As you know, every week we post a recap video of the latest news and stories from Instagram. Here’s this week’s if you didn’t catch it:
The theme this week was all about Instagram’s latest comments updates, and the fact that you can now like other users’ comments and even turn comments off on your own posts if you wish to.
Whilst pondering the possible reasons for wanting to turn off comments, we had a thought which rang true (for us in any case). A lot of the comments we receive are fake, in the sense that they have no connection to the post they’re made on – more than likely because they’re posted automatically by Instagram bots.
So, after posting the 60 second version of this week’s video on our Instagram account (in which I state the likelihood that a huge percentage of Instagram comments are fake), this happens:
I have to admit the irony made me chuckle! And I could actually stop writing this article right now because the point has been made. Nuff said. Done. But I won’t, because this is really becoming a noticeable problem for businesses on Instagram.
What are bots, and why do they exist?
Instagram bots are computers which take over your Instagram account to help it “grow”. The computer becomes responsible for liking and commenting on Instagram posts containing certain hashtags that you define beforehand, or posts from the followers of a specific account (again defined by you). You can also choose which comment you post, which is supposed to make the comment seem genuine – even though it’s not. Bots can do other things too, like follow accounts with certain words in their bio, depending on the kind of account you’re looking to connect with.
Sounds great on paper, but it’s actually not a great strategy for growing your account if you’re searching for engagement and authentic followers for your business. In this video, I explain exactly why it really isn’t a great idea to use a bot to grow your Instagram account.
What’s more, although the comments posted are supposed to feel genuine, the more there are like it, the more obvious it becomes that these comments are in fact automatic.
We checked the comments posted on the 10 latest Instagram posts of some top brands, and we came to the conclusion that on average, at least 40% of the comments we saw were unauthentic.
There is no algorithm for detecting fake comments, so these figures aren’t exact but the more you study the different sorts of comments on a post, the more blatant it becomes. Obviously we can’t speak for all brands on Instagram, but the larger ones with hundreds of thousands of followers seem to be more prone to receiving fake comments.
So does this mean my engagement rate is actually lower than I think?
Being an Instagram analytics platform, here at Iconosquare we feel concerned by the obviously growing army of “fake” Instagrammers because the likes and comments left by these bots give a false sense of reality when it comes to engagement. Basically, your engagement rate (which you’re trying so hard to increase) could be based on actions which are not authentic.
Put it this way, if you’re getting an average of 200 comments on your posts, but when you sift through them 40% turn out to be fake, it’s as if you only had an average of 120 comments per post. And that would definitely affect your overall engagement rate.
What can I do to get rid of fake comments on my posts?
Since there is no way of differentiating authentic comments from unauthentic ones, there is no possible way of filtering out the good from the bad as of yet.
- The new option of disabling comments on your posts is one way of getting rid of the annoying fakeness – but that means also silencing the people who really have something interesting to say.
- You could go along and delete the comments you consider to be unauthentic (quite easy as it’s generally the comments which have nothing to do with your post), but this will have no effect on your engagement rate.
- Alternatively, you could go private. This would mean that any fake comments you receive will be coming from your followers only (so if you see one you can simply delete that follower!)
Thanks for reading, we’d love to get your input on this topic in the comments section below! Do you have a problem with unauthentic and spammy comments? Let us know!