As our first official launch of the Engagement Pro program in April, we learned so much more about the Instagram algorithm than we had known before. Our program works by tricking the Insta algorithm into pushing your content to more people. However, Instagram pushes your content based on previous activity, current audience and then builds a trajectory. This is how and why your content is shown to certain people regularly. Since we’re not managing anyones accounts, we’re not able to target specific audiences, only you, as the user, and Instagram are responsible for that. 

So what does that mean for you? Whatever we do simply amplifies what you’ve already done on your account. Here are some examples:

(Please keep in mind these are examples of what we saw in general, not on any specific profile but are key strategies to keep in mind to anticipate and work around future Instagram algorithm updates on your own)

+ You entered an international giveaway at one point OR have a substantial international audience outside of your home country or language. If Instagram only shows your content to 1a small percentage of your audience, but we start pushing harder to your audience that doesn’t understand or resinate with your content, the efforts won’t be successful. Additionally, Instagram will put you on the explore pages of accounts that are similar to your following. Both of these things hurt you because your content will consistently be pushed to audiences that will be less likely to engage with your account. The only way to solve this would be to focus on growing your home country / language following or remove those accounts from your following manually. Engagement tactics won’t work in these situations. We found this to be an issue on accounts with over 10k combined international demographic.

+ You joined a giveaway and are getting unfollows or you’re just losing followers without cause. We can without a doubt say that we have enough data to prove that unfollows = bad engagement. Instagram weighs unfollows very heavily when pushing your content. Their system seems to use that metric to assume your content has become “uninteresting”, thus stalling the traffic they send to your content. Giveaways are a great way to grow quickly but they should be used tactfully and with some sort of engagement plan to help fight this.

+ You’ve ever purchased followers,  likes or comments. We all know that’s a bad idea but here is the real reason those things hurt your engagement. Just like we mentioned above, regarding international audiences, Instagram will use the metrics of the types of profiles and users that like, comment and follow your page to determine where to push your content. So, Instagram will literally push your content to accounts that are inactive, fake or not interested in your content if they see those accounts within your stats. 

Additionally the relationship between what we do and what you do is extremely symbiotic. The most successful account growth happened with users that weren’t affected by issues listed above and posted 7 - 9 times per week, as opposed to those that posted between 3 - 4 times per week. It seems once there is a big enough time gap, there slow crawl to get the stats back to your top performance range. The more momentum, the more engagement.

The biggest thing we learned was that one size DOES NOT fit all. What worked for one account, didn’t necessarily work for another and once we got a flow of upward progress, engagement would dip and we would have to re-strategize weekly. This is really important for you to know so that when you come up with your own strategies on how to create higher engagement you can pivot quickly.  Key point - you can never, ever get comfortable. I’m convinced more than ever that Instagram is deliberately trying to make success a challenge based on what we’ve seen. What that really means for your is, don’t use the same hashtags over and over, don’t post at the same exact time everyday, don’t join an engagement pod with the same users commenting on your posts - everything you do needs to be switched up weekly. When Insta notices ANY sort of pattern, even something that doesn’t violate their terms, they’ll squash it so be prepared to change direction often to keep the momentum going.