Exploring the Impact of Fake Followers in India's Booming Influencer Marketing

Exploring the Impact of Fake Followers in India’s Booming Influencer Marketing

Explore the significant impact of fake followers on India’s booming Rs 1,800 crore influencer marketing industry and uncover strategies for brands and creators to combat this pervasive issue.

In a recent revelation by KlugKlug, an influencer marketing platform, 58.5% of Instagram profiles in India have been implicated in harbouring spurious followers, exceeding 60% of their total follower count. 

This significant trend in fake follower fraud is particularly prevalent in the beauty and fashion sectors, posing potential financial losses for brands investing in influencer campaigns.

Profile TypePercentage with Fake Followers
Instagram Influencers58.5%
UAE Influencers40-50%
Indonesian Influencers19%

Key Findings on Fake Followers

Kalyan Kumar, Co-Founder of KlugKlug, highlighted the broad scale of this issue, noting that India is not just a major buyer but also a leading supplier of fake followers globally, with significant activities also reported in Brazil and Indonesia.

Financial Implications for Brands

Kumar also disclosed the striking cost variations in purchasing fake followers:

Price per 1,000 FollowersCost (INR)
Minimum Cost8-10
Maximum CostUp to 50

Brands reportedly lose 30-50% of their investments per campaign due to these deceptive practices.

For example, Sugar Cosmetics encountered a scenario where only 3,000 out of 11,000 tagging profiles had credible followers, significantly impacting their campaign effectiveness.

In light of this, Sahil Chopra, CEO of iCubesWire, remarked on the added complexity and cost to the influencer marketing processes due to prevalent fake accounts, stressing the challenge brands face in identifying impactful partnerships.

Also Read:   How To Get More Followers On Instagram: A Comprehensive Guide

Types of Influencers Affected

Influencer TypeFollower Range
Nano Influencers100 to 10,000
Micro Influencers10,000 to 100,000
Macro Influencers100,000 to 1,000,000
Mega InfluencersOver 1,000,000

Despite the prevalence of fake followers, some influencers also resort to buying comments and likes, a practice known as engagement buying.

Kumar explained that larger influencers who can afford such strategies often do so to present an illusion of higher engagement to attract brand deals.

Signs of Fake Followers

Shivam Agarwal of Kromium mentioned several red flags that brands and agencies use to spot dubious influencer profiles:

  • Engagement Rate Below 2-3%: Often indicative of inflated follower numbers without corresponding engagement.
  • Discrepancy in Likes and Views: For example, a profile with 100,000 followers but less than 10,000 views is likely harboring fake followers.

Viraj Sheth of Monk Entertainment noted that while this issue is pronounced among micro and nano influencers, even celebrity accounts with massive followings often have a high percentage of fake followers. 

However, the overall impact could be better due to the volume of genuine engagement they still receive.


As India’s influencer marketing industry continues to grow, surpassing Rs 1,800 crore, the challenge of fake followers persists, affecting both brands and genuine creators.

The industry must enhance its vetting processes and educate brands and audiences to safeguard investments and foster a more transparent influencer ecosystem.

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