Updated: Mar 16
Now if you’ve been on the gram consistently over the past couple of months, you may have noticed a slight decline in engagement. Not to worry though, we’re here to give you an explanation as to why that exactly is. With more and more brands flooding Instagram with their presence and the platforms plausible shift towards eCommerce, one can only wonder whether or not this is impacting Instagram’s overall engagement.
In the latter part of 2017, there were already more than 25 million businesses active on Instagram, though we are yet to hear from Instagram themselves as to how much this figure has increased. However, one thing we can say for sure is that this figure would have significantly increased. But with more brands jumping on Instagram and hoping to be the top posts on everyone’s platform – engagement on brand content would naturally have to decline
In their study, Trust Insights analysed over 1.4 million posts from 3,637 brand profiles to verify the overall engagement rate. According to their findings, from January 2019 to the end of June 2019, the engagement rate on the platform started to dip. This is also an important element for marketers to take note of. Here is a brief roundup of their findings:
The maximum average engagement rate (based on their selection) was recorded on April 15, 2019, as 1.54%. Whereas the minimum engagement observed was 0.8% on June 23, 2019.
Initial engagement decline started to occur in early May. Since the beginning of the year, there has been an 18% decline in average engagements (most likes).
As much as it has been great to see the growth of Instagram over the years, there are some concerns - particularly for brands. This concern is that Instagram we may see similar trends to that of Facebook. Like Instagram, on Facebook, many brands were given a significant amount of organic reach which started to decrease and decrease even more (over some time). Following on from this, it was difficult for brands to continue any type of non-paid connection with the majority of their Facebook page audience.
Facebook has addressed this change and said that the reason is that people like to see more activity from their friends rather than overloaded brand content. Therefore, this pushes brands towards paid content, in the hope that it will help them improve their reach. This too could also be employed on Instagram, as we have already seen many brands flock towards sponsored content. However, whilst Facebook users want to see more content from their friends, the same may not apply to Instagram. Research shows that 80% of Instagram users also follow a business on the platform, which would suggest that they have come to see what they are posting. The question is whether Instagram could still flip that into a justification for lower brand reach, which would again increase the need for paid ads?
It’s important to add that influencers are also seeing changes in their organic reach as well. Going forward, this could make Instagram marketing more complex. We’re sure the question you’re asking is how this plight can be overcome. Well, there is one simple answer! Focus on content that appeals to your unique audience. We’ve said this many times before, but as a brand, as much as you want to pull everyone in - it is very unrealistic! Your attention should be on those that have a special interest in the product or service that you offer and are most likely to buy into your business. We agree that the more you maximise your reach, the more likely you are of attracting as many prospective customers. But when you focus on your niche audience, it enables you to build on your engagement, increase your sales and expand on your current customer base.
One thing to remember is that quality and audience focus is paramount! We would encourage our followers to be mindful of the times and changes that come along with it. It would be interesting to see whether Instagram ad content becomes the new normal over the next couple of years.