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Here is Why Instagram Numbers Need Not Reflect Blog Readership

Heard of an Indian fashion blogger with mammoth Instagram following of 103K in barely a year? Fan pages with 22K followers? One that beats the likes of the most popular and organized Indian fashion blogging brands like Miss Malini who by the former’s standards ‘struggled’ her way to 90K followers in last 6-7 looooong years? When I earlier posted the article titled ‘How Number Games are Affecting Fashion Blogging in India’, little did I know that I’ll get to know about a typical rich Delhi kid who spends on several thousands of fake Instagram followers overnight and calls herself a fashion blogger.

A reputed fashion website like PopXo decides to put this newbie fashion blogging clone in the same league as some of the most influential and eminent fashion bloggers in India. What’s worse is that they tie up with Swarovski, run a competition and send her to Paris! A golden opportunity wasted on someone undeserving. Only the founders of PopXo, Priyanka Gill and Namrata Bostrom can clarify if they were genuinely unaware of the so-called blogger’s unethical practice or if they were aware and it didn’t matter to them or if she simply bought her ticket to Paris, just like the Instagram followers. 103K+ Instagram followers. The number can give orgasm to fashion brands. Now that’s comparable to the likes of global power house like Park & Cube. However, here’s the real deal – in spite of staggering Instagram following, the Google Page Rank: 0, Moz Rank: 0, Alexa Rank: 4,25,498. Of course, the mammoth Instagram numbers didn’t really reflect on the blog readership. Paid following is (one of) the reason. But even otherwise, can Instagram numbers alone reflect a blogger’s readership? Can Instagram alone measure a blogger’s influence? I decided to compare the Instagram figures of different Indian fashion blogs with that of their blog’s Alexa, Google PR & Moz Rank.

Comparing Instagram followers vs Alexa rank of various Indian Fashion Bloggers
First and foremost, I find it ridiculous to compare fashion blogs merely based on numbers. The comparison above merely illustrates the correlation of Instagram numbers with that of blog traffic rather than comparing blogs itself; thus, I have removed the domain names. The chart shows how someone with 8K followers can almost have the same blog traffic as someone with 103K Insta followers. A fashion blogger with 28.5K Instagram followers can have an Alexa rank of 5.8 million or 35.6K Insta following can coincide with 5.9 million Alexa rank. Going by the Alexa rank, there are barely few 100s reading their blogs. 
I’ve mentioned this in my previous article and I am saying it again… Few fashion PR agencies, brands and other websites churning out ‘best-blogger-lists’ have clearly reduced the whole fashion blogging scenario to mere number games. Numbers matter. But when your Instagram number cannot even boost your own blog’s traffic (given the url is hyperlinked) how was it suppose to help the brand? What does the brand really want here? People to genuinely know the product and focus on returns or some xyz number of likes that can be shown at a meeting in a PPT slide? If 35.6K followers cannot even help your own blog’s stats, does THAT number even matter? I seriously cannot help but question the legitimacy of their following or the quality of their blogs. The fashion blogger with 17.1K Instagram following & 1.1 million Alexa rank reportedly earns Rs.25,000 for a collaboration. Technically, that means one Insta image that barely fetches few 100s-1K likes and a blog article read by few 100s. And I personally know bloggers whose articles reach out to 1000s and they have hard time in negotiating for Rs.5-7K! Why? Instagram count. If some brands were clear about if they’re looking at ROI or merely filling number of likes in an excel file or PPT slide or if a self-proclaimed fashion expert didn’t make a ‘top-fashion-bloggers-list’ based on Instagram numbers, I wouldn’t be doing their homework today. 

Over the years, I have primarily worked on content based articles and have earned my bread and butter by writing for various newspaper journals and fashion brands. Luckily, my clients understand that I write about fashion trends and style that depends on word power and insights. They understand my blog readership and don’t bother me with Instagram numbers. But what about the personal style bloggers out there? Will brands continue to judge them from Instagram figures or do their research and know it for themselves if people are actually reading what the blogger has to say?

UPDATE (10.9.2015) I express my sincere gratitude to all the fellow fashion bloggers and other readers who shared my last two articles and further added legitmate insights. The articles have reached more than 6K+ readers in last 24 hours and that’s really what a blogpost with an opinion & insight can do! Yes, I may have to deal with hate filled abuses from fake trolls and other friends of the blogger whose fake following is busted, but I can live with it. What’s more significant is that the words are spoken. Personally, I hold nothing against the blogger. I have nothing to do with her or her followers (both real & fake). I reach out to intellects, not a random duck-faced Instagram kiddo with 2-digit IQ. There are eminent fashion designers, editors, PR professionals and other industry insiders who read this blog. This article simply goes out for the sake of Indian fashion blogosphere in general, a space I passionately represented over the last 6 years.  Power to bloggers!

READ ON: How To Spot Fake Instagram Following

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