Almost everyone is on Instagram and the pressure to improve and become the best social media app out there is enormous. Unfortunately, each update and each new feature makes is not necessary for the better. 2019 is full of glitches and breakdowns for Instagram but this time Instagram hit a new low. I’ve been on Instagram for a LONG time and I have a LOT of opinions. This is gonna take a while. Here is what’s up with the 2019 Instagram drop.
The changes have been subtle over the year and if you haven’t noticed by now I’m truly sorry for bursting your bubble.
First of all, let me explain why I consider myself quite an Instagram pro. My personal and main IG account NAT7x currently has over 47000 followers. I’ve slowly built up my audience over a span of 5 years just as I did with my blog.
Some time ago I published an article called How to become Instagram famous? – Tips and Tricks.
There are still some important insights to take from that article but it’s all so 2 years ago.
Instagram got way more complicated since then.
NAt7x works as the best promotion platform for this blog of mine even though I’m currently working on a renegade7x Instagram account for said purpose as well.
Besides my main account, I manage Instagram accounts for 2 different brands. I work as a sort of social media manager for a New York-based digital magazine where I also work as a contributing writer called NYGal magazine. The other one is a fashion boutique FABLYST that sells mostly women’s fashion and I’m in charge of their Instagram accounts.
It goes without saying that I’m clearly making money from Instagram and when you do, you take their changes very seriously.
The main issue these days is a noticeable decrease in your Instagram account reach.
What does it mean?
It means that only very few people can see photos or stories you share. It’s a well-known fact that cracking Instagram algorithms is a mystery for most of the part, but we do know that Instagram shares the photo of your dog you just posted with around 10% of your followers. Based on the outcome it either extended its reach or not.
Now it’s not even that simple.
Instagram is following the same path as Facebook did a few years ago, which led to its inevitable fall.
I believe we’re witnessing the fall of Instagram because of its greediness and capitalism.
Let’s face it. Facebook is no longer fun. It’s a necessity.
Everyone is on Facebook. Your mum, your grandmum, your aunt, and sometimes even your dog.
Since Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp it was obvious the changes would come.
For example, a slow merge of the 3 apps that would create a SUPER APP for communication.
I see the opportunity to make communication for larger brands easier but dude what the fuck.
Just remember how many big facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp crashes there have been this year only? 3-4? How can I relate to only one communication platform with so many glitches?
In case you didn’t get the memo that Facebook fucking owns Instagram prepare for the rebranding and welcoming the “Instagram from Facebook” and “Whatsapp from Facebook” which is just a waste of breath and lacks any effort whatsoever.
Facebook and Instagram’s undoing is the share believe they know their users and how to make money out of them.
They believe they have an algorithm to determine what I as a user want to see. It’s supposed to work on your own interaction with Instagram. So who do you stalk, what hashtags you search for, or who do you comment the most. Users with the most interactions are considered “friends and family” and are supposed to be shown preferentially.
But what do you actually see on your dash these days?
Instagram ads, sponsored posts, and celebrity posts.
IG slowly implemented its own adds not only to your dashboard posts but to stories as well. That’s nothing new these days. Adds are everywhere and are a great way for small brands or bloggers like myself to earn something extra.
Let’s focus on the sponsored posts now.
On the Instagram side, it’s an unbelievably smart move.
So what happened?
Basically, they took the option to promote themselves like before. Since the chronological posting was disabled and we all switch to the “friends and family” system your posts are shown to only a few dedicated fans. Your small group usually consists of boyfriend/girlfriend, family members, best friends, stalkers, and some random dedicated Instagram friends. No one gives you the biggest and purest supports as a random girl on Instagram you never met but share but you share a strong bond with her.
So to get some outcome on your new post you need to post it on your follower’s most active time, but that’s still no guarantee. Kate is active every Friday evening but this particular one you decided to post a photo, she chose to take a nap instead. You’re one like short and your post is not shown to the broader audience.
Another way to promote yourself was through hashtags.
Little did you know there is a loss of forbidden hashtags that will have the exact opposite effect on your post reach.
Short info on how hashtags work: Whoever can search for whatever hashtag and can track your post because of it.
Using banned hashtags can result in simple hiding of your post so you’re using the hashtag for nothing. It’s useless. You’re still back with your small group of fans. In wors case and very common you get shadowbanned.
Shadowban is a feature that has been on for a while but since it came with no warning and it’s so fucking hard to notice, obviously it took a while for us to crack.
When you break Instagram rules you get shadowbanned for an unknown time based on your violation. For example, inappropriate content could be from 1-7 days. Liking too much 24hours. Suspicious activity for 7 days. All of that differs.
The degree of a ban also differs.
A specific baned hashtag can lead to your account not being displayed on that said hashtag tag.
Your post can be disabled on all of the hashtags you shared because of the one forbidden.
Your account search can be prohibited. This means that for example is someone typed into a search bar NAT7x, nothing would show up. You’re an unreachable shadow.
If you’re just a personal account and you’re not planning to make Instagram your career, then it’s almost impossible to notice.
But if you have few thousands of followers you’re definitely gonna notice something is not right.
Your steady follower’s growth gets postponed.
Post interactions get less frequent.
Story views are shit.
Congrats you’re shadowbanned.
How to make sure you are really banned?
Add random hashtags to your last post or comment. Something really unique like #imtestingifimyaccountnat7xisshadowbannedornot and then search for a said hashtag.
If you’re post came up you’re good to go. If not, well sorry.
There is NO way to fix it once you’re in the shadowban. You can only think of ways to prevent it.
Think about what you did. You’re in purgatory now. You’ll get another chance so make sure you’re not gonna do the same mistakes again.
Easier said than done.
“Don’t use banned hashtags”
Sure Jan, but the banned hashtags list is ever-changing. Hashtags come and go and it’s impossible to keep track. Here is just a taste of what are the banned hashtags in 2019:
#adultlife #curvy #Beautyblogger #likeforlike #boho #instamood #beyonce #eggplant #books #ig #kissing #happythanksgiving #humpday #fitnessgirls #dm #samelove #valentinesday #undies #mileycyrus #master #newyears #model #mustfollow #tgif #women #popular #prettygirl #likeback #single #selfharm #bbc #tags4likes #alone #attractive #costumes #kansas #eggplant #girlsonly #rate #snapchat #nasty #skype #shower #teens #xxx #thought #bang #ass #followforfollow #milf #thighs #overnight
I don’t understand who is Instagram trying to protect with this feature.
If I want to see some eggplants I’m gonna see some eggplants no matter the ban.
I believe that when you deliberately searching for something you are automatically giving consent to seeing what you search for.
Instagram is only trying to take these promotion methods from us, so our only option is to buy promotion for our posts.
It’s hard to understand how important is the reach and impressions of the post if your living hood doesn’t depend on it.
Try to imagine you’re a small brand. Newly starting fashion company. Instagram can be a great tool for promoting your store and earning some money.
You need to get out there in order for customers to come to you.
Old ways are no longer working and new ones cost more than the profit.
So you buy promos for your posts. Your posts are shown to a wider audience that is so fucking tired of all the ads so they are simply ignoring yours and you can’t blame them.
Blame is on Instagram and Instagram only for monetizing the Instagram experience.
Did you ever think about why Instagram implemented the time feature on their app?
What do I care to see how much time I spend on Instagram every Sunday?
Well, I don’t care but everyone trying to sell me something surely does.
The goal is to keep you on the app as long as possible.
If you look at the situation from Instagram’s point of view, it’s a golden ticket idea.
Knowledge is power.
If I know Natalia spends her Saturday mornings in bed searching the high heels hashtag I’m gonna add extra shoe ads for her next Saturday morning.
Brilliant. That’s what I always wanted. Someone tracking my every move.
That’s one of the reasons why people slowly left Facebook.
Yes, thank you Facebook I really needed to see the video of dogs wearing funny hats because I was feeling blue but how did you know you creepy fucking fuck? Don’t pretend to know me!!
Facebooks organic search dropped in 7 years from 15% to 1%. Almost everything you see on Facebook is paid. Instagram is following the same path and will meet the same fall.
Besides implementing big brother moves, Instagram is trying to be a good guy and get rid of the bots.
Instagram no longer wants fake accounts on their site, because it’s all about authenticity.
Like, get your head out of your ass. Who the fuck is naive enough to believe, that what you see on Instagram has anything to do with authenticity or real life?
Everything you see on there is a result of tons of shots, preparation, styling, editing, captioning, tagging and promoting. It’s hard work when you want to make an impact.
Again, I’m not talking about personal accounts. You go have fun guys.
But I, as a creator can tell you how freaking stressful it is to share something to 47K followers. So much work for 200 likes iI get on a post these days? Let me remind you again that I have 47K followers. A few months or even years ago my posts would get 4 digits number of likes per post. My story view reach fell from thousands to hundreds at best. In a span of 2 months, I lost around 200 followers. I’m losing more than I am gaining.
It could be because Instagram is getting rid of bot accounts. You know just random pic-less accounts whose sheer purpose is to stalk, promote, sell something or just generally bring attention to them. They’re not real accounts and there is no one real person behind each of the fake accounts.
Instagram doesn’t like that because you can’t sell to robot accounts.
I guess I should be thankful Instagram is getting rid of fake fans.
Sometimes you get confused for a bot account.
For example, one time I posted 9 posts at once on my other renegade7x blog Instagram account, and I got banned for 7 days on my main account nat7x, because Instagram thought I was being hacked. I used the same email address for both of those accounts but they banned the other one. I appreciate the effort to protect my account and banning me from liking, commenting, following, unfollowing, or posting for a week.
But can you imagine my engagement drop after that long ban? Not good for business, trust me.
I tried to report the issue with the Instagram support but that is like talking to bots. No outcome.
When I noticed another drop in my engagement, firstly I thought: ok I fucked up I’m banned again. I’ll wait a couple of days and I’ll do better.
But the same happened with the business accounts I work for and I know that there is no way in hell I could have fucked up there so much, to have my story shown to 3 people out of 1000. The same happened to many many other IG accounts around the world. Group forums are full of people trying to figure out how they went from 600 views to 20. We’ve been witnessing drop after drop throughout the whole year.
To quote korayodabas:
Based on 3,637 brands on Instagram, an analysis by trustinsights revealed that there occured a clear decrease in engagement rate, sharply so beginning in early May.
In only 6 months, average Instagram Engagement Rate decreased from around 1.2% to around 0.8%. That is 33% decline in engagement rate!
That’s a major effect you might find ridiculous. It’s just a social media account. I get that.
But again. Bigger picture.
I have my boss on my throat all the time because I’m killing his business with low engagement and reach on his accounts. I’m getting paid to evolve the account but how do I do that when Instagram is blocking my every move.
I’m sure you’re waiting for a solution to this problem after bearing with me through this long complaining of mine. Sadly I don’t really have any.
Post regularly. Don’t use banned hashtags. Don’t like it too much but don’t like it too little. Avoid using third parties for posting or you’ll be considered a bot. Don’t post too quickly and too many posts at once. Play by the rules. Buy sponsorship for your post.
Or just don’t even bother anymore…
I’m lost, bitter and angry.
There are many updates coming our way whether we like it or not.
Like threads messages that are supposed to make messaging your close friends even better.
Some of us are already using a dark mode of Instagram.
Another new feature is gonna be something like a tik-tok where you could make short videos easier. Good move on Instagram’s side cuz they have been losing many youngsters to the tick-tok app so this way they could lure them back.
And you know Instagram is all about stealing the best ideas from other apps and making them their own.
It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the updates and algorithm changes.
The fact reminds that influencers, creators, brands, and businesses are witnessing a major drop in their account reach and it’s affecting everything they have been working for till now. Whether you like it or now social media do have a real-life impact on some of us and we are pissed.