If you've spent any time on Instagram at all recently, you've no doubt come across at least some variation of this post:
The growing rumor is that Instagram has been actively restricting the reach of posts to 7% of a profile's total following (some, like the green one above, say 15%). In order to counteract this, the posts call on users to like and comment on that specific post, which will, apparently, magically restore their reach levels.
Yeah, that's not true, and this week, Instagram (via its Twitter profile) has addressed the reports and clarified the situation.
The full statement from Instagram reads:
"We’ve noticed an uptick in posts about Instagram limiting the reach of your photos to 7% of your followers, and would love to clear this up. What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc. We have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you're following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. Again, your feed is personalized to you and evolves over time based on how you use Instagram."
But the skeptics will note that Instagram doesn't specifically say the 7% rumor is not true - and technically, it could be, though it's not an Instagram mandated limitation.
As explained by Instagram, what you see in your feed is determined by who you follow, the profiles you engage with, the time something was posted, etc. From a user perspective, that means that if, say, you follow 100 people, yet you regularly like and/or comment on posts from only 10 of them, then you're far more likely to see the latest posts from those 10 profiles first in your feed. If each of those profiles post 3 times per day, that's around 30 posts, which, depending on the amount of time you have available to spend on the platform, could be all you see, which would mean your exposure to content is limited to only around 10% of the pages you follow. That's not because Instagram has made it that way, but because the algorithm is trying to show you more of what you're increasingly likely to engage with, in order to keep you coming back more often.
But the rumor relates to profile reach, not personal experience. Taking the above into account, if, alternatively, your business profile has 100 followers, yet only a few of them are actually engaging with your content, then yes, it is possible that your reach will be low. Maybe 7% of your audience are seeing your posts, maybe less - maybe 100% are - it all depends on who your audience is, what they're doing on the platform, how much time they spend scrolling, whether you're creating engaging, interesting content, how often you post, etc.
As Instagram confirms, it hasn't changed its algorithm, the key defining factors are still in place. It is possible that only a small group of your audience are seeing your posts - but liking and commenting on a single update (as advised in the above examples) is not likely to have any significant impact. Regular interaction is key, posting engaging, relevant content, that your audience regularly responds to, is how you ensure your post reach is maximized.
Basically, it ain't true. If you know someone who needs this clarified, send them a link to this post.