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If you haven’t caught up with my series documenting Instagram’s pay to play strategy, here’s the first post. So far, I’ve observed a few things:
1. Insights held me back because it makes the app think I’m a business with budget.
2. Instagram may be location biased, promoting users that post content in particular locations because high activity means more advertising potential.
The interesting point here, is that most of my influencer friends in Asia have a much higher follower count than me. And here’s the plot twist – a friend that had around 20k followers told me she used to get 1k likes in 30 minutes, with some of her posts hitting above 4k in engagement after a few days. After December, she saw it fall by half yet, at the time of writing, she’s doubled her Instagram audience. Anecdotally, another girl with around 5k likes a photo and 35k followers also took a hit. Her photos now average 600 likes, although her video content still receives views in the thousands. Likely because this is a relatively new medium for Instagram and they’re pushing this content. But can Instagram be location biased, if even their speculatively ‘preferred’ regions are seeing such a drastic decline in engagement?
A few months ago, Instagram released a press release about trialling a shop feature with 20 brands, with a function where users are able to purchase in-app. It’s developing into a science lab of sorts for mobile commerce, especially now that the volume of content uploaded is increasing in a bid to reach more accounts. Engagement rate clearly doesn’t need to be the main metric for Instagram to measure its advertising value. So why should it be ours? When all of us are in the same boat, let’s focus on quality over quantity, for example comments, shares and saves.
Brands are still looking at numbers. However, while some only pay on the basis per like, they’re also not really the ones you want to work with. Social media managers that really know what’s going on value creativity and content above all. In fact, this is how most top agencies charge. So let’s focus on making the content that we like instead of what we think people that are browsing on Instagram will. Doing anything else wouldn’t be sustainable.
Finally, don’t look at girl with the highest engagement. Do yourself a favour, don’t compare. To help you stop, I’ve actually worked out what would be considered high engagement. If you care enough to have read this post in its entirety then you actually do want to know the answer. And I’ve got the numbers for us UK bloggers – complete with a chart – but you’ll have to stick with me and wait for part three…