Instagram Engagement 23% Down In October. Can A Higher Posting Frequency Reverse The Trend?

Marko Saric posted on 5 November 2015

It’s the month of November already so we’d like to welcome you to the new Instagram growth and engagement study from Locowise. For this study we looked at 2,500 Instagram profiles and their performance in the month of October. Let’s get into the numbers.

The low organic growth is here to stay

The profiles we looked at grew by 0.26% in the month of October. The largest of these profiles, those with over one million of followers, grew by 0.21%. This is a 4% increase compared to 0.25% growth we saw in the month of September.

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The low organic growth seems here to stay. The good old days (actually the days from earlier this year) when you could grow your profile organically by 2% per month are gone. The organic growth decline from April to October this year is at 86.67%.

Engagement down 22.73% compared to September

Post engagement in October was at 1.36% of the total audience. This is a 22.73% decrease compared to 1.76% engagement we saw in the month of September. The total engagement decline from April to October this year is at 51.43%.

To combat the drop in growth and engagement brands are posting content more frequently. In October the brands published 2.69 posts per day on average.

The larger the brand the more they post actually. Profiles with over one million followers posted 8.58 times per day on average in October. This higher posting frequency could be one of the reasons why the largest profiles also have a higher engagement than the average profiles: 1.47% of the total audience engagement per post. This is a 8.09% increase compared to the average engagement we saw in our study.

Higher posting frequency = Higher engagement?

We know from our study on Facebook posting frequency that posting more often doesn’t result in an increase in organic reach and engagement. Actually posting two to four times a week or even less frequently results in highest organic reach and engagement per post on Facebook.

Brands risk to turn Instagram into Twitter by posting more frequently. On Twitter the average brand of the 2,500 accounts we looked at posted 7.01 times per day in October engaging only 0.13% of their audience per tweet. The largest profiles, those with over one million followers, posted a whopping 31.81 tweets per day but engaged only 0.02% of their audience per tweet.

For now we recommend you do experiment by posting more frequently on Instagram and use Locowise to analyse the results you are getting.

Thinking more long term the question is how long will this slight boost in engagement last? If all brands start posting more often the engagement is bound to go down even further. We’ll keep an eye on the numbers for you.

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Instagram busy with the ads

One thing Instagram developers are busy with these days is implementing new ways brands can reach their audience through the advertising platform. The carousel ads drive an additional 2.5 point lift in ad recall compared to the single photo campaigns according to Instagram.

Considering the above organic growth and engagement numbers it is a must to introduce a paid aspect to your Instagram strategy. Have you agreed a budget for Instagram advertising yet?

Images and likes rule on the platform

Likes are by far the most popular way of engaging on Instagram. Likes stand for 97.64% of all engagements. Images still rule on the platform. Images stand for 92.41% of all posts. Images also engage 1.41% of the audience on average compared to videos that only engage 0.79%.

During last month Instagram introduced a new stand-alone app called Boomerang. The idea for the app is to help turn your photos into videos similar to Apple Live Photos and Google Photos animation feature.

As a social media manager it is worth knowing all the new features platforms are introducing. With the declining growth and engagement in mind Boomerang is something we recommend you try out for your own brand. How does posting a Boomerang video affect your engagement?

As a social media manager it is worth knowing all the new features platforms are introducing. With the declining growth and engagement in mind Boomerang is something we recommend you try out for your own brand. How does posting a Boomerang video affect your engagement?

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The battle between Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter

Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter all want to be the place where you go to find content about the universal events, news and other big moments happening right now. All three platforms are working on curating content and making it easier to discover the best stuff. Snapchat has Live Stories, Twitter has Moments and Instagram is entering the market too now.

As seen in our stats above the use of video on Instagram is very low compared to images. Instagram is not happy with this and Boomerang app is one way they’re trying to change the behaviour of the audience. Another project they are introducing is curated content streams with an immersive video player. The first event they focused on was Halloween where their employees curated a list of best videos on the platform.

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Curated content streams are an opportunity for brands

These curated content streams are an opportunity for brands. If you are posting relevant and timely content that highly engages your own audience, you could catch the attention of one of the curators which could get your post featured and help boost your reach to a completely new audience.

As we’ve recommended earlier a larger part of your Instagram content calendar should be reactive content that is based on real-time events, trends and other relevant happenings. If done well, this could expose your brand message to a new audience thanks to the new explore tab, the new search and the curated streams.

Not many brands put emphasis on reactive content as majority of time and resources are spent on proactively planning future content and campaigns. Monitoring the explore section on Instagram and reacting to anything that is relevant to your brand with interesting and eye catching content should become an additional task for your social media team.

4 things you should do this month

1. Understand that Instagram is a pay-to-play platform. Get a budget agreed and start running Instagram ads in order to boost your audience and get your content in front of more people.

2. Experiment with your posting frequency. Post more frequently and use our free Instagram Analyser tool to identify how this new schedule affects your post engagement and the overall growth of the profile.

3. Try posting more videos. Videos have potential to get your content in front of more people. Upload some of the videos you use on Facebook or on YouTube. Use Boomerang app if you find it difficult to create videos. Next analyse how your video posts perform compared to your image posts in your Locowise account.

4. Post more content around big events and other relevant happenings. Instagram has improved their explore section, the search functionality and are now even curating content streams. All this means that if you can master content that is timely and relevant you could organically spread your message to a larger audience.

Locowise goes beyond pretty charts. We crunch the data for you. We draw insights from the noise. And we produce business value immediately - answering specific questions with high-action intelligence.

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