Retailers such as Zappos and Threadless lost more than 200,000 Twitter followers after the social platform removed fake accounts. But fewer followers could mean better performance data.

Twitter Inc. cracked down on fake accounts on its social media platform last week, which reduced the number of followers some accounts have.

When Twitter detects sudden changes in behavior, such as spam-like tweeting patterns or sharing misleading web links, it contacts the owner to confirm control of the account. If the owner doesn’t respond and reset their password, Twitter locks the account and removes the profile.

This is good news for online retailers, both for their own brands and when those brands look for social influencers, says Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of social media marketing platform Socialbakers.

“A drop in fake followers can only help marketers as they look to discover authentic influencers, better measure their impact and focus their marketing activities on audiences that are open to engaging with them,” Ben-Itzhak says.

For example, celebrities such as Katy Perry and and Taylor Swift each lost more than 2 million followers after the Twitter bot purge last week. But since those were fake accounts, those bots were not valuable to the celebrity nor to any brands or retailers that were looking to hire them for the social clout they have on social media.


“The number of bot followers they have doesn’t reflect on them at all, as long as they are not purchased followers,” Ben-Itzhak says. “Brands and celebrities do have a certain portion of bot followers simply because they are popular profiles.”

If a retailer has had a reduction in bot followers, it will likely make their performance data more reliable, as more interactions with their content will be genuine, Ben-Itzhak says.

Plus, more does not always mean better for social media, he says.

“Brands are looking less and less at the number of followers they have and more at the quality of those followers,” Ben-Itzhak says. “It is quality interactions that really drive impact for marketers.”

The following retailers had the largest drop in Twitter followers after the bot purge on July 12:


While Whole Foods Market lost the most followers, it represented only 6.8% of its total Twitter follower base. Here’s how much the decrease impacted these retailers’ user bases:

Bloomberg News contributed to this article