Tina Ahmed posted on 18 July 2017
Welcome to our monthly Instagram growth and engagement study for June 2017.
We look at 2,500 Instagram profiles and their performance on the platform.
We also look at the latest product improvements and other news too.
All this to help you identify the trends and standards on the platform, and to make it easier to compare your own results.
Would you like to dig deeper into these 2,500 Instagram profiles and make an even more detailed comparison with your own profiles? Get a free Locowise trial now.
Follower growth in June was at 0.11% of the total audience. This is 22% higher than the follower growth we’ve seen in May.
Post engagement rate was at 1.2% of the audience. This is 20% higher than engagement in May.
The profiles we looked at posted just over 3 times per day with 85% of all posts being photos.
Photos engaged 1.3% of the audience while videos engaged 0.8%. You get a 62.5% increase in engagement by posting photos rather than videos.
It seems that Instagram has been made aware of all the talk about the different tactics used by brands and influencers to artificially boost their audience and their post engagement.
There are tools that help influencers automate their following, liking and commenting campaigns. There are now even “Like” vending machines where you can buy fake followers and likes on the platform. Have a look. All this to look more influential and in the hope that you will notice them, follow them back and check out their content.
“A spokeswoman for the company said it views “any service that allows people to create bots to gain inauthentic followers as spam,” and pointed to guidelines that prohibit users from artificially collecting likes and followers and posting repetitive comments.”
Instagram has also started “shadowbanning” certain spammy and fake-looking accounts. On top of the automation tactics we described above, one of the popular tactics is to post a lot and include many different (and irrelevant) hashtags in order to reach people that browse these topics. These spammy accounts and posts will no longer be visible in the Explore tab or in the hashtag/keyword search results.
Have you experienced a large decrease in your growth and engagement recently? You may have been shadowbanned. One way to verify this is the case is to actually search and visit the keyword or hashtag pages that you use. Can you see your posts there?
Instagram hasn’t confirmed that shadowbanning exists, so it’s difficult to know exactly what factors they use to filter out accounts and content. These are some of the factors that may be considered:
– Very high posting frequency
– A large number of hashtags used
– Using hashtags that have no connection to the content posted
– Use of automation tools to follow, like and comment
What can you do if you suspect you’ve been shadowbanned?
– Take a break from posting for a few days
– Review your posting strategy in the meanwhile
– Reconsider your hashtags: do you need 20 hashtags? Do you need hashtags at all? Which hashtags are essential for your engagement?
– Review automation tools you may be using and consider if they’re worth keeping
Another problem that Instagram has are the sponsored posts by influencers. Influencers get paid to post content promoting products, brands and services and they do not disclose these. These promoted posts look exactly like any of their normal organic content. A recent report has shown that 32 of the 50 most followed celebrities on the platform post sponsored messages and 93% of them do not disclose it.
This is why Instagram is testing a new “Branded Content” tool. It’s available to a limited set of accounts right now and it allows the influencer to add the “branded content” label to their posts. This means that the post will have a “Paid partnership with” subhead to make it more clear to the users that this specific post is a paid message.
Instagram is trying to incentivise the influencers and brands to disclose the deals by promising “access to more info on how the posts perform”. The tool is available to some business accounts only right now but a wider rollout is expected.
Instagram Stories now have 250 million daily active users. The feature launched less than a year ago in August 2016. A third of the most viewed Instagram stories are posted by businesses and brands.
You can now reply to stories with a photo or video. These will show in your “Direct Message” inbox and make the DMs an even more integrated part of the app experience.
You can now also save your public live streams to your Instagram story. This allows the broadcasts to be rewatched and replayed for the next 24 hours and gets you more mileage out of the live content.
Some of the anti-spam and offensive comments features that we discussed in the past have gone live to everyone during the month. A machine learning spam filter is live for nine languages. And in “Comment Settings” you can now enable the automatic filter to “Hide Offensive Comments” on posts and in live video.