May was a big month in the life of Instagram.
The algorithm that sorts the posts according to the relevancy and popularity has arrived. Many brands and influencers have freaked out about this.
The business profiles with insights and more added features are coming soon too.
Let’s take a look at the growth and engagement on the platform, and all the other things you need to know.
Growth and engagement
Follower growth in May was at 0.19% of the total audience. This is 18.75% increase compared to last month, which saw the lowest growth since we started doing our studies in April 2015. Follower growth has dropped by 90.26% in this period.
Engagement in May was at 1.02% of the total audience. This is a 1.92% decrease compared to April. Engagement has increased by 21.43% since the low point in February 2016, but the long-term trend shows that engagement is down by 63.57% since April 2015.
Profiles we looked at posted 2.97 posts per day in May. This number was at 2.43 per day in April. It seems that brands are trying to combat the decrease in growth and engagement with an increased posting frequency. This is a bad move, especially considering the introduction of the Instagram algorithm. We’ll get into that in a moment.
The default filter is the most popular one. 91.37% of all posts were images. 99.09% of all interactions were likes, but 19.65% of all comments were posted on videos. Photos engaged 1.08% of the total audience while videos engaged 0.75%. Photos get 44% more engagement than videos.
Algorithm is now live
The Instagram algorithm began rolling out on June 2nd. Instagram is making these changes in order to boost the engagement and compete better with Snapchat (Snapchat recently surpassed Instagram both in time spent in the app and as the app of choice for teens).
We saw the redesign last month and now the algorithm. Everything was done to try and get you to spend longer time engaging in the app.
According to Instagram, while testing the algorithm they “found that people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way.”
Here’s what we said in our previous article about the Instagram algorithm and what brands can expect:
Algorithm should be a good move for the platform. It will hopefully bring new life, and more growth and engagement for those that publish great content that people want.
Some of the factors the algorithm will take into consideration are:
• The likelihood you’ll be interested in the post
• Your relationship and history of interaction with the person posting
• The timeliness of the post
We can expect something like the Facebook algorithm. Some factors that will impact it would be the format of the post, the organic engagement on the post and the amount of time people spend on the post.
The brands are still panicking that the new algorithm will contribute to them getting even lower growth and engagement. This remains to be seen, and we will look at the initial data in our next study.
The bottom line is that you are future proofing yourself by posting quality content that your audience wants. By posting engaging content, you have no algorithms to worry too much about. The job of the algorithm is to surface interesting, useful and engaging quality content to people that want to see it. Facebook and Instagram are even considering to do revenue sharing with users that post quality content. That’s how important great content is for them.
For now, the good news is that business tools are being rolled out, including the ability for brands to quickly promote any of their posts to a larger audience.
Business profiles are being rolled out
Companies are increasingly turning to Instagram to connect to their users and to find new customers. There are 200,000 active advertisers on Instagram, and the platform is expected to bring in 15% of Facebook’s total ad sales this year. 50% of people follow a business on Instagram, and 60% learn about products and services.
And now Instagram has finally announced their business tools. So what are the business tools? Here they are:
• Business profile with contact button (call, text and email) and directions.
• Insights on who your followers are and what posts have the most engagement.
• Promote any of your posts to reach a new audience.
Insights are being tested on verified profiles and other profiles with large following too. Instagram is considering to roll the insights out to a wider community.
When can your brand expect to see these tools? Instagram announced that “Business profiles, insights and the ability to promote will be rolling out in the US, Australia and New Zealand in the coming months, and will be available in all regions globally by the end of the year.”
It’s interesting that only those brands that already have a Facebook Page will be able to convert to business profiles. It remains to be seen if all businesses will be required to convert to business profiles or they will have that option.
We will closely follow the progress of business profiles. Currently, all content is treated the same by the algorithm, but the algorithm could start devaluing content posted by business profiles in the future. A similar thing had happened on Facebook when the algorithm lowered the organic reach of content posted by pages.
Your action points for this month
Decrease your posting frequency. It’s all about quality now that the algorithm is upon us. It’s extremely difficult for brands to post three times per day every day and keep up the high quality standards. Your content needs to be strong and relevant if you’re going to keep getting the reach and engagement. Review your content strategy and focus on the quality rather than quantity.
Enter the hashtags. Hashtags could be a way for you to reach some more people. Locowise now shows you most used and most engaged with hashtags with your potential audience. Try and experiment with these and see what results you get.
And an update on the free Instagram Analyser: Unfortunately, the provision of our free Instagram Analyser tool was in contradiction with the terms of our agreement with the social network and we were required to move the tool into our application. You can now log into your Locowise account to see the Instagram Analyser (and our other tools) and compare your own performance to the profiles in this study. Get a free trial right now.
Take a look at Locowise 3.0. Our brand new version crunches your Instagram data and gives you practical recommendations for when to post, how many times to post, which hashtags to use and much more. Get a free trial now.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community