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Trends Q: How many Instagram followers did resorts lose during last week’s spam account purge?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

Instagram has tried hard to maintain a solid base of legitimate users. Perhaps to reinforce that point, they purged a massive list of spam accounts from their database last week. But how many accounts did they remove and how did that affect resort follower counts?

The Goods
The biggest chunk of the purge seemed to take place on December 18, so we looked at the Instagram follower counts of 300 mountain, beach, and golf resorts both the night before the 18th and then 24 hours later. We adjusted for the expected daily growth of each account and grouped results by original follower count.


Overall the average decrease in follower count sat at 2.91%. The group that saw the biggest decrease (3.31%) were accounts that started with 1,000-5,000 followers with the smallest decrease (2.49%) seen by the smallest accounts. Accounts that started with more than 5,000 followers dropped 3.14% on average.

What This Means
We guessed that there would be a correlation between account size and follower drop. And while it started out that way, the average for the biggest accounts stayed surprisingly close to the resorts with medium-sized followings.

And while it hurts to lose followers, keep in mind that these resorts were seeing average monthly growth of 17%. In other words, by the evening of Tuesday, December 23rd, most of these resorts will have already earned those followers back and have a much cleaner list to show for it.

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