• magnifying glass icon
    • left wave svg right wave svg
      3 Mins

      Instagram Hashtag Engagement On The Decline. WTF?

      Instagram Hashtag Engagement On The Decline. WTF? Featured Image
      Published on May 11, 2017 by Natalie Lam

      Let's get straight to the point. Instagram is slowly becoming my least favourite social media platform. I mean, Facebook will always be the worst (I still love it obviously), but with all these recent Instagram changes, the experience on there is worsening and I’m not quite getting the same social validation as I was before. Where my likes @ man? TELL ME THAT MY EYEBROWS ARE ON FLEEK.

      Last year, I wrote about the Facebook organic reach dramatically decreasing, and it seems a similar thing is happening on Instagram too.

      Has anyone else noticed this?

      Earlier in the year, Instagram published a post addressing some issues with the hashtag search, advising users to focus on business goals & objectives rather than hashtags for their social media marketing. Now, that’s not a formal announcement saying the hashtag is dead but the subtext sure feels like: ‘stop with the hashtag spamming, god dammit!’

      Whilst I might not like individuals spamming posts with tonnes of hashtags anyway, I have to admit that - from a brand marketing perspective - it massively expands the reach of your post, gets you decent engagement and even grows your followers a little. 

      But, recently, it seems like no matter how many relevant hashtags we use or the quality of our captions, posts for both our clients and our personal accounts have lower engagement than normal. One of our clients was averaging around 50 per post, and is now receiving no more than 10 per post.

      Y u do dis Instagram, y? Y?

      daryl from the office crying

      There doesn’t seem to be any official statement from the Instagram team about the decline yet, but there has been a mixed bag of theories, from a shadowban to a bug in the algorithm. My theory is that they’re trying to minimise the amount of poor quality posts flooding the timeline and prevent spammers from overtaking all the hashtag feeds (and, of course, make room for an increase in paid for posts…).

      Don’t forget! Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 and they’ve made some drastic changes since then; posts out of chronological order, a truly hideous 90’s PowerPoint style logo, allowing social advertising just to name a few. Many of these changes feel distinctly similar to the changes made on the Facebook platform itself (where paid advertising is now pretty much crucial). We’ll have to wait for an offish statement to find out what's really going down, but we'll keep you updated in this blog.

      If, like me, you're not a quitter, then maybe now’s the time to mix things up. The guys at Buffer have a v interesting post about understanding the Instagram algorithm which is well worth a read, and might help inform your strategies going forward.

      If anyone else has noticed a change in their timeline or have found any interesting techniques that work (from insta pods to decreasing the amount of posting) hit us up over on Twitter and share your woes or triumphs!

      Manage your social media in under 20 minutes a day - download the free guide to learn how!

      Natalie Lam

      Natalie is the go to gal for social and images. Her photo skillz are super slay and she can sling a bit of code should the need arise.

      Related Articles

      picture of a white internet icon with a red circle behind it
      Topic: SEO, Analytics, web design, Organic Website Traffic (10 Minute Read)

      Why Did Your Organic Website Traffic Decrease? 9 Reasons

      Cartoon hand writing a to do list with whitty items to be checked off
      Topic: Events, Videos & Webinars (2 Minute Read)

      Get paid to do nothing

      Subscribe to our blog

      Get monthly digital marketing tips sent straight to your inbox want to know what you expect before you subscribe? You can preview the monthly newsletter right here.