Do Bookmakers Buy Fake Twitter Followers?
Disappointed by the thriving Twitter underground economy of fake accounts and spammers? So are we. In the service of transparency and curiosity we decided to conduct an analysis of the Twitter accounts of 16 prominent bookmakers to find out if the big bookies use such shady practices. Spoiler alert: We found one bookmaker that does just this.
We used Followerwonk to find out if bookmakers pay for followers. We evaluated a total of 16 bookmakers on the following parameters:
- Influence Score
- Follower count of [bookmaker's] followers
- Tweet recencies of [bookmaker's] followers
- Total tweets of [bookmaker's] followers
- Account ages of [bookmaker's] followers
The bookmakers included in this study are Unibet, Ladbrokes, Betsson, Betway, Bwin, Partybets, Stan James, 188bet, Sportingbet, Betfair, Bet365, Red Bet, Coral, William Hills, Skybet and Paddy Power. For the bookmakers with more than 25,000 followers, a random sample comprising 25,000 followers was analyzed.
The first metric is Followerwonk's calculation of influence. A high influence score means that the followers engage with the tweets sent by the bookmaker through favorites, replies and retweets.
Paddy Power is taking the lead as the most influential bookmaker on Twitter. Skybet, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Betfair are all close behind the leader.
Meanwhile, we found that Betway is the least influential of the included bookies.
Follower count of followers
Follower count of followers shows how many followers each of the bookmaker's followers have. A high number indicates real and influential followers although this number can be gamed.
In this category of analysis three bookmakers were most prominent: RedBet, Betway and Partybets.
Tweet recencies of followers
Most of the bookies have quite active followers with greater than 50% being active on Twitter the last week. With one exception: 60% of Red Bet followers have not been active the last 3 months.
Total tweets per followers
Partybets and Coral have few quiet followers. Unibet, Betway and Bwin all have more than 10% followers who have never sent a single tweet. This does not mean fake accounts, merely that the value of these followers is limited.
For all the bookmakers, more than 50% of the followers have sent 50+ tweets in their Twitter lifetime. Except Red Bets followers. Staggering 72.5% have sent fewer than 50 tweets.
Followers' Account Age
This metric shows how old the bookmakers followers' accounts are. Again, the difference between most of the bookmakers is not that significant. Betway and Betfair are followed by "older accounts" than the other bookmaker.
The only real outlier is Red Bet, whose followers tend to be "6-12 months old". This could certainly indicate that they boosted their account with fake followers at some point within the last year.
We collected and analyzed a tonne of data, so here is a bit bonus info. The first graph shows number of tweets per day. This graph shows that Coral is the most active bookmaker on Twitter with over one tweet per hour on average.
The least active accounts are Betway and Partybets. Both of these bookmakers tweet less than once per day.
The very last graph shows the follower:following ratio. Skybet is a huge outlier here with an impressive 198:1 ratio. In pure terms, they have 398 followers for each user Skybet follows.
On the other end of the spectrum, Betway, Partybets, and Red Bet all have a ratio under 1:3.
The well-renowned bookmakers do not sponsor Twitter's underground economy of paid followers and fake accounts. Hooray!
The only bookmaker that blatantly pays for followers is Red Bet. Boooh (Yes, it is possible to pay for followers without owning the account, but this does not make much sense for anyone to do)!
The tag cloud above is summarizing the Twitter bio for Red Bet's followers. These followers are not interested in sport or betting. Instead they like following back, making money, being followed and - of course - Justin Bieber.
Ps - if you want more details, you can download our dataset here.