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Influencer Marketing: How to Measure True Influence

By IMA on May 20, 2019

With algorithm changes and fake followers recently becoming a big issue, marketers are starting to question the legitimacy of the influencers they work with. Yes, they may have 500,000+ followers and meet the client’s brief, but how can we be sure these followers are real? And that they are really seeing the content?

Luckily for us, tech developers have become wise to this and have provided us with intelligent tools to help us understand how influential our influencers really are. Here are the main things we look out for when validating an account’s true influence…


Audience Quality

We start by analysing the influencers’ follower quality, reviewing aspects such as;
– Are the accounts active?
– Do the accounts follow exceptionally more accounts than follow them?
– Do the accounts have suspicious @handles?
– Do the accounts regularly engage with the content on their feed?
A legitimate account will be active – posting and engaging with other users’ content regularly and in a natural way. They will be following a reasonable number of accounts and will generally not have an @handle full of randomised numbers (a sign of a bot). We look for influencers with a large percentage of real, active and engaged followers, and avoid those with a lot of suspected fakes.

Follower Growth

Follower growth should be natural and organic with the occasional peak or drop. A gradual upcurve of followers is a sign of a good influencer growing in popularity. However, when a follower gains or loses tens of thousands of followers in one day, this is usually a sign of them buying followers. Influencers with larger follower counts can charge more for sponsored posts, but if their content is reaching a large percentage of fake followers, we’re really not getting value for money.

Engagement Rate – Like-to-Follower Ratio

Engagement rate or ‘like-follower-ratio’ allows us to qualify an influencer’s true connection with their audience. An influencer may have millions of followers, but how many people are actually engaging with their content? To calculate this, we compare the number of followers to the average number of likes per post – giving us an engagement percentage.


Engagement Rate – Comments

Although like-to-follower ratio is a good tool to use in the initial stages, it is also possible for accounts to buy likes. Therefore, we qualify the influencer’s engagement further by analysing comments. On a good account, a popular post should gain comments as well as likes. Good posts are also likely to be commented on by other influencers. True influencers will often refer to and be referred to by other influencers in their niche – this is a great indication that an account is valid.

Online Visibility

A final check on our list of how to analyse an account’s true influence is to see if there’s any evidence of them anywhere else online. A quick google search should bring up; a blog, website, YouTube account, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media account owned by the influencer. Most influencers don’t limit themselves to just one social platform, so this is a good indication that the account your reviewing is real.

If you’d like to review your influencers’ true influence and media value, drop me a message at Or, check out how your Instagram compares to a celebrity influencer here!

For more information on Influencer Marketing and getting value for money with your influencers, contact the Partnerships team at Intermarketing.