Why your Instagram Engagement is dropping: Top 4 reasons and what you can do about it

July 3, 2024
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Ines Bertani
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Why your Instagram Engagement Dropping: Top 4 reasons and what you can do about it

In the competitive market of social media marketing, an endless amount of content is published every minute, with over a billion users, including content creators and businesses, striving to stand out. 

This is especially evident on Instagram, currently one of the most popular social media platforms. However, we’ve seen that some brands are experiencing a sudden drop on their instagram engagement and this is a challenge they need to face and resolve if they wish to keep growing and maintain their exposure.

In this article, we’ll explore possible reasons why engagement may be dropping on your Instagram account, and the strategies you can implement to help bring it back up.

Users and brands are experiencing massive engagement drop on Instagram

What is Engagement on Instagram?

Engagement is one of the main KPIs we consider to evaluate the success of our marketing campaigns or efforts. On Instagram, engagement reflects the overall performance of our posts by measuring how many followers interact with our content. This includes likes, comments, shares, and all types of interactions, helping us gauge interest from our audience.

Engagement is also directly related to reach, which indicates how many people have seen your content. The more accounts you reach, the higher the chances of increasing your engagement, and vice versa!

How to Measure your Engagement on Instagram

You can check manually your Instagram engagement and reach on your post insights. Check out the number of likes, comments, shares, clicks, saves and interactions on a post to measure how effectively you are engaging with your audience.

While the number of engagements considers the total interactions per post without considering your follower count, engagement rate (ER) represents through a percentage the level of interaction a post receives relative to the number of followers you have or impressions. 

Engagement Rate=(Total Engagements​ / Total Followers or Impressions) ×100

The ER will provide you with an overall impression of how your posts are performing over time. If you wish to easily check out your current engagement rate on your account, you can use our free engagement rate calculator, which will also provide further valuable analytics.

What ER should you expect?  

A solid average ER depends on the size of  your account. We generally expect higher ERs from smaller accounts, but a good number should be between 1-5%.

Read more about how to calculate Engagament Rate on Instagram.

Reasons why your Engagement may be dropping on Instagram

1. Instagram Algorithm Changes

First, it’s important to mention that Instagram’s changing algorithm can be tricky. Additionally, it favors original content rather than reposts, shared content from other social media platforms or practices that look suspicious for engagement. Therefore, don’t take it personally if your engagement is dropping, as this issue is likely impacting everyone!

Instagram is a constantly evolving platform, and every time a new feature is launched, such as Reels a few years ago, it changes the rules of the game. But at the same time, it may offer new opportunities for promoting your brand. Therefore, instead of getting frustrated, the best approach is to dive into the innovations and look for ways to adjust to the new landscape!

2. High Competition: Endless amount of content being published 

As previously mentioned, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms and therefore quite competitive. Each day more and more users are constantly fighting to create content which will show off. This includes brands, content creators and personal users.

You need to understand the platform in depth and create content strategically in order to stand out. Read more about this in the next point below!

3. Non-Following Content shown on the Feed

As part of Instagram’s evolving algorithm, we have recently seen some changes in the way and type of content that is promoted in your feed. Some years ago, you would only see posts from people you were following, and in chronological order, prioritizing recency. However, we now see that promoted content appears everywhere, including content from non-followers.

This decreases the chances of your posts being shown to your followers, and there’s not much you can do about it. 

And while it’s good to know this in order to understand what is happening, you should focus on your own strategy to see what you could implement to make your content more engaging for your followers and for Instagram to promote it.

4. Content Strategy

Posting efficiently on Instagram to achieve good performance involves more than just uploading a high-quality image or video. 

You also need to consider other aspects such as the posting day and time, hashtags, and overall context. There may even be some mistakes or points you’re missing when posting, including:

  • Not posting diverse and the more effective type of content: Audiences prefer reels and video kind of content over static posts, as they are a good resource to share more detailed and authentic content with your audience. Therefore, they are highly promoted by the platform. If you’re not posting Reels, consider starting to explore this! 
  • Not using the right hashtags: because Instagram shows content to users according to their interests, hashtags are essential as they can help you reach wider and niche-specific audiences related to a specific interest or content. However, try to avoid using excessive hashtags and just focus on the most important ones.
  • Not considering ideal time for posting: Timing is essential for engagement when it comes to posting. Instagram algorithm prioritizes recency, so posting when your followers are online is key.
  • Not posting regularly: Posting every now and then can affect your overall results. It’s essential to be consistent and keep active in your social media management to achieve success. A suggested approach is to strategically plan and calendar your month’s posts in advance, according to your available resources. Posting regularly doesn't mean strictly every day, but at least a few times per week, to keep your Feed active.
  • External context and seasonality: Some external factors, such as seasonal periods or political and social context, also play an important role in reach and engagement. For example, whenever there is a social situation or phenomenon that takes over the public agenda, it is better to postpone brand content as these news typically overshadow all other content while people are mostly talking about it. 

    Additionally, regarding seasonality, there might be times when audience behavior is affected by weather or holidays. For example, on rainy days, people might use their phones more.

What you can do to get your Engagement back up

1. Review and update your content strategy

As Instagram's algorithm keeps evolving constantly, so should your content strategy! Take a moment to analyze your current strategy and resources so far: what has worked and what can be improved? 

Take a look at your best performing content over the last 30 or 60 days and try to create a similar type of content or recreate it.

  • Post more Reels: While it's good to diversify the type of content to keep your audience engaged, reels are getting the highest engagement over stories and Feed Posts. If you are doing campaigns with influencers, try to request them for a Reel instead of a static post.
  • Try Carousel-posts: These are second in engagement, so they are a good option as well. You can even try other formats such as memes which typically drive high engagement. 
  • Take advantage of Stories: Stories are still an essential way to engage with followers since they show on top of the user’s feed and help you remain at the top of their minds. They can be easily responded to and liked, creating conversations and driving engagement. Try to include within your content strategy posting a few stories per week! 

Another tip is to use interactive features such as sticker links and questions, for your followers to engage.

Finally, stories, due to their short duration and quick shareability, also benefit from requiring less production quality. You can share content related to your brand, mission, or products, such as memes or reposting user-generated content.

2. Use the right keywords and hashtags

Instagram suggests content to users based on keywords, related to the posts they have already liked or similar to the posts from accounts they follow. 

Therefore, a good SEO instagram strategy will help you reach out to new followers who will more probably interact with and be interested by your content. Include those strategic keywords on your captions and hashtags. Using relevant and trending hashtags will also help increase your exposure.

3. Create high-quality and audience-centered content

As previously mentioned, Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes good content, so keep in mind that it's better to prioritize quality over quantity when posting.

It's suggested to spend a bit more time on content creation to share high-quality content that can be shareable or reposted for better results. 

This also refers to creating audience-centric content, which will be of interest to your audience specifically. Avoid posting just for the sake of it; instead, first try to understand your target audience, their interests, and behaviors. Predict what type of content they will like to see and engage with.

4. Make your profile look great

Keep your profile updated and high-quality with all the necessary information in the bio, such as a link to your website and contact details. This will be the first impression for your new followers, making it essential to keep them engaged and following you!

5. Remove fake followers

Because the engagement rate takes into consideration your follower count, if you have many spam accounts or bots following you which don’t actually interact with you, your overall engagement will drop. Therefore, it's important to periodically clean your account of suspicious followers.

Additionally, fake followers make your account less credible. For example, suspicious comments on your posts may give the impression that you've purchased fake engagement. You can read more about metrics and tools to analyze fake followers here.

Fake followers harm your engagement and reputation. Keep your account clean from spam accounts regularly.

6. Find the best times to post

Posting time is crucial for engagement results. It's important to post on days and times when your target audience is most active online to increase the chances of your content being seen and interacted with.

For instance, optimal posting times are typically early in the morning, around midday (8 to 11 am), and in the evening (around 8 pm). Weekends tend to be less favorable for engagement, whereas mid-week is generally better. 

Avoid posting late at night, such as at 2 or 3 am, when most users are asleep and may not see your content until the next day, affecting its visibility.

You can also gain insights into the best posting times for your audience directly within your Instagram account. Go to Insights → Audience to see which days and approximate times your followers are most active.

7. Be consistent

Keep your account active as much as possible! Regular posting maintains your audience’s interest. Additionally, it increases the chances of Instagram showing the content to your followers. Post reels, stories, videos and combine all the available features!

8. Collaborate with influencers to increase your reach

Influencer marketing has high potential to help your brand’s awareness and credibility. Search for influencers who fit your brand and partner with them to reach new people and increase exposure. 

If you haven't done this before, you can read our Beginner's Guide to Influencer Marketing to get a better understanding on the benefits of working with content creators for your brand’s growth. 

It may look like a lot of work, but don't worry! There are also marketing management tools like Influencer Hero which can help you organize influencer marketing campaigns and scale your program.

9. Review your engagement strategy

The more you interact with users or followers, through comments, likes and DMs, the most engagement you’ll get. It’s also important to reply to comments on your posts and DM from your followers to add a personal touch to your brand.

Some tips for driving engagement easily through Instagram’s features include:

  • Take advantage of CTAs: Invite your followers directly to interact with your content by asking them to like the post, share it with a friend, tag someone who would find the information useful, or comment with an emoji if they agree with the content. 

    It may surprise you how loyal your audience can be, so don't be shy about expressing your desire openly! 
  • Use interactive stickers: Interactive stickers on stories are an amazing resource to drive engagement. Some of these include polls, questions and answers, quizzes, and countdowns to a specific event or product launch. Try combining these tools to see which one works best for you!

Conclusion

Social media platforms and their algorithms are always evolving. Thus, it may be normal to see sudden ups and downs in the reach and engagement of your Instagram account. Be patient though, as we have seen this happening previously at other times and on other platforms, and everything will probably get back on track soon.

However, this may be a good opportunity to assess your content strategy: see what things you could improve, and test new methods to increase your overall performance. Remember, in the digital marketing landscape, we need to constantly try new things, measure results, and learn in order to succeed! No one has the key to success, and what works can change from one day to the next. What worked 1 year ago, probably needs to be updated by now.

Try the tips described in this article, keep posting high-quality content in a strategic way to keep your audience engaged, and if they are a loyal community, they will stick with you.

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