What are ghost followers on Instagram?

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You no longer receive the same level of engagement that you used to. Things are different now and have been this way for a while. You’re working hard on your social game and you’re putting out some of the best content that you’ve ever created. But the results are headed in the opposite direction.

If this sounds like your situation, then you may be a victim of ghost followers.

What is a ghost follower?           

Ghost followers are accounts who follow your page but have no interaction with your posts, these pages either no longer have any activity on Instagram or do not interact with your posts, ghost followers may be regular users or fake accounts that are intended to harm your engagement rate.

Ghost followers are more or less on most pages, and by removing them from your page, you can significantly increase your engagement rate, and according to the recent Instagram algorithm, you will be more exposed to your page followers.

These users follow active members, but do not partake in liking, commenting, messaging, and posting. These accounts may be created by people or by social bots. These types of accounts rarely have any content on their profiles and are often created by bots.

The following conditions are considered ghost followers of and reduce the engagement rate of your page.

  1. Accounts that have no followers.
  2. Accounts that have not published any posts on their page so far.
  3. Accounts that have more followings than followers.
  4. Accounts that do not have a profile picture.
  5. Accounts that have not published any posts in the last 30 days.
  6. Accounts with random numbers in their usernames.

The point that you should consider in identifying soul followers is that any account that has one of the above conditions is not necessarily a soul follower and you should be more careful to identify soul followers.

Are ghost followers bad on Instagram?

ghost followers on IG

Yes, with every new updated of the Instagram algorithm, inactive or even disinterested followers are hurting your page and your business will be in trouble. The ratio of the number of likes and comments per post to the total number of followers is called the engagement rate. The higher rate, the more popular the post.

The important thing is that Instagram also draws conclusions from your engagement rate and shows more popular posts to more people, while in contrast, it shows the posts that had less participation in the work to a few people, or maybe even from Prevent it from being displayed completely.

For professional marketers, massive follower numbers alone are not enough. For example, Instagram influencers need high engagement through their content to attract advertisers. Celebrities with high follower counts need high engagement so that they should not have ghost followers.

 Why do I have ghost followers on Instagram?

For some people, ghost followers aren’t a major issue. Even though ghost followers don’t engage with you, they’re still considered followers and are included in your follower count. Some people just want their follower count to be as high as possible. In this case, ghost followers are perfectly acceptable and in fact, even desired.

Which ways increase ghost followers?

If you think you might have ghost followers on Instagram, you might be wondering how you got them. There are many different ways that you may acquire ghost followers:

  1. Buying followers
    If you have ever bought followers, you definitely have acquired inactive followers. There’s no way to buy real and engaged followers, so the followers that you end up purchasing end up being accounts that will never engage with any of your content.
  1. You collect spam followers
    It’s not uncommon for users to send spammy followers to other accounts. If you notice one that you are suddenly gaining lots and lots of new followers then you have likely been targeted. For example, you have gained them as a result of a shootout but they sent you ghost followers.
  1. Running contest
    When you run a contest and make conditions like follow your page you end up the new followers that may not interested in your content so they won’t engage with your future content.
  1. Change your content
    Another reason why you might have Instagram ghost followers is if you’ve ever switched niches or shifted the direction of your account. For example, you had a photography page then changed it to beauty content so you will lose many followers and the existing followers may not like your new content and never engage with your posts.
  1. Be careful about your content
    Why you might have acquired ghost followers is that the content you are posting isn’t what your audience wants to see, and therefore, they don’t engage with it.
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How to find and remove ghost followers?

remove ghost followers
  1. Remove Ghost Followers Manually
    Go through your own account and see who follows you. If the account has limited followers of its own and limited content, it is highly likely that the account is a ghost follower. Also, you can see which of your followers do not have a profile picture and has a random number on their username then you can remove them manually.
  1. Use a tool that detects ghost followers
    Delete the followers that increase the engagement rate of our Instagram page. There are several apps to remove these followers. But you should be careful not to trust any app and do not easily provide your username and password to these apps as they may cause your page to be hacked or disabled.
    They are not approved by Instagram and are considered unofficial. The application I suggest is ‘Cleaner’ which detects the ghost followers then you can remove them from your followers.


Ghost followers can’t help your business because they don’t engage. They don’t comment on your content and can’t make your profile live. Besides, if you post some photos or updates about your company or career, you want to be heard by real people, not ghosts.

Having thousands of followers and barely any likes and comments won’t help your account engagement.

And most importantly, social media services like Instagram count your post engagement metrics based on the number of followers and interactions on your profile. Needless to say, if you have a lot of followers and low engagement, your parameters will be poor.

The engagement rate is crucial because it defines the attractiveness of posts. The thing is that Instagram assumes that posts with higher rates are more attractive, and therefore, it puts them higher in the feed. Posts with lower metrics get lower positions and easily get lost.

That’s why, if you care about the quality of your posts and want to reach real people, get rid of ghost followers.

Cyrus Nambakhsh

Cyrus is a serial entrepreneur, product-led-growth expert, a product visionary who launched 7 startups. He has built scalable platforms to help businesses and entrepreneurs. Contact: Cyrus@ainfluencer.com