Declining engagement on Instagram in 2022, how to react?

Declining engagement on Instagram, how to react?

You've probably noticed a huge drop in engagement rates on your Instagram account over the past few months. Don't be surprised, you are not alone!

What is the engagement rate on Instagram?

Before going any further, the level of engagement is most likely the most important metric for businesses. It reflects whether an Instagram account is generating interest in its community. It is based on the ratio between the number of followers and the average number of interactions per post.

Here is the list of interactions that are considered in the calculation of the engagement rate

  • I like
  • Comments
  • Recordings
  • Shares
  • Clicking on the links
  • Private messages
  • Interactions on the stickers of the Stories

For so-called classic publications, this rate is based solely on the number of comments & likes in relation to the number of subscribers

To avoid having to calculate it manually, you can easily find an Instagram engagement rate calculator on search engines. Some of them are free and some are not.

Reasons for a drop in engagement rates on Instagram

There are two main reasons for the continued decline in engagement rates on Instagram pages.

The arrival of the Reels

This phenomenon is not new, Instagram users already had the beginnings of it in August 2016 with the arrival of Stories similar to Snapchat

In June 2020, Instagram launched Reels to compete with the video platform TikTok.

With each new feature, Instagram uses a drastic but effective method to encourage its users to move towards this new type of format: lowering the engagement rate of so-called "traditional" publications (photos and videos).

With Reels, the engagement rate has dropped drastically, with a significant impact for some brands.

Suggested content in the news feed

But a second cause has come to the fore: the arrival of suggested content in your news feed.

Like a few years ago on Facebook, you may have noticed that you are seeing fewer and fewer posts from friends or followed accounts. These are gradually being replaced by suggested Reels or ads.

In the end, the publications of followed accounts (in yellow and green), represent only 39% of the proposed publications.

Here is a graph showing a typical feed on Instagram versus Facebook in 2022.

instagram news feed impact on engagement rate

With the advent of suggested content, your posts are less likely to be seen by your subscribers. Classic publications appear only 13 times out of 63, i.e. 20% of what is seen, which explains in a concrete way why your average coverage is decreasing and the number of interactions.

Instagram is increasingly trying to turn its social network into a copy of TikTok, and thus changing the way we consume content on its platform. The years will tell if this choice has paid off.

How to improve your engagement rate on Instagram

The phenomenon of declining engagement on Instagram is global. It affects all user accounts.

It was therefore necessary to understand the causes to adapt one's strategy and remedy them.

Of course, one way around this problem would be to turn to Instagram ads, but that's not the subject of this article 😄

Let's take a look at different levers to increase your Instagram engagement rate

Integrating Reels into your content strategy

If you're not a fan of Reels, too bad for you because it's time to get into it.

This type of content has become ubiquitous on the platform, almost eclipsing the photo social network that we once knew. The stated aim of Instagram's management is to make it a strong competitor to TikTok, but also to avoid the flight of its users to this second platform.

Thanks to its viral nature, the Reel was quickly adopted by many users who wanted to benefit from a greater organic reach than traditional publications and thus quickly develop a community.

However, to create and publish Reels, you must first think about your content strategy on Instagram and the message you wish to convey through this format.

In marketing, it is always said that the first impression is the most important, and Reels confirm this adage. You will have only a few seconds to capture the attention of users and make them want to discover your page or your products. Please keep in mind that most of the users who will see your post are not familiar with your brand, so it will be crucial that your message is clear right off the bat.

Carousels still work

If you are down because your photo and video publications are performing poorly, opt for the carousel format. This type of publication continues to perform well for the simple reason that this format increases the average time a user spends on a publication. Thanks to this advantage, carousels are highlighted by the Instagram algorithm in the news feed.

Develop a keyword strategy

Instagram, like Google, is increasingly relying on keywords. While it is still possible to search for a topic via hashtags, the platform is increasingly relying on keywords in your bio, post descriptions and also keywords from similar accounts or followers.

Thanks to this data, the Instagram algorithm can suggest ever more personalized content and thus improve its retention.

So add a keyword to your account title if you haven't already done so, and be sure to include it in your future posts.

Remove fake profiles

As mentioned earlier, the engagement rate is a ratio between the number of subscribers and the number of interactions on your posts.

If you add to this the fact that a publication is only submitted to a small percentage of your audience, you understand the challenge of having only people who are genuinely interested in your brand as subscribers.

There are several tools to detect fake accounts on an Instagram page. However, you will only get a representative percentage.

In practice, if you have only a few subscribers, start by deleting :

  • Accounts that do not have a photo on their profile,
  • Accounts with strange names or symbols
  • Accounts with 0 publication
  • Accounts with 10 publications made on the same day

Never forget that an engaged community is much more important than a number of subscribers.

Using UGC to build community loyalty

UGC for User-Generated Content is a practice that consists of sharing content from its users. Used by the biggest brands, this technique serves several purposes:

  • Content from one's community often feels more authentic than branded content and therefore generates more engagement.
  • UGC content also improves the conversion rate.
  • This type of content is free and easy to take back

If you have the opportunity to integrate some UGC into your content strategy, the results are always there.

Posting at the right time on Instagram

Your performance often depends on the time slot(s) you choose to post. For a novice, it is difficult to know when to post on Instagram. Nevertheless, the data provided by the application in the "statistics" tab are already a good starting point.

To find out when your subscribers are most active, I recommend testing different time slots over several weeks and measuring where your posts have performed best.

With a little patience and a good methodology, you should quickly find the hours that work for you.

Good luck 👍