brand.
How to check a blogger for cheating
On some pages, it is quite easy to detect cheating, in other cases a fundamental analysis will be required. Bloggers have learned to masterfully mask cheats. If earlier it was possible to find many profiles with a 100-thousand audience and 2-3 likes under posts, which immediately pushed to certain conclusions, today everyone is pulling up to the necessary indicators.
Basic Account Information
First of all, you need to study the basic information about the account, namely the amount:
- total publications;
- posts per day;
- post likes;
- comments per post;
- video views.
Based on the data obtained, one can roughly understand what audience is on the account, evaluate its activity and the activity of the blogger himself. Agree, if there are only a few dozen publications on the account, new ones appear rarely and do not gain many likes, but at the same time more than 10k subscribers follow him, then this, at least, looks very suspicious.
It is important that already in the basic information there is a certain harmony and the correct ratio. For advertisers, accounts look delicious, for example, with 500K subscribers and 25K likes under the posts. It is good if the number of subscriptions is much less than the number of followers, and several publications appear per day and are commented on.
Then you can move on to a more in-depth study of the profile using trendHERO, because the correct spread of numbers in the indicators of basic information does not mean anything yet.
trendHERO knows everything about influencers. It provides over 90 metrics to test a blogger and choose the one that suits you best.
The first thing we look at is the number of subscribers growth. Ideally, the subscriber growth graph should gradually grow.
If you see a sharp surge in the growth of subscribers, and then a less dynamic unsubscription, then in 99% of cases this indicates a cheat. There is still, of course, a slight chance that the account was mentioned by a top blogger, or given by a Giveaway. Here you need to remember that the audience, as a rule, shows interest in any post within the first three days after publication. If the increase actually took place in a day, and then only an unsubscribe, then this is a 100% markup.
Next, we look at the growth of subscriptions. If you can see that a blogger constantly subscribes to hundreds of profiles, then unsubscribes and subscribes again, then most likely he uses mass following to attract subscribers. In general, there is nothing criminal in this. Mass following is one of the “gray” promotion methods.
The engagement indicator will help to check subscribers “for reality”.
Engagement Rate is essentially the ratio of the number of the audience to the active actions performed by it. Purchased subscribers do not show any activity on the account and reduce engagement.
On average, an ER of 5% is considered normal, it is good if the engagement on the account is 8-15%. But it is better to compare the profile score with the average ER on accounts with similar subscribers.
A low engagement rate indicates that the account either has bad content, or subscribers were bought.
Pay attention also to the user’s posts and compare the ratio of likes and comments under the posts. As a rule, there is one comment for every 100 likes. If the ratio is different, we can draw the first conclusions about the boost of likes and comments, and, accordingly, assume that the ER indicator is slightly tweaked.
Check for bots in subscribers
Checking for Instagram bots consists in scrupulous analysis of the audience. First, we pay attention to the demographic characteristics of the audience – the gender of the audience, location, interests.
It is important to know not only what gender and from what region are the preferential subscribers of the account, but also which of them is an active part of it. This can be clearly demonstrated by charts divided according to the principle of “all” and “like”. The dominant positions in both charts must match. It is very suspicious if the predominant number of subscribers by demographic characteristics differs from the active audience on the account.
Next, pay attention to the interests of your subscribers. In an amicable way, the dominant value should match the theme of the account. The minimum is acceptable if the profile subject is one of the highest values.
The next step is to analyze the “Audience Type” diagram. The majority of the audience should be real subscribers. The number of all others should be reduced as much as possible. The only exception can be called cases when goods and services of the B2B category are being promoted, then the number of commercial accounts may be greater.
In conclusion, we pay attention to such indicators as:
- “Audience reach” – the higher this indicator, the potentially greater the ad conversion rate.
- “Audience authenticity” – the more subscribers look authentic, the less chance of bots running into an account.
- “Average Likes” is essentially an approximate response rate for an ad.
Checking bots also includes tracking subscriber growth graphs and their activity. Together, this information will be more than enough to understand whether a blogger resorts to cheating or not.
How to check the likes on Instagram
When selecting a blogger, an activity check must be carried out, and the first step to this is tracking the reality of likes. Likes or not will be shown on the graph of distribution of likes and posts. We pay attention to how many percent of likes are gaining posts and the spread of these values.
On a good account, posts will gain approximately the same number of likes, fluctuations can be within a few tens of percent. Too sharp jumps indicate that under some posts the blogger is cheating, and forgets about some. Here you need to understand that advertising posts will always gain fewer likes than informational ones, and the latter, in turn, will get less than entertaining ones. Therefore, a small spread is normal. It is much worse if a blogger has the same number of likes under all posts – a certain number of likes between posts should clearly be supported by someone.
It is also recommended to pay attention to the top hashtags. They should be neutral. If the most commonly used tags include #likeme #liketime and the like, then we can conclude that most of the likes were attracted unnaturally.
How to detect cheated comments
Today, absolutely everything, including comments, is screwed up. To check a comment for cheating, as a rule, it is enough to open several posts and read the text of the comments. If they are all of the same type and generalized, then they are most likely left by bots.
A diagram of comment types can help you save time. It immediately shows how many likes the author himself leaves, how many comments are deployed, and how many are short, suspicious and most likely winding up. Pay attention to how many comments the blogger gets for the number of likes.
Myths and facts about cheating
When a business just comes to Instagram and plunges into the jungle of SMM promotion, it faces a trivial problem – cheats. Everyone has heard that on social networks you can wind up likes, the number of subscribers, but few people know how it actually works. Often you have to learn everything by your own bitter experience, but we will try to dispel the main myths about cheating with real facts.
- If the percentage of engagement is high, then there are no markups. In fact, a high ER indicator only indicates that the blogger is competent to monitor the account, but does not mean that the origin of the activity is natural.
- Good reviews are a guarantee of productive cooperation. Unfortunately no. Cheating is resorted to not only within Instagram. Until you check everything yourself, there is still a risk of reaching that audience.
- Quality content = good audience. People blogging for business purposes will naturally make sure their “product” looks attractive, but that doesn’t mean anything.
- You need to select verified accounts. A blue check mark next to a nickname only means that the user has verified his name. Even top bloggers and stars resort to cheating.
- The main thing is to have a lot of views under the video. Many people think that if the number of views for a video is approximately equal to the number of subscribers, then there are no markups. This is really one of the signs of a high-quality account, but at least you need to make sure that the views themselves are not winding up.
Tips and nuances
Cheating on social networks is the scourge of internet marketing. Bots, fakes, fake comments and likes are dangerous, useless and spoil the aesthetics. For advertisers, they also pose a threat to drain the advertising budget into a useless post.
To avoid becoming a victim of a cheat blogger, you will need to spend a lot of time. First, you carefully select bloggers suitable for target audience. Then you will have to track the ratio of likes to subscribers, assess the meaningfulness of comments, thoroughly study the blogger’s posts.
It is very difficult to do this in manual mode. Firstly, because Instagram itself provides little information about the profile to visitors. Secondly, because it is physically difficult and impossible to track at least 10% of the audience of even an average blogger within a reasonable timeframe. If you plan to use the services of bloggers on an ongoing basis, then it is rational to use the special trendHERO analytics service, which provides professional analysis tools.
It is unrealistic to deal with cheating. They can only be tracked by in-depth analysis of the account, its audience and activity. Despite the fact that Instagram algorithms have not taken into account the number of followers for a long time, many still prefer the number of the audience to its quality. Be sure to carefully check the profiles for cheating in order to protect yourself from pointless spending.