As digital marketing professionals, social networks have been a business opportunity for us. From the day they “came into our lives,” they have become a new channel: through them, we can reach millions of people segmenting with oftentimes a stunning precision. From time to time, new ways of using social networks appear to increase the effectiveness of our communications. And a few years ago bots started appearing as a “shortcut” to achieve greater exposure with minimum resources. Those are the Instagram bots. Some people program their own bots, but there are paid services that perform this work at a really low price.

Knowing this tool is essential to understand the current context of influencer marketing. Bots can fool many people and organizations, meaning your investment does not get the expected ROI. Knowing them is the best way to detect when and how they can be affecting your Instagram account. In this post, we will focus on the ‘bots’ designed to automate the views of stories on Instagram.

How do bots work?

The function of a bot is always the same, to automate repetitive actions. Setting up a ‘bot’ is basically programming a set of guidelines for a series of actions. A ‘bot’ is not intelligent and will limit itself to doing what you indicate. This could lead to unexpected situations as we will see later.

In the case of Instagram, people use bots to like posts, post comments or follow other accounts without having to have a human at the controls. The ‘objective’ accounts and posts of these bots are defined by criteria such as, the use of certain hashtags that indicate a specific theme.

You test for bots by creating a  publication with a hashtag that targets the bots. This way you will see after a few minutes, that you have received some like or comment from a suspicious account or may have even been followed by them. Also, you can target the location from which people publish to connect a bot to those accounts. Many bots are programmed to try to reach audiences at particular locations. Another option is to identify the accounts that follow a certain profile, such as competition “spammer,” to tell the bot that it can begin to harass them.

But there are new types of ‘bots:’ They are those responsible for automating the visualizations of ‘stories.’ This type of bot is also known as ‘mass story viewing’ or ‘mass looking.’ It’s a bot that watches the ‘stories’ of the accounts that a person indicates, without any real human behind.

The beginnings of this trend are in Russia, where it became fashionable even among accounts of famous people. The rise of this type of ‘spam’ has made it so that some publications of ‘Instagrammers’ from outside Russia have even appeared, making fun of those celebrities interested in their ‘stories’. Obviously, these types of actions have their origin in the poor choice of the manager of the social accounts. Furthermore, the public image obtained is extremely negative.

Bots for Instagram stories

There are several reasons why a user decides to use a ‘bot’ that automates the views of ‘stories’.  The main one, however, is usually to obtain visibility in a massive way.

The bots work like this: When you publish a ‘story’ you can see which profiles have viewed it. If there are any among them that you don’t recognize, you may be curious and visit their profile. If you find them interesting you will follow them, or maybe buy some of the products that they Promote.

In this way, the ‘spammer’ will have achieved a new follower or even a sale. If you automate this action, you will be able to make thousands of visualizations to thousands ‘stories’ from your account. And if all goes well, the number of followers of your account or the number of sales will grow.

Whether they are looking for more followers and to be able to call themselves an ‘influencer‘ or trying to achieve more visualizations of the products they sell on their account, this type of ‘spam’ has reached us to the point that the bot developers themselves are using them to sell their own service. To buy these bots, you can pay for a number by month.

The ‘bots’ that automate ‘likes’, comments or look for the classic ‘follow 4 follow’ have been exploited in such a way that virtually all Instagram users have been victims of them. Because of this, the results are not as good as before. Now a new type of ‘bot’ is appearing to generate visibility peaks centered on the automation of ‘stories’ visualizations.

Consequences of the purchase of ‘bots’ to visualize ‘stories’

The reality is that with the appearance of this type of service, the only thing that has been generated is victims. Obviously, the first victim is the Instagram user. While it is true that this new type of ‘bot’ is less intrusive than the older ones, they are still annoying since they dirty the visualization metrics of ‘stories’. Since those data are not real, what we have as a consequence is pure and hard spam.

With these bots you can’t differentiate the fake and reals visualizations. Fortunately, sometimes it is easy to discern which of these have been done by bots. They usually come from locations where the language in which you make your publications is not spoken. We can also see accounts that do not fit the profile of your audience. At other times, discerning when we have a bot activity can be more complex.

On the other hand, the second victim will be the spammer themselves. Instagram bans these types of automation techniques.

When Instagram detects that you use a “bot,” your account is very likely to be blocked. Accounts exists to use them for bots. But on other occasions, these bots have been used to promote accounts with previous work that is blocked overnight. This makes us throw our time and money in the trash. Instagram sometimes gives you a little warning: You should not use any tool that can be in breach of its terms and conditions.

To make matters worse, you can damage the personal or brand image. As said at the beginning, these bots are not at all intelligent: they just carry out the actions that you indicate under the conditions that you specify, and they will do it to the letter. Therefore, if you screw up when configuring the bot you have purchased, you may find yourself in awkward situations.

Finally, the audience achieved using these types of actions, is usually of very low quality. The most common negative consequence is the worsening of the account metrics. Therefore, if the account ‘spammer’ belongs to an ‘influencer’, these actions take you out of consideration for future collaborations with brands (provided the brand bothers to check the authenticity of the account).

To conclude, the negative consequences of using these bots far outweigh the possible benefits you can obtain. Therefore its use is not advisable at all. If you need to find influencers and want to make sure they don’t purchase fake followers, you can use Heepsy.