Why Did My Instagram Engagement Go Down?

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Have you noticed fewer likes? Less comments? Overall, a decline in engagement? Well, you’re not alone. It’s happening to all of us. There have been some recent changes within Instagram that will continue to impact business accounts. We’ll try to break this up into an easy to understand WHY and WHAT TO DO section.

WHY? Due to information breaches at Facebook and a desire to provide a more "authentic" user experience, they've decided to up their security measures and tighten down on third party access.

API changes took place 12/11/18 that restrict the use of apps to artificially grow your account. This includes programs like Like Followers and Like Growers. You may still be using programs for auto liking, following, or commenting, but Instagram will catch up to you as they send out the Instagram police and patrol accounts. We are recommending to our clients that they stop using these auto-liking/commenting/following programs.

As a result of these recent changes, you are most likely noticing follower counts drop, engagement rates dip, and comment activity decline. Instagram has gone so far as to remove fake likes and comments from previous posts! The good news is that the fake accounts are going to start to go away. The bad news is it feels like you're putting forth MORE effort with less result.

To further complicate how you feel about this change, in the next few weeks you will see your profile change - number of posts will go away, there will be less emphasis on number of followers, and contact buttons will move around. This is being tested out and will slowly roll out over time. Bottom line: It's time to focus on quality over quantity.

WHAT TO DO? Here are some quick thoughts:

1 | You CAN still use planning apps approved by Instagram for planning, posting, and auto-posting your content. Two that we know are currently approved are Planoly and Plann (both great). You will only be able to use these apps if you are a Business Account.

2 | Stories reign. Some reports indicate 60% of users only view stories and have stopped looking at their feed. We recommend the UNFOLD app as the easiest for making stories, and then using OVER when you're ready to advance a bit.

3 | Look at your Stories analytics every 14 days (they go away after that). Instagram does not give you info on what day you posted, time posted, or other details, but you can start to get an idea of what Stories perform well. Impressions is the best and easiest metric to look at. We do hope Instagram starts providing better analytics for Stories in the future.

4 | Hashtags still work. Use 30 every post! And if you are manually posting, put them in the comments. Also, DO NOT use the same hashtags over and over. We recommend at least five different sets of hashtags to mix it up. If you don't mix it up, Instagram will shadow ban you.

5 | Start to think about the big picture of your digital marketing reach. You do not own your Instagram account or Facebook page. You DO own your email list. Your website link on Instagram should be a linktr.ee (or similar) link and should always include a newsletter sign-up button.

6 | Use Calls to Action (CTA) on your posts. Encourage people to view Stories from feed, view feed from Stories, click on bio, head to the blog, etc. The more activity you can drive within your Instagram profile (people clicking around) the better your algorithm is to Instagram and they push you higher in the feed and queue.

Still have questions? Shoot us an email and we’ll be happy to give you a thought or two. And be sure to sign-up for our newsletter to stay in the loop on all things small business, branding, design, and social.