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      Instagram Engagement Down? 2021 Algorithm Tips

      Instagram Engagement Down? 2021 Algorithm Tips Featured Image
      Published on Aug 19, 2021 by Andy Thornton

      Have you noticed your Instagram engagement going down over the last couple of months? It might have something to do with this update from Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram.

      In the post he shared to Instagram in June 2021, Adam declared that the social network was “no longer just a square photo-sharing app” and that Instagram would be focusing on four key areas going forward: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging.

      What does this mean for your content creation?

      Put simply: start shifting towards creating more video content for your Instagram account. 

      Video content on your Feed and on Reels is what will be prioritised by the algorithm. Instagram will reward accounts for keeping users on the app - video content naturally encourages this as it takes longer to view. And the longer your users spend on your account, the more likely it is that Instagram will prioritise your content. 

      You’ll notice that Adam identified messaging as a key focus for the social network too. So, make sure you’re replying to comments and also replying to direct messages. This indicates that your account has an engaged connection with its followers. Saves and shares are also now prioritised over likes or comments, so make sure your calls-to-action in your descriptions reflect this!

      How can you boost your Instagram engagement?

      In light of the new algorithm (and based on advice from the sources we've linked to at the bottom of this blog), you might want to try some of the following tactics:

      • Double the amount of video that you post on your Feed 
      • Post Reels three times a week 
      • Post a Story every day which involves an action for followers to engage with (such as a Poll or Quiz)
      • Prioritise carousels and video over single images 
      • Reply to direct messages more regularly & reply to as many people as possible
      • Write longer ‘microblog’ type captions 
      • Use any new Instagram features as soon as they are available to use as these are rewarded by the algorithm

      How to optimise your existing content for the Instagram algorithm update

      Low on time and resource? You work in marketing, of course you are! Here are some suggestions for you to make the most of the algorithm update without needing extra budget or content:

      • Convert what would be carousel posts into videos using Canva animations and post them on your Feed as videos
      • Create carousels from single images by zooming in on two features within the image to create three separate images
      • Try to include a form of engagement in every Story, including asking questions and then replying via direct message
      • Post a Story as often as possible that includes calls to engage, even if it’s just one simple poll - every bit of engagement helps
      • Repurpose your blog content as microblogs on your Feed. This will hugely increase the amount of time people spend on your account and will encourage shares and saves
      • Save more Stories as Highlights and encourage followers to go to your account and view the previous Stories in the series - Instagram have said they will factor in how much people visit your account from your posts when deciding to show them more or less of your content
      • Reply to more of your direct messages more often

      If you’re doing all of the above already - like the trend-following marketer you are - try investigating some of the following...

      Other reasons why your Instagram engagement may have dropped:

      • Your account may have been muted multiple times within a short period. This can reduce visibility of your brand in the feed and lead to the account being banned
      • You’ve had a sudden increase in followers, likes or comments. This could be perceived as bot activity so Instagram might temporarily hide you
      • You’ve used hashtags which are banned
      • There’s been a natural dip in engagement. In this June blog post, Adam Messari wrote that Instagram "can’t promise you that you’ll consistently reach the same amount of people when you post. The truth is most of your followers won’t see what you share, because most look at less than half of their Feed." 

      If you’re still scratching your head over Instagram and how to boost your engagement, perhaps its time you revisit your buyer personas. Download the free template below which will help you refocus your marketing content and attract more relevant followers to your brand. 

      Target Your Top Customers & Convert More Of Them Into Leads - Download the buyer persona guide here


      Special shout out to Dani The Explorer who has written a super comprehensive blog on the 2021 algorithm update: https://dani-the-explorer.com/2019-instagram-algorithm/ 

      The following sources also informed the creation of this blog: 

      Andy Thornton

      Saving clients from bad marketing and design is Andy's MO. He writes helpful blog content on all sorts of marketing topics so that you get the advice you need to take your job by storm.

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