Sahail Ashraf posted on 2 July 2019
Everyone loves Instagram. The millions of users love it. The media love it. It’s very much the favoured platform for the young and hip segment of social media users. And the exciting thing is that it is continuing to grow.
It keeps making leaps forward in various areas, while still managing to provide value to the users. We thought we’d take a look at Instagram at two key points: the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019.
How did it go, and did users gain value from the platform?
With Instagram in the last quarter of 2018 the growth in fans was pretty steady at 0.08%. This meant that there was that steady upward turn in fan growth. It was pretty pleasing for a last quarter result, and continued to demonstrate the platform’s value for companies wishing to use it for reach and brand awareness.
Fast forward to the first quarter of this year, and we see even more growth in this area. The fan growth is up at 0.09%. This is a great piece of news for brands using the platform at the start of the year.
The engagement rate figure has a drop with 0.53% falling to 0.47% in the same period. You could explain this away to an extent by simply saying ‘more fans, less engagement’. But it’s something that needs to be monitored moving forward.
In the final quarter of 2018, engagement for photo posts was at 0.77%, and there was a subsequent drop for photo post engagement in Q1 2019 to 0.63%. There’s not a lot of room there and the drop isn’t catastrophic. What’s interesting here is that, the drop isn’t soaked up by an increase in engagement for video posts. That has stayed static for the time period at 0.22%. Video hasn’t, in other words, stolen engagement from photo posts.
This is the big area for brands, the key area of interest. Instagram has a lot of potential for any business, so the engagement figures are always important.
78.27% of the posts on Instagram in the first quarter of 2019 were image posts. This was a slight increase from 77.64% in the last quarter of 2018. Video posts made up the rest of the content base, at 21.73%.
There was a huge boost in commenting over the six month period. If anything, commenting shows engagement pure and simple, so any growth in this area can only be a good thing, providing value to brands on the platform. In Q4 2018, the comments average was 1.9 comments per post. That’s okay, and it shows how the channel can prove to be valuable for most brands. However, the picture on this engagement stat changed hugely in 2019 Q1.
Q1 2019 saw a low for comments average, at 1.4 comments per post. This huge drop shows that commenting has simply dropped away massively on Instagram. This key part of engagement seems to have suddenly become less visible.
There’s no obvious explanation. But it could prove to be a real issue. Instagram literally losing a big chunk of it’s source of engagement is no small matter. If brands need to watch anything, it’s this.
The picture becomes a little more comforting for video posters, however. There was a clear increase in the number of comments for video posts in this time period. Back in 2018 Q4, the share of engagement was 17.6%. In 2019 it leaps up to 25.17% of the total engagement. In other words, video holds its own, yet again. Perhaps it is time to start mixing up content formats for your brand’s Instagram page?
The commenting thing is worrying. But maybe that’s just a sign of the way things are going on social media generally. In any case, these insights show that Instagram is still a major force, that video is vital for progress, and that there is growth on there.
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