February was another eventful month in the life of Instagram.
The CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom met with Pope Francis. He shared a list of 10 curated Instagram images with the Pope as they spoke about power of images to unite people across the world.
Let's see what this power of imagery results in growth and engagement for brands on the platform.
Follower growth hits the lowest point
That said, opportunities for large organic audience growth are pretty much non-existent on all three of the platforms.
More than 200,000 active advertisers
This means that not only does Instagram beat Twitter in monthly active users (400 million v 320 million), but it also beats it in monthly active advertisers (200,000 v 130,000).
There's still a long way to go to in order to reach the parent company though - Facebook reported recently that it now has more than 3 million active advertisers.
Engagement rate hits the lowest point
Instagram's engagement rate in February was 0.84% of the total audience. This is a 11.58% decrease compared to January, it's the lowest engagement rate since we started doing our studies 11 months ago. Instagram engagement has decreased by 70% in this period.
The reasons for the continuous engagement decline
So what's caused this continuous decrease in engagement on the platform? These are several factors:
- More brands and other users are getting onto the platform. They're also posting more often. This creates a lot more noise.
- Instagram has ramped up its advertising businesses over the last few months. This adds even more noise.
- A typical Instagram user now follows more accounts. This means that there's more content in their feed and makes them miss out on a lot of stuff.
Reports say that an average user now follows 400 to 500 accounts - that number has increased from approximately 250 one year ago. This has led to the decrease in organic reach and engagement. Many brands are expecting and hoping for an algorithmic timeline to be introduced soon (edit: this has now been announced):
"I fully expect that they will move to an algorithm at some point," said Kenny Mitchell, head of consumer engagement at Gatorade, which has 743,000 followers on Instagram. "Because of the tremendous growth, having an algorithm can help with the utility of the platform, so you're actually getting served things that are most useful to you," said Gatorade's Mitchell.
It's important to note that despite the declines, Instagram is still a more engaging platform than Facebook and Twitter. Twitter's average engagement was at 0.04% of total followers in February, while post engagement on Facebook was at 0.53% of all page likes. An Instagram post gets 2000% more engagement than a tweet.
Images drive 66% more engagement than videos
Images still rule Instagram. Images stood for 91.07% of all content posted in February. Images engaged 0.88% of the total audience while videos engaged 0.53%. You gain a 66.04% boost in engagement by posting an image rather than a video.
Instagram is changing the way they display likes. Content with less than 11 likes used to display the usernames of people who liked it. The new test shows likes as a number, even if the post has got less than 11 likes. This is in addition to the video view count that we reported last month.
1. Experiment with Instagram - Switch some of your focus from Twitter to Instagram - it's still the platform to beat in terms of engagement.
2. Improve your imagery - Have your team come together for a brainstorming session. How can your images make a bigger impact? Can you think of an interesting concept for your Instagram profile?
3. Consider Instagram advertising to help you cut through the noise on the platform - It's the best way to boost the size of your audience and the reach of your content.
The post Instagram Hits 11-Month Low: Growth Down 93% And Engagement Down 70% appeared first on Locowise Blog.