Instagram Engagement is Down 33% – Here’s How You Can Fix It

Are you struggling to get more likes on Instagram? It’s not just you. A study by Quintly found that Instagram post interactions have decreased by 33% in just one year. The number of likes and comments on Instagram photo posts are down an average of 27%, and videos an average of 39%. So what does this mean for you? It may be time to rethink your Instagram strategy in an effort to increase your engagement and get more likes on Instagram posts! 

Instagram Engagement Decreasing

According to this study, the more followers you have, the more your Instagram engagement is falling. While Instagram accounts between 1,000-100,000 followers have seen a decrease of 24-29%, accounts with more than 100,000 followers have taken a harder hit, seeing a decrease of 36-39%. So, why is Instagram engagement decreasing?

Follower Count Graphic 01-4

Both Instagram’s user base and post frequency have increased, which means that there are more Instagram users now than ever before, who are all following more accounts, and those accounts are posting more often. Every Instagram user is now seeing more content on Instagram than they were a year ago, and it might just be too much content to keep up with. 

That being said, it’s not all bad news. Instagram is still producing higher engagement for brands than both Twitter and Facebook, it’s just “getting harder to achieve success in the ‘fight for interactions’ on increasingly fast timelines,” according to this study of over 13,000 accounts. It’s also important to note that the study was conducted before Instagram’s new algorithm began to roll out to users, which may explain why it’s coming to everyone soon.  And, teens are also still incredibly active commenters on Instagram, with some teens getting more comments than Kim Kardashian with just a fraction of the followers.

How To Get More Likes on Instagram and Increase Engagement

The new Instagram algorithm feed favors posts with high engagement, so now the more likes and comments your post receives, the more people will see your post! Here are 4 things you can start doing today to help you get more Instagram likes and comments:

  1. Use Instagram hashtags Strategically

Posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag, so if you want to get more likes on Instagram, hashtags are a great place to start! Using hashtags can help you target new audiences on Instagram, and if used correctly, will help other Instagram users discover, follow, and engage with your Instagram account. Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to use the top Instagram hashtags that have an engaging community behind them and are specific to your audience.

top instagram hashtag example

So, how are you supposed to find these cool, creative, and community-oriented hashtags? The best way is to look and see what Instagram hashtags your audience is already using. The narrower the scope of the hashtag, the more engaged the users are. You’ll be shocked and surprised by just how niche hashtags can get!

Learn more: The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram Hashtags

  1.  Add a Call-to-Action to Your Instagram Caption

Writing a good Instagram caption is important because it could be the key to having your post seen by your followers. Instagram captions with calls-to-action can help you get more comments, and with the new Instagram algorithm favoring engagement, comments can directly affect your overall Instagram marketing strategy. To create a call-to-action on Instagram, you just need to ask your followers to do something after reading your caption! You can ask them a question about what they’re up to this weekend, or what they think of a new product, and tell them to leave their answer in the comments.

instagram caption example of call to action

Don’t save your call-to-action for the end of your caption – it’s important to put your most important information first, because after 3-4 lines of text, Instagram captions are truncated. Make the first part of your Instagram caption super engaging and enticing, so your followers will want to click to read the rest, and then answer your call-to-action by leaving a comment!

Learn more: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Good Instagram Captions

  1. Post to Instagram at Optimal Times

Posting to Instagram at peak times will help you increase engagement and get more likes on Instagram posts. By posting when more of your followers are online, you’re able to maximize your audience for each of your posts. The peak times will differ for everyone depending on your audience (and time zones!), so try experimenting with your posting times (morning, noon, and later in the evening) to see what works best for you.

analytics to get more likes on instagram

New Instagram Analytics show you when your followers are online

You can also use a tool like Iconosquare to determine your optimal time for posting, or if you have Instagram’s new business profile, you can view your optimal times with Instagram Analytics too. Once you know the best time to post, you can schedule Instagram posts for free using Later for the optimal time, which will help you get more Instagram likes on each and every post.

Schedule Your First Instagram Post Now!

  1. Run an Instagram Contest

Running an Instagram photo contest is a fun and easy way to promote your business on Instagram, and it’s also one of the easiest way to gain exposure and get more followers on Instagram, which will help you increase your engagement. By teaming up with another business, you can promote your Instagram photo contest to both of your audiences, and also share each other’s followers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 3.11.35 PM

You can have your followers tag a friend (or three) in the comments to enter, and when their friends are tagged in the comments, they will look at your Instagram post and be exposed to your business. Then, they can enter the contest themselves by tagging more friends! Lifestyle blog Treasures & Travels do a great job of this in the example above, and they got over 1000 comments as entries. You can learn how to run an Instagram photo contest hereIt may seem like only a temporary increase in comments and more Instagram likes, but by growing your follower base you’ll be able to also increase your engagement and get more likes on Instagram.

Later helps you plan, manage, and schedule content for your Instagram accounts. The best part? It’s free!

Sign Up Now

  • Todd Dosenberry

    I wonder if Snapchat has anything to do with this. And live streaming. 2016 seems to be the year for both.

    • Kari (Chicagoings)

      I definitely see IG users transitioning over exclusively to Snap, leaving bloggers and photographers behind.

  • Methix

    The main reason for this is definitely pages with a lot of followers posting video shoutouts with false advertinsing which causes the pages to lose followers and not get much engagement.

  • Ash

    This is good info, but it’s outdated. I had to double check the year this article was written.

    1. Hashtags are no longer reliable because they are now often hidden or broken. if you put a hidden or broken hashtag on your photo it will become a “ghost,” which prevents it from showing up in hashtag search and in your follower’s feeds.

    2. Call to actions no longer work because Instagram has hidden the caption. You can only see the first 3 lines of the caption before having to click “see more”. People are just too lazy to click “see more” on every photo in their feed. So the call to action never even gets seen.

    3. Posting at optimal times no longer works because the feed is no longer in chronological order. You do not see photos in real time as people post them anymore. You see them based on whether or not you have “liked” or engaged with their previous photos.

    4. You can still run a contest, but what’s the point if the photo containing the contest info isn’t even showing up in people’s feeds? People need to actually see the photo to know there is a contest. Since the feed is no longer in chronological order, your followers may not see the contest photo until days later.

  • Drake Nicholson

    Thank you for posting this article , 🙂 You help me with this article 🙂