India appears to have the third largest number of fake influencers on the social media platform Instagram. The number is as high as 16 million, and only the US with 49 million and Brazil with 27 million fake influencers are higher than India.
A joint study undertaken by A Good Company and HypeAuditor has brought out these details. The former is a Swedish e-commerce firm while the latter is into data analytics. They studied millions of Instagram accounts across 82 countries.
This means a number of marketing firms would be wondering how much money they would have lost assuming these influencers were working for them and promoting their products or services on Instagram. The cost to the marketers on account of the fraud is being put at around $750 million.
Influencer marketing is a relatively new technique the online marketers have found. Social media platforms like Instagram and others offer a large canvas to pitch their clients’ products. The influencers will then use their own followers on these platforms to post some good things about the products. The present finding shows that at least these 16 million Indian ‘influencers’ were not real accounts and the followers they claimed they had on Instagram are not for real. They could be some Russian bots for all you know.
The estimate on the overall market for influencing through Instagram is placed at $2 billion currently, up from $1 billion just two years back. Facebook, which owns Instagram, has as many as 2.38 billion monthly active users and WhatsApp, another platform for messaging, has 300 million users in India alone. Besides these, you have Twitter where 16 million people log in every day.
There’s also the opinion that in markets like India, the level of awareness among the regular users of computers and mobile phones is quite low. This gives room for such fake accounts to manifest themselves.
In another related incident, there was a case of 49 million records of several high-profile influencers getting exposed and the source of the leak being traced to a firm Chtrbox in Mumbai. This was a social media marketing firm.
Though Instagram reacted to the incident, the company said none of the emails and phone numbers, mostly private in nature, have been accessed by anyone.