Blog Posts for Social Media Managers

How Reels Have Impacted Feed Post Performance


By Jessica Worb

Updated on June 15, 2022

3 minute read

We looked at 81M+ feed posts to find out 👀

Published June 15, 2022

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

In 2019, feed posts were the cool kids on the block.

But now, it’s all about Instagram Reels.

In fact, the average engagement rate for feed posts (excluding Reels and IGTV) has decreased by 44% since 2019.

Graph indicating average feed post engagement decline from 2019 to 2021

Based on a Later study of 81M Instagram posts, the average engagement rate for feed posts in 2019 was 5.16%.

By the end of 2021, this number decreased to 2.88%.

And the downward trend is consistent for traditional feed posts (images, carousels, and videos) too:

graph indicating decline of instagram feed posts from 2019 to 2022

Traditional video feed posts saw the greatest decline year-over-year on average, while carousel posts consistently performed the best in terms of engagement.

PSA: Later is a social media scheduler trusted by 4M+ brands and creators. You can now plan, schedule, and automatically publish Instagram Reels with Later. Sign up today:

Why Have Instagram Feed Posts Seen a Decline in Performance?

In a nutshell: The introduction of Instagram Reels in August 2020. 

It’s no secret that Reels are a priority for the app, and as such, other post types have taken a back seat. 

For those who have pivoted to Reels, engagement rates have remained consistent — or, even better, seen positive growth.

At Later, for example, we’ve seen a 500%+ increase in our engagement rate since embracing Reels as part of our Instagram strategy.  

graph indicating later's engagement rate growth since sharing instagram reels

In 2019, Later’s average engagement rate was 1.28%. Now, in 2022, it’s 9.09%.

Of course Later’s Instagram strategy includes more than just Reels, but they've clearly been a huge catalyst for reach and engagement.

What Does This Mean for Your Instagram Strategy in 2022?

The numbers don't lie. If you want to see a spike in engagement on Instagram in 2022, it's time to get onboard with Reels.

While regular feed posts still have their place on Instagram, Reels are the number one tactic for reaching new audiences.

The good news is there are tons of ways to get creative with Reels — and you don’t have to be a video-editing wiz or a dancing pro.

They can be as simple as using Reels Templates to layer several static images or clips to a beat, or adding a motivational quote to some atmospheric b-roll.

All you need is some creative inspiration and a healthy dose of trial and error.

If you want to keep up with trending audio, bookmark this blog post: The Top Instagram Reels Trends to Try This Week — updated weekly! 📌

The Takeaway

If your engagement rates have taken a tumble over the last few years, remember, you're in good company. Many accounts have experienced the same dip.

The good news? There are still plenty of ways to pivot your strategy and see results.

In fact, some brands and creators are seeing higher reach and engagement rates than ever before.

Instagram isn't "over," it's just changing — and with every change comes an opportunity. 🎉

ICYMI: Later is a social media scheduler trusted by 4M+ brands and creators. It makes scheduling your Instagram Reels a breeze. Sign up today:

*Later analyzed over 81M Instagram feed posts (excluding Reels and IGTV) collected from January 1, 2019 to February 28, 2022. Engagement rate = likes + comments / follower count.

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

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