Report: Instagram Follower Growth, Engagement On The Decline

Chris CrumSocial Media

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Much has been made about the incredible growth of Instagram and the emerging opportunities that come along with that. We've certainly done our part in spreading the word.

Last week, Pew Research Center put out some findings out about social media use, including the stat that 59% of Instagram users use it every day. That's compared to 49% last September. There's clearly growth in that department. It also reported that Instagram has increased daily engagement over the past year by 10%.

Meanwhile, Instagram use in general has more than doubled since 2012, but has only grown 3% since last fall. It does seem that overall growth has slowed.

That brings us to new research from Locowise (via Social Media Today), which says that both follower growth and engagement are actually on the decline. The firm looked at 2,500 Instagram profiles and their progress in July.

According to that, average follower growth during the month was 0.34%. The largest profiles (those with over a million followers), it says, had growth of 0.28% while the smallest (those with less than 1,000) had growth of 0.36%. That's a 77% drop compared to the 1.48% organic growth these accounts saw in May.

"The general trend we’ve seen in the last few months is that the organic growth is dropping on Instagram," writes Marko Saric for Locowise. "1.95% in April, 1.48% in May, 0.49% in June and now 0.34% in July. This is still better than the 0.21% organic page likes growth we see on Facebook, or the 0.19% growth on Twitter, but there is a reason to consider that Instagram is becoming saturated as a platform."

As far as engagement goes, the average rate was 2.12% of all followers in July. For the large profiles, it was 2.33% while for the small ones it was 4.14%. That's down 19% compared to the 2.61% engagement rate in May.

"Similar to organic growth, we are seeing a continuous decline in engagement on Instagram too," says Saric. "From 2.8% in April, to 2.61% in May, 2.14% in June and now 2.12% in July. Looking on the bright side again, the 2.12% engagement on Instagram is 308% higher than 0.52% of your total page likes that engage with an average post on Facebook. It’s also 1313% higher than 0.15% of total followers that engage with the average tweet."

Check out the report for more insights and advice to brands. We also looked at some highlights from their report on Facebook engagement here. Engagement is on the decline there as well.

Selfstartr put out an interesting infographic about why brands should embrace Instagram instead of Facebook as the latter has plateaued and the former is "just getting warmed up".

If this early research from Salesforce is any indication, Instagram is going to be a pretty good advertising option going forward.

Image via Instagram

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.