Marko Saric posted on 7 August 2017
This is our Instagram growth and engagement study for July 2017.
In these monthly studies, we look at 2,500 profiles and their growth and engagement 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 benchmark with your own profiles.
July was not a good month when looking at the follower growth and post engagement on Instagram. This could have something to do with the shadowbanning policy from Instagram.
Follower growth in July was at 0.05% of the total audience. It’s the new all-time low in the period since we started doing our studies. The previous low was 0.09% last time seen in May this year.
Post engagement was at 0.8% of the audience. This is an all-time low too. The previous low was in February 2016 with the engagement rate of 0.84%.
98.7% of all interactions were likes. Profiles posted 3.14 times per day with 84% of all posts being images. Photos engaged 0.9% while videos engaged 0.6%.
Let’s now take a look at some of the latest news and updates.
There are now more than 15 million brands with Instagram business profiles.
Facebook is testing the ability to create a custom audience for advertising from people that have interacted with an Instagram business profile. Advertisers can choose what type of engagement to count in the custom audience. It can be any engagement with a profile or for example just those who have contacted the profile by sending a direct message.
Advertisers can also select the time period for the engagement all the way up to the last 365 days. Facebook already has a help page about this new feature even though it’s only in the testing stages and only available to a limited selection of advertisers.
Every social media manager is constantly thinking about the new content to post. On Instagram especially this sometimes gets difficult due to the need for great imagery.
Not every brand has great looking products, photography or design resources, or access to events or celebrities that can help promote them. This means that some social media managers resort to posting content from other people and other accounts.
Here’s a good reminder not to be the brand that just takes photos from photographers without asking for permission or without paying for their work.
Instagram is such a cultural force these days that many entrepreneurs consider the platform when designing their physical products or actual physical space such as restaurants and shops.
Making your product or your shop Instagrammable can lead to a viral marketing boost due to people taking pictures and posting them to their profiles. Customer photos and recommendations are the best advertising campaign your business can have.
See this article for some ideas on how other businesses have turned themselves Instagram bait.
We’ve covered some of the ways influencers game their reach and engagement on the platforms over the last few months.
One problem for marketers are the Instagram comment pods where groups of Instagrammers work with each other to comment on each other’s posts in order to game the algorithm:
“Pods will often focus on sponsored posts that brands paid for and ask pod members to make sure to leave comments about the brand. For instance, for an outfit post, pod members’ approach could be to comment about how much they love the watch in the post because the watch brand sponsored the ad. “It can add a layer of recommendation, but it also needs disclosure,” said Weingartner.”
The signs point to the brands and social media marketers starting to understand the importance of truly validating the authority of an influencer.
The deals and payments rely on the follower size and engagement rate, but if a large part of these metrics can and is gamed, it becomes more difficult to understand the actual influence of a person and the return on investment for a brand. It’s important to look deeper.