I’ve been Instagram Shadow Banned
I think you’ll agree with me when I say reach and visibility has gone down on Instagram. It’s really hard to get as much followers, likes and comments and you might be sensing engagement overall is down.
Well as it turns out the the rumours about the Instagram shadow ban are no more than like stories from Witch Doctors and meant to scare you.
Back in the day all of the villagers were scared of Witch Doctors.
Witch doctors symbolize the holder of secrets and spells. You didn’t truly understand how their magic worked but you were afraid of them. Stories about their mysteries spread like wildfire and often times not grounded in any proof. Very much like the stories about being “shadowbanned”.
So as it turns out this rumor of shadowbanning is made up of smoke and mirrors. And in this article I’ll explain more logical reasons for your consideration.
1. Shadow banning is not real
I wanted to get that out of the way. It doesn’t exist. Just like witch doctors no longer exist … shadow banning does not exist either. I’m not clear as to who came up with this concept/phrase but it has all the elements of mystery and fear in the phrase alone. Just hearing it “sounds bad”. But let me assure you it’s completely unfounded.
2. Instagram is in the business of “time on platform”
The only thing Instagram wants you to do is spend more “time on their platform”. The longer you and I use it, the higher the likelihood they can monetize their FREE platform by selling ads. If you and I stopped using Instagram because we were not happy with how it worked, they would eventually go out of business (remember My Space?). Our eyeballs are what they are after. They want our thumbs to stop scrolling. And our attention is their currency (if you don’t know this concept look up Gary Vaynerchuk on YouTube and watch a few of his keynotes).
3. The fast and easy way to find out if you want to know this for yourself
Quick recap – the phrase “shadow banned” implies that Instagram has somehow limited the exposure of your posts as if to punish you for your activity on their platform.
In reality the only time Instagram ever punishes an account intently – is when you violate their terms of service. Depending on the level of your violation they will temporarily block your actions or in the extreme case shut down your account.
If you have a facebook page connected to your Instagram account you can enable our analytics. If your post has over 1X reach and over 1X impressions then your visibility is not limited. If you don’t have Instagram’s business analytics you can sign up for Iconosquare’s pro reporting system which will provide this same data.
4. Why am I getting less likes and comments on Instagram
Simply because there are more people and the platform keeps changing.
As more and more people jump on Instagram, the competition for eyeballs and thumbs to stop scrolling go higher. I want to share a few points for you to noodle on below:
- One of the key metrics Instagram is tracking is when they will hit one billion users. At the end of April in 2017 they hit 800 million and their speed has picked up. As more people use the platform, then there’s more content out there for readers to see and consequently you as a publisher have more content to compete with.
- If you log into the app store and count the updates … there have been 25 updates since January of 2017. These updates are slowly rolled out so your version of Instagram might be different to your friend’s version.
- There are have been two big “crashes” to Instagram where user’s accounts were deleted (by accident). This causes your follower/following list to act oddly as accounts go offline and then back online.
- Anytime there is an “update” or a “fix” to the system it causes the the platform to feel unstable or chuggy. I noticed everytime the “noise level” of Instagram complaints go up … it’s right before a major update or right after a fix to a bug.
- Instagram has cracked down on accounts that are powered by bots. If any of these (fake) accounts were following you or interacting with your posts, then your #s will be be affected.
- This year Instagram introduced Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered visual recognition to help improve the user experience. In essence, computers can “see” beyond the hashtag.
- The AI shifts in real time. If you go to your Search/Explore page and as an example …. start to like a certain type of photo – let’s say you start to like a lot of Boston Terriers and you typically do not interact with these kind of accounts. Your explore feed will shift to show you more photos of what it thinks you like … and as such …. you’ll start to see more Boston Terriers.
- Sometimes my feed from my followers flows really well. And sometimes it seems like I keep seeing the same posts I’ve already liked. When it’s the latter … I say to myself … “there’s a few bugs or updates on the horizon” and I just wait it out a week or two until the updates are done.